Lewis Hamilton's foul-mouthed fury at team as Max Verstappen wins Dutch Grand Prix

·34 min read
Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 overtakes Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain - Lars Baron - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 overtakes Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain - Lars Baron - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton has apologised for his X-rated rant at his Mercedes team towards the end of Sunday's dramatic Dutch Grand Prix as he saw his best chance of victory this season slip away from him. However, the seven-times world champion said he would never apologise for showing “passion”.

In a blistering attack over team radio, Hamilton had accused his team of “f-----g sc---ing” him by leaving him out on medium tyres during a late safety car period when other drivers, including the eventual race winner, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, switched to softs.

The 37 year-old was a sitting duck when the race restarted with 12 laps remaining, dropping from first place to fourth by the finish as first Verstappen, and then his team-mate George Russell, and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, all passed him.

“That was the biggest f----up,” Hamilton exploded over the radio. “I can’t believe you guys f------ sc---ed me. I can’t tell you how p----d I am.”

Mercedes later took responsibility for the strategy call, team principal Toto Wolff saying Hamilton was “right to be angry”. And Hamilton, while expressing regret for his rant and his choice of language, said he did not want to apologise for showing passion.

“It has been such a rollercoaster ride this year,” he said. “It was such a good race. The car was feeling better than it has all year long.

“I was thinking ‘Wow, we could be fighting for a win here, maybe a one-two.’ And then the safety cars came through and my fr-----g emotions were all over the place. I knew at that moment I had lost it because everyone was on the soft tyre and there was no way I was going to hold them behind me.”

He added: “I don’t want to apologise for my passion, because that is just how I am made and I don’t always get it right. I am sorry to my team for what I said because it was made in the heat of the moment.”

Verstappen wins -  REMKO DE WAAL/ANP/AFP via Getty Images
Verstappen wins - REMKO DE WAAL/ANP/AFP via Getty Images
Max Verstappen wins Dutch Grand Prix 2022 after Hamilton loses lead: latest updates - Clive Mason/Getty Images
Max Verstappen wins Dutch Grand Prix 2022 after Hamilton loses lead: latest updates - Clive Mason/Getty Images

Horner 'surprised' at Mercedes call

This time, the race did not have nearly as much riding on it. In Abu Dhabi last year, when Mercedes chose not to pit Hamilton behind a late safety car, leaving him like a sitting duck to be gobbled up by big, bad Verstappen on fresh rubber on the last lap, there was a championship at stake.

The post-race taunting from Red Bull over their strategy call would prove excruciating, not least because Mercedes felt – rightly – that they had made the correct call and that it was the misguided application of the safety-car rules by race director Michael Masi which cost Hamilton victory. There was no championship at stake on Sunday. Mercedes are so far off the pace in this year’s title race they might as well be driving on the moon.

But the post-race taunting from Red Bull on Sunday, the “You would have thought they’d have learnt from Abu Dhabi” comments, would still have hurt. Mostly because they know this time their rivals were right. The Mercedes decision not to pit Hamilton for soft tyres after Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas broke down on the pit straight with 16 laps to go probably did not cost him the win. Verstappen would surely have got that anyway, with a faster car in a straight line and with track position. But it certainly cost him any chance of fighting for it.

zANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 04: Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Alfa Romeo F1 climbs out of their car after stopping on track during the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on September 04, 2022 in Zandvoort, Netherlands - Lars Baron/Formula 1
zANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 04: Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Alfa Romeo F1 climbs out of their car after stopping on track during the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on September 04, 2022 in Zandvoort, Netherlands - Lars Baron/Formula 1

When the safety car was withdrawn with 12 laps remaining, Verstappen breezed past Hamilton as if he was standing still. As did, in quick succession, Hamilton’s teammate George Russell, who had stopped for soft tyres, and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. Hamilton was apoplectic, swearing at his pitwall over the radio.

Mercedes could have made other calls which might have given Hamilton more of a chance. “I was quite surprised that they didn’t leave George out strategically as a rear gunner for Lewis,” mused Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. “When he pitted, it gave a straight fight between Max and Lewis with a tyre offset.”

What is done is done. And the weekend as a whole was an encouraging one for Mercedes after their shocker in Spa. But, ultimately, it had the same result. Verstappen marches on. The Dutchman’s victory stretched his lead in this year’s title race to a virtually impregnable 109 points with only seven races remaining.

