Max Verstappen secured a record equalling ninth victory in a row at his home Dutch GP, as rain showers at the start and finish of the race prompted a host of position changes up and down the grid.
Verstappen led for large portions of the race, but despite starting from pole it was his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez that was first in the early stages as he opted to come in immediately for intermediate tyres in the early rain showers as the champion stayed out.
While Verstappen managed to get past and lead, a late safety car to clear the crashed Alfa Romeo of Zhou Guanyu led to some nerves in the garage, with the restart delayed for over 40 minutes as the rain poured down at Zandvoort.
The Dutchman managed to hold off the challenge of Fernando Alonso to take his third consecutive victory at his home race, but Perez was unable to hold onto third as he was handed a five-second penalty for speeding in the pitlane before the red flag.
That promoted the Alpine of Pierre Gasly to third, securing the team’s second podium finish of the season, with the Mexican down in fourth ahead of the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, who fended off the challenge of Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages of the race.
Rain and more rain
The coastal setting of Zandvoort beside the North Sea means there is always the potential for changeable weather conditions, but the rain at the beginning and end of the 2023 race was the defining factor for a number of drivers.
Lando Norris was one who opted to stay out in the early conditions, which meant he slipped down the order as it became increasingly apparent that the intermediate tyre was the one to be on.
Despite falling out of the top 10 from second on the grid, the McLaren driver rallied to finish seventh, escaping a late tap with George Russell unscathed even as the Mercedes was forced to retire with a puncture from the minimal contact with the front wing.
Oscar Piastri faced a similar situation to his teammate, and despite several scintillating overtakes finished down in ninth, with Esteban Ocon rounding out the points positions in 10th.
As well as Zhou and Russell, Logan Sargeant was also forced to retire after a high-speed crash at Turn 7, while Ferrari decided that damage to the car of Charles Leclerc which hampered the Monegasque’s face was too great and brought him back to the garage on Lap 42.
Liam Lawson, making his F1 debut as replacement for the injured Daniel Ricciardo, moved up a few places in the race to finish 13th, behind Lance Stroll and Nico Hulkenberg.