It wasn’t an altogether easy victory for Verstappen and Red Bull because they had to contend with Mercedes leading a race on merit during the latter stages of the race. Early on, Verstappen was comfortably in the lead as the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc slowly faded to second. Both Mercedes were showing competitive pace being up there or thereabouts with the Red Bulls and Ferraris. Hamilton was running third mid-way through, behind Leclerc and Verstappen.
The 2022 Dutch Grand Prix had a lot of interest in the mid-field where the racing is always closely fought and frenetic. But up front, in the top 5, it was all about tyre strategy, 1-stop, soft tyres, mediums, or hards. In other words a typical F1 race. But F1’s tyre fetish meant nothing when a full safety car was brought out on lap 55 of 72.
Verstappen pitted for a fresh set of softs, Hamilton decided to stay out and thus secured the lead. However, Hamilton should have used the safety car period to pit, at least to have a fighting chance for a possible victory. Verstappen wasted no time in forcing his way past Hamilton at the restart and thereafter sailed off to victory.
Hamilton would end the race in 4th, being the only driver in the top 5 not to stop for tyres during the safety car period. It was a missed opportunity for Mercedes and a very productive day for Verstappen who scored his 10th victory of the season out of 15 races run so far, with 7 to go. Verstappen extended his stranglehold on the driver’s championship over Leclerc to 109 points.
Although it is mathematically possible for Ferrari to fight back, in Verstappen’s current form the 2022 drivers championship has already been decided.
2022 Dutch Grand Prix: Results
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:36:42.773
2 George Russell Mercedes + 4.071
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +10.929
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +13.016
5 Sergio Perez Red Bull +18.168
6 Fernando Alonso Alpine +18.754
7 Lando Norris McLaren +19.306
8 Carlos Sainz Ferrari +20.916
9 Esteban Ocon Alpine +21.117
10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin +22.459
11 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri +27.009
12 Alex Albon Williams +30.390
13 Mick Schumacher Haas +32.995
14 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin + 36.007
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas +36.869
16 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Racing +37.320
17 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren +37.764
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams + 1 Lap
Did not finish
Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo lap 55
Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri lap 48