Starting drama

The race as a whole was a slow burner, taking a while to explode into life. There was a moment of drama at the start. Hamilton, starting fourth, making contact with Carlos Sainz trying to pass the Ferrari up the inside of Turn 1. But unlike at Spa last weekend, when Hamilton collided with the Alpine of Fernando Alonso on the opening lap and was forced to retire, this time he survived the incident. In fact, none of the top seven cars switched position and with overtaking at Zandvoort, with its tight, twisty layout, at a premium, the race soon settled into a rhythm.

The second half of the race proved far more dramatic. Mercedes, with excellent race pace, were clearly trying for a one-stopper, and were having some joy on the hard tyres, slowly reeling Verstappen in. But a strange sequence of events involving Yuki Tsunoda in the AlphaTauri – Red Bull’s sister team – flipped the race on its head.

First the Japanese driver stopped on track complaining that a wheel was loose. Then he came into the pits and for a while the team played around with his seatbelt, which he had loosened. He was then sent on his way again, only to retire on his out-lap. That brought out a virtual safety car, changing the complexion of the race entirely.

Verstappen switched to hard tyres, for what he thought would be his final stop, and Hamilton to mediums. The Mercedes driver once again set off in pursuit of his rival, only for the safety car to be deployed six laps later following Bottas’s failure.

ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 04: The FIA safety car leads Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W13 and Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 during the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on September 04, 2022 in Zandvoort, Netherlands. - Clive Mason/Getty Images
ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 04: The FIA safety car leads Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W13 and Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 during the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on September 04, 2022 in Zandvoort, Netherlands. - Clive Mason/Getty Images

Mercedes chose to split their strategy, with Russell asking to switch to softs. Hamilton stayed out, his team prioritising track position. Horner admitted he was relieved they did that, adding it was a bit of a leap of faith pitting his man. “You’ve got your home driver, leading in front of 105,000 people, and you decide to pit him for the soft tyres and concede track position behind two Mercedes,” he said.

Ultimately, though, he said he preferred “to attack than try to hang on at the front”. “My biggest concern was it would be two against one,” Horner said. “But when George seemed to pit himself, that then freed up a one-on-one fight with Max versus Lewis.”

It proved no contest, as it has for much of the year.

'We took a risk and it didn't work out'

"I can't believe you guys," Hamilton said over the radio after the race. "I can't tell you how pissed I am right now."

His race engineer Pete Bonnington replied: "Copy, Lewis, we will chat afterwards.

"Sorry about that, Lewis, it was looking good, but we will sit down and review the decisions we made."

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff added: "Lewis, Sorry it didn't work out. We took a risk and it didn’t work out but let's discuss between us in the office."

Verstappen’s 10th win of the season stretched the Dutchman’s lead at the top of the drivers’ championship to 109 points over Leclerc with seven races of the season remaining. There are a maximum of 191 possible points up for grabs.

The next race takes place at Monza in Italy this weekend before a run of six flyaways, starting in Singapore at the end of the month.

Dutch Grand Prix, as it happened

04:38 PM

Thank you for following along with us today

Have a read of Tom Cary's report above, and we'll see you in Monza.

Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on September 04, 2022 in Zandvoort, Netherlands. - Clive Mason/Getty Images
Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on September 04, 2022 in Zandvoort, Netherlands. - Clive Mason/Getty Images

04:32 PM

Okay, the flares are beautiful

ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 04: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 waves to the crowd during the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on September 04, 2022 in Zandvoort, Netherlands - Alex Pantling/Formula 1
ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 04: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 waves to the crowd during the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on September 04, 2022 in Zandvoort, Netherlands - Alex Pantling/Formula 1

At least none ended up on the track today.

04:29 PM

Tsunoda speaks

When asked what the first issue with the car was:

I thought there was an issue, and they couldn't see in the data. So I drove back to fit the new tyre, and we saw an issue in the data. That's why we stopped.

Not the clearest of explanations, and many Mercedes fans - who may see it as the incident which torpedoed Hamilton's race - among others, will be seeking more answers.

04:22 PM

Tom Cary's report from Zandvoort

... is now above the line

04:14 PM

Another dramatic afternoon for Ferrari

A bit defeatist in the face of Leclerc moving into second in the standings, sure, but why is there always something? Sainz bears the brunt of team misfortune, but Ferrari will need a serious reset to leave these consistent mishaps behind ahead of their home grand prix at Monza next weekend.

