F1 Driver of the Day – Dutch GP 2023

Fernando Alonso was back on the podium for the first time since the Canadian GP

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Fernando Alonso claimed the Driver of the Day award at the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix as he finished in second place after starting from fifth.

Rain caused a chaotic Formula 1 race around Zandvoort requiring the drivers to use all of their skill and awareness to navigate treacherous conditions that threw the original race plans out of the window after just two laps.

Alonso and Aston Martin managed to hold on to a second place as the Spanish driver was almost always the man who was closest to the Red Bulls on track, and he even managed to finish ahead of Sergio Perez.

It was a welcome result for his team, who have endured a tough run of form between the Canadian and Belgian GPs but now appear to have their AMR23 package performing as it should be doing once again.

“It was an intense race,” Alonso said to F1 in parc ferme. “The car was flying today.

“Thanks to all the fans, the energy here at Zandvoort is unique. Today is going to be very special to share the podium with Max [Verstappen] and Pierre [Gasly].”

Gasly rounded off the podium after jumping ahead of Perez, thanks to the Mexican’s five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit-lane.

It is the second podium of the season for the Alpine team, and a much welcomed one following intense scrutiny from upper-management and the Renault Group.

Elsewhere, Logan Sargeant and Zhou Guanyu crashed out of the race, whilst Charles Leclerc and George Russell retired following damage to their cars – particular disappointment to Russell who started from third.

Verstappen equals Vettel

Out front, Max Verstappen won the race comfortably in the end but had to survive a difficult start that saw the Dutchman drop out of the lead as the rain fell around his home circuit.

Despite the setback at the beginning of the race, Verstappen closed rapidly on Perez and took the lead off the Mexican after receiving the favourable strategy as the weather changed to dry conditions.

From there, the world champion continued to extend the lead over his teammate before a late red flag halted his progress.

Now racing Alonso, after a pit-strategy blunder by Red Bull saw Perez lose out, he had to survive early pressure at the restart.

Which he expertly did and opened up a two-second gap as he claimed his record-equalling ninth straight F1 win, whilst also taking his third straight win at the Dutch GP since it returned to the calendar in 2021.

Verstappen will now look to break Vettel’s record at the Italian GP.

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