Charles Leclerc of Scuderia Ferrari in action during the Formula One Grand Prix of the Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort, in Zandvoort, the Netherlands, 04 September 2022. Formula One Grand Prix of the Netherlands, Zandvoo - Christian Bruna/Shutterstock
Charles Leclerc of Scuderia Ferrari in action during the Formula One Grand Prix of the Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort, in Zandvoort, the Netherlands, 04 September 2022. Formula One Grand Prix of the Netherlands, Zandvoo - Christian Bruna/Shutterstock

04:07 PM

Toto Wolff speaks

On radio communications:

We are the trash bin for the driver.

It's clear that every emotion comes out and as a driver [...] you are alone.

On race strategy:

We are taking risks [...] at the end it didn't work out for him, but I would rather take the risk with Lewis than end with second and third.

On Mercedes' chance of beating Red Bull:

The Red Bull has so much straight line speed that, all on the same tyre, we are not winning.

eam chief of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Toto Wolff (L) and Team chief Otmar Szafnauer of Aston Martin (R) chat during the Formula One Grand Prix of the Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort, in Zandvoort, the Netherlands, 04 September 2022. Formula One Grand Prix of the Netherlands, Zandvoort - Christian Bruna/Shutterstock
eam chief of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Toto Wolff (L) and Team chief Otmar Szafnauer of Aston Martin (R) chat during the Formula One Grand Prix of the Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort, in Zandvoort, the Netherlands, 04 September 2022. Formula One Grand Prix of the Netherlands, Zandvoort - Christian Bruna/Shutterstock

04:04 PM

Updated constructor standings

Mercedes edge closer to Ferrari but Red Bull are able to profit from Sainz's penalty to look even more unbeatable.

04:00 PM

Verstappen celebrates with Red Bull

red Bull Racing's Dutch driver Max Verstappen (c) celebrates with Red Bull's driver development program Helmut Marko (L) after winning the Dutch Formula One Grand Prix at the Zandvoort circuit on September 4, 2022 - KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP
red Bull Racing's Dutch driver Max Verstappen (c) celebrates with Red Bull's driver development program Helmut Marko (L) after winning the Dutch Formula One Grand Prix at the Zandvoort circuit on September 4, 2022 - KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP

03:57 PM

Let's have a look at those updated standings

03:56 PM

Leclerc speaks

We were a little unlucky with the VSC, I don't know if it would have changed anything but Max was too quick today.

Lewis was struggling on a used set so we managed to overtake him, it wasn't easy but we made it stick.

On his move into second place in the driver standings, overtaking Perez:

The gap [to Verstappen] is really big.

03:55 PM

Russell speaks

As a team today we showed incredible pace, this gives us a lot of confidence moving forward.

We are slowly getting closer to that top step, so let's keep pushing

03:52 PM

A mixed afternoon for Mercedes

Russell steps onto the podium to take second place, but as with qualifying, Hamilton will feel wronged by events beyond his control.

This was the race that Mercedes had to do better in: the track conditions favoured the W13 make-up in a way that few have this season.

ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 04: George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W13 leads Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W13 during the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on September 04, 2022 in Zandvoort, Netherlands - Clive Mason/Getty Images
ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 04: George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W13 leads Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W13 during the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on September 04, 2022 in Zandvoort, Netherlands - Clive Mason/Getty Images

03:49 PM

Verstappen speaks

It's always special to win your home grand prix.

This year, I had to work for it much more.

[...] Incredible weekend. I'm really happy to win the Dutch Grand Prix.

03:45 PM

Christian Horner radios Verstappen

That was a majestic drive!

The flares, which have been banned, are unleashed en masse, creating an appropriately orange haze over an audience in full voice.

03:44 PM

Final classification in full

  1. VER

  2. RUS

  3. LEC

  4. HAM

  5. PER

  6. ALO

  7. NOR

  8. SAI

  9. OCO

  10. STR

  11. GAS

  12. ALB

  13. MSC

  14. VET

  15. MAG

  16. ZHO

  17. RIC

  18. LAT

DNF: BOT, TSU

03:39 PM

VERSTAPPEN WINS THE DUTCH GRAND PRIX!

For the second year in a row, Verstappen smoothly drives over the finish line to extend that mammoth championship lead.

03:38 PM

Lap 71/72

Verstappen clings on to the fastest lap moving into the final minutes of the Dutch Grand Prix. The home fans would be right to begin to get to their feet.

03:37 PM

Lap 70/72

Alonso in seventh look to gain on Perez, and Sainz ahead of him. Alonso looks menacing behind the Red Bull, and Perez will have to defend heavily, having been unable to best Sainz. Perez isn't happy with Sainz, who he thinks "pushed him off" as the Spaniard held on to the position.

03:36 PM

Lap 69/72

Stroll in 10th is looking much more pacey than Sainz, who will now have to scrap with him in order to claw a point back at Circuit Zandvoort.

03:35 PM

Lap 68/72

Sainz receives a 5sec time penalty for that unsafe release which he had earlier deemed "totally fake" and that puts him out of the points, which crowns a desperately unlucky afternoon for the Ferrari driver.

03:34 PM

Lap 67/72

Verstappen extends his lead over Russell to three seconds, and Leclerc is in third a second behind him. In the middle of the pack, Gasly is pushed out of the points by Stroll, who holds on to 10th as they, and Albon, bunch up to fight for the place.

03:32 PM

Top 12 as it stands

  1. VER

  2. RUS

  3. LEC

  4. HAM

  5. SAI

  6. PER

  7. ALO

  8. NOR

  9. OCO

  10. STR

  11. GAS

  12. ALB

03:32 PM

Lap 65/72

Now Leclerc is breathing down Hamilton's neck in third, Leclerc closing the gap to half a second. Just as they move through the final turn, Leclerc makes the overtake and seizes the podium place.

A disappointing turn of events for Hamilton after those spells as leader.

03:30 PM

Lap 64/72

The two Mercedes cars nearly cause a mini-pile up as Russell edges across the line to try and fight his teammate. Hamilton holds the position after Russell backs out, narrowly avoiding a smash, but Russell beats him to second further up the track.

03:28 PM

Lap 63/72

Verstappen improves his lead on Hamilton as DRS is re-enabled two laps after the safety car has headed in. Hamilton turns the airwaves blue discussing his strategy with Mercedes over the radio.

03:28 PM

Lap 62/72

Ten laps to go. Sainz pulls off a battle with Perez to take fifth, as Norris seeks to pull alongside Alonso to claim seventh place.

03:26 PM

Lap 61/72

Verstappen pulls wheel to wheel with Hamilton and they tussle before Verstappen pulls ahead to recapture the lead! Verstappen gets a second ahead of Hamilton, benefitting from a tow on lap 60's turn 14 before sprinting across the line to swipe the lead from Hamilton's fingertips.

Russell keeps third, and the Mercedes cars look primed to fight for P2.

03:25 PM

Lap 60/72

Hamilton's tyres will be icy compared to Verstappen's soft tyres, and he will hope they've warmed up sufficiently to streak away when the safety car goes in.

Safety car heads in, and we're about to start racing again.

03:23 PM

Lap 59/72 - SAFETY CAR

Sainz doesn't believe his release was unsafe, and says if they give him a penalty, it will be "totally fake". I'm not sure there would be unanimous agreement there, but that remains to be seen.

Lapped cars are beginning to overtake the safety car, which will come in at the end of lap 60.

03:21 PM

Lap 58/72 - SAFETY CAR

As cars pile into the pits, Sainz moves away with a possible unsafe release which may be investigated. His earlier overtake looks like it just might avoid penalties, edging in front just before the flag.

Almost everyone heads onto the softs, Hamilton and Perez, as well as Bottas, stay on mediums.

03:19 PM

Top 10 as it stands under the safety car

  1. HAM

  2. VER

  3. RUS

  4. LEC

  5. PER

  6. SAI

  7. NOR

  8. ALO

  9. OCO

  10. STR

03:17 PM

Lap 57/72 - SAFETY CAR

Hamilton stays out and takes the lead of the race, and Russell pulls ahead of an emerging Verstappen too, for a Mercedes 1-2 at the front. Verstappen, in P3 with fresh tyres, has it all to do, in due course.

03:16 PM

Lap 56/72 - SAFETY CAR

Bottas has come to a stop on the side of the track, and it will be real life safety car, rather than a virtual one.

Moving past Bottas, the cars all slow, as Verstappen is first in the pits.

03:15 PM

Lap 55/72

Hamilton in second sets a new fastest lap, +11.130 behind Verstappen in the lead.

A stop on the main straight for Valtteri Bottas. It's a YELLOW FLAG, but Sainz still goes for the overtake with Ocon. Does the flag catch him?

03:13 PM

Lap 54/72

Ocon in sixth is but under pressure by Sainz, and after him, Norris and Alonso all breathing down his neck as the gap between the drivers narrows.

03:12 PM

Lap 53/72

The VSC has taken some of the sting and intrigue out of the Hamilton/Verstappen battle, on this track which makes overtaking so challenging. Hamilton wasn't wrong when he said he felt stuffed.

03:12 PM

Lap 52/72

Alonso in ninth heads for Norris to try and overtake him after a blistering lap.

Tsunoda will be investigated for that pit lane incident, so say the FIA. Rightly so: a curious turn of events. Also, Vettel gets a 5sec penalty for his earlier pit lane exit that entangled him with Hamilton and Perez.

Alonso sets fastest lap in pursuit of Norris but Norris streaks away.

03:09 PM

Top 10 positions as they stand

  1. VER

  2. HAM

  3. RUS

  4. LEC

  5. PER

  6. OCO

  7. SAI

  8. NOR

  9. ALO

  10. STR

03:09 PM

Lap 50/72

The VSC comes to an end, and Verstappen has the lead once again. Now, Hamilton will have to chase down the Dutchman.

Hamilton over the radio:

The VSC stuffed us.

03:06 PM

Lap 49/72 - VSC

Hamilton pits too, as does Russell, unable to capitalise on the lead under the VSC. Verstappen heads out and holds his lead. Perfect timing for Verstappen, but Hamilton on the mediums could prove helpfully nippy in contrast to Verstappen's hard tyres.

03:05 PM

Lap 48/72 - VSC

A safety car could prove a shot in the arm for Verstappen, on degraded tyres. Red Bull brings him in to send him off on hard tyres.

03:03 PM

Lap 47/72

Tsunoda is still in trouble, and is instructed to stop. An issue persists, and he drives off the racing line to park on the grass.

YELLOW FLAG, as he's not by an exit.

It's a VIRTUAL SAFETY CAR, everyone.

03:02 PM

Lap 46/72

Tsunoda has a long pitstop, as his engineers inspect what looks like his safety belt. He exits, finally, but the situation continues to baffle.

03:01 PM

Lap 45/72

A strange turn of events, as Tsunoda still looks a little wobbly, driving cautiously. Safety car strategy would have been an entirely different ball game, but the drivers have avoided it for now. Tsunoda heads in, precautionarily.

03:00 PM

Lap 44/72

Sainz heads in for a pitstop. We know how that went last time...

Meanwhile, Perez overtakes Norris to claim sixth.

Then there's a YELLOW FLAG as Tsunoda pulls off.

"Tyres not fitted!" he says over the radio.

But the tyres are fitted, so says his team, and he can rejoin the race. No safety car, and we're under a GREEN FLAG now.

02:58 PM

Lap 43/72

On board with Sainz and the Ferrari looks extremely bumpy, as it is wont to do. Perez in seventh guns for Norris, but the McLaren just sneaks away. Sainz has moved up to sixth, and over the radio, he targets P4.

02:57 PM

Lap 42/72

So much for the preference for mediums today: most of the drivers are now on hard tyres, like Perez, who has emerged in seventh.

Verstappen holds the lead, with Leclerc +11.229

02:56 PM

Lap 41/72

Perez comes in for his stop to pick up the hard tyres, as Verstappen sets another legendarily quick lap time.

Vettel is under investigation for his pit exit.

02:54 PM

Lap 40/72: positions in full

  1. VER

  2. LEC

  3. HAM

  4. RUS

  5. PER

  6. SAI

  7. NOR

  8. ALO

  9. OCO

  10. TSU

  11. STR

  12. ALB

  13. GAS

  14. BOT

  15. ZHO

  16. VET

  17. RIC

  18. MSC

  19. MAG

  20. LAT

02:53 PM

Lap 39/72

Russell mimics his teammate and glides past Perez, tyres potentially degraded by his recent scrapping, moving into fourth place.

Verstappen communicates with his team: potentially about to move onto the hard tyres.

02:52 PM

Lap 38/72

Hamilton's losing pace, which could force Red Bull's hand to bring Verstappen for a second pitstop. The gap has widened by 3secs.

02:51 PM

Lap 37/72

Hamilton pounces, moving around the outside and swoops past Perez. But Vettel emerges from the pit and nearly intercepts Perez battling with Hamilton to capture position back. Amidst the dust from nearby sand dunes, Hamilton dodges to avoid him as Vettel sneaks away, in 16th.

02:49 PM

Lap 36/72

Perez has a lucky escape! Hamilton comes up behind him to tussle on the turn, then Perez locks up. He edges wider in dramatic response, and somehow manages to hold position.

Hamilton will take a second bite, his pace absolutely tooth-rattling. Perez is in a dogfight.

02:48 PM

Lap 35/72

Now Hamilton goes fastest: these look like transformed W13s. Meanwhile, Sainz is still in sixth place, most likely cursing his pitstop under his breath.

Leclerc is +8.340 to Verstappen, and Hamilton is drawing closer and closer.

02:46 PM

Lap 34/72

Russell does the fastest lap of the race, faster even than his marauding teammate. Further down the field, Bottas goes for a dicey turn ahead of Schumacher, missing him by a whisker.

02:46 PM

Lap 33/72

Verstappen can't match Hamilton's pace, and on fresher tyres, Hamilton looks to threaten. Flying on the hard tyres, Hamilton would have to be overtaken by Verstappen for Verstappen to take his second Dutch Grand Prix title.

Gripping stuff - shades of 2021.

02:44 PM

Lap 32/72

Leclerc has been looking anonymous for a number of laps, but as the Mercedes cars head for the pits, he moves into second place. Hamilton emerges fourth, Russel fifth.

02:43 PM

Lap 31/72: current positions

  1. VER

  2. RUS

  3. LEC

  4. PER

  5. HAM

  6. SAI

  7. NOR

  8. STR

  9. ALO

  10. OCO

  11. TSU

  12. GAS

  13. ZHO

  14. MSC

  15. BOT

02:42 PM

Lap 30/72

Was this the best time to pit? On hard, Hamilton could run the rest of the race on them if he wanted to try a one-stop strategy. Mercedes has good pace, but Verstappen forges ahead to try and get a strong leading gap in first place.

02:40 PM

Lap 29/72

Verstapppen is +2.287 behind Hamilton, and will look to overtake in about a lap. But Hamilton pits, slipping into a new set of hard tyres.

02:39 PM

Lap 28/72

Coming into turn 1, Verstappen pins Russell inside and goes for a balletic overtake. He gets into second, and begins to overturn the budding Mercedes optimism, Hamilton in his sights.

Ricciardo comes in for another pitstop, plumping for the hard tyres.

02:38 PM

Lap 27/72

Verstappen, at the moment, doesn't have the pace to overtake Russell, until...

02:37 PM

Lap 26/72

The Mercedes are the last cars on the track that haven't pitted, and this is the first race of the season that they have held 1-2. It remains to be seen if they are doing a one-stop, but at the moment, Hamilton's in a strong position as Russell competently holds off Verstappen.

02:36 PM

Lap 25/72

Over the radio, Verstappen is told to "start to eke up on Russell" as he narrows the gap to a second behind.

Meanwhile, Leclerc queries with his team if Hamilton seeks a one-stop race.

02:35 PM

Lap 24/72

Leclerc whips through sector one, hunting Verstappen, and gains a fastest time. Overtaking speed on Circuit Zandvoort has to be 1.5s faster, and Leclerc seeks to show he has the pace.

02:33 PM

Lap 23/72

Verstappen eyes Russell, two seconds behind, pondering whether to capture the position or conserve his tyres, with the two Mercedes yet to pit.

02:32 PM

Top 12

  1. HAM

  2. RUS

  3. VER

  4. LEC

  5. PER

  6. SAI

  7. NOR

  8. STR

  9. ALO

  10. OCO

  11. TSU

  12. GAS

02:31 PM

Lap 21/72

Verstappen sets another fastest lap from third as he seeks to gain on Russell and Hamilton.

02:29 PM

Lap 20/72

Sainz targets Albon in sixth, and he glides past him to secure the position. Binotto, to Sky Sports F1, confirms that Sainz's pitstop was "a mess". You said that right.

02:28 PM

Lap 19/72

Verstappen comes out into third, behind Hamilton and Russell, whose mediums can leave them out longer. Can they take advantage of this strategy?

Most of the field on mediums now, save for the Alpines, Norris, and Bottas and Zhou on the soft tyres.

02:26 PM

Lap 18/72

Leclerc takes his pitstop which moves Hamilton into second place. Norris chooses the hard tyres, as Alonso did, and he comes out after Sainz, looking to get into sixth place after the current wave of pitstops.

Verstappen takes his stop, and it's a slower one. Hamilton sits in first.

02:25 PM

As it stands: top 10

  1. VER

  2. KEC

  3. HAM

  4. RUS

  5. NOR

  6. OCO

  7. PER

  8. ALB

  9. SAIN

  10. STR

02:23 PM

Lap 16/72

Another race, another issue for Ferrari. It seems impossible that they would be missing out on a tyre, but this is the kind of bad luck we've seen often from Ferrari.

Sainz now sits in 11th.

02:22 PM

Lap 15/72

Hamilton gets into third as Sainz pits, and Russell moves into fourth.

Nightmare for Sainz emerging after Perez goes into his box in the pits, delaying his pit stop exit. No rear tyre ready either! He comes out far further down the field than he would like.

02:21 PM

Lap 14/72

But even DRS can't help Hamilton on the straight, and he misses out by the smallest of margins. Leclerc is now two seconds behind Verstappen, streaking away with a comfortable lead.

Problem in the pits for Schumacher - he's lost about eight seconds and emerges 18th.

02:20 PM

Lap 13/72

Alonso chooses the hard tyre as he blazes out of the pit, which suggests he's going for the one-stop alternative Pirelli recommended.

Hamilton continues to lie in wait for Sainz.

02:19 PM

Lap 12/72

Vettel pits, as does Ricciardo, then Gasly. An early stop for the two-stop drivers.

Meanwhile on the track, Alonso moves past Tsunoda into 11th, before losing the position, and choosing to pit.

02:17 PM

Lap 11/72

Magnussen manages to move into 19th, leaving Vettel to languish on 20th. He battles for 18th with Latifi, who just sees him off.

02:16 PM

Lap 10/72

Hamilton chooses tyre maintenance to give Sainz a let-up but the Ferrari can't quite escape Hamilton's inevitable attack.

02:15 PM

Lap 9/72

The rain isn't settling, finer than fine, but it's here - will things take a turn for the wetter?

Alonso edges closer to Gasly to try and retake the position, but Gasly's DRS is a fly in the ointment.

Until... through Tarzan corner, he makes a whisper of an overtake to breeze past Gasly and take back the place.

02:13 PM

Lap 8/72

Sainz is half a second slower than Leclerc and needs to find it urgently before Hamilton pushes past him.

02:13 PM

Lap 7/72

Hamilton continues to lurk behind Sainz, waiting to pick off the vulnerable Ferrari. Getting closer and closer, but the Spaniard holds the position.

Gasly nips in front of Alonso, taking the high line to streak into 12th.

02:11 PM

Lap 6/72

Hamilton waits to activate DRS to chase after Sainz, who is lacking pace but manages to see of the Mercedes.

Leclerc sets fastest lap, but can't gain on Verstappen.

02:09 PM

Lap 5/72

Schumacher is down in tenth after losing ground to Ocon and Stroll, and Tsunoda has been knocked back to 11.

At the front of the pack, Leclerc is +1.208 behind leader Verstappen as a fine rain begins to fall at Circuit Zandvoort.

02:08 PM

Lap 4/72

Ocon secured that ninth by taking a high line on the banked turn 3, and will be happy to have moved into the points so quickly.

02:07 PM

Lap 3/72

Verstappen registers the fastest lap of the race, and at the other end of the spectrum, Magnussen's last after shooting off through the gravel. Dutch Grand Prix officials have gummed together the gravel closest the track to avoid punctures, and it already looks like a savvy decision.

Stroll's up two places into eighth, and Ocon makes gains to ninth.

02:05 PM

Lap 2/72

Kevin Magnussen spins out onto the gravel but manages to keep control of the Haas and slides back onto the track.

02:04 PM

Lap 1/72

Verstappen holds his lead, but there's contact between Sainz and Hamilton, who manages to hold on to fourth place. Norris can jump Russell into sixth place.

Hamilton gets away with the contact rather than facing a Spa repeat, but it remains to be seen if he suffers any damage.

02:03 PM

LIGHTS OUT

Away we go at the Dutch Grand Prix!

02:01 PM

Formation lap

Soft tyres for Verstappen, Leclerc, Perez, Sainz, Tsunoda and Stroll at the top of the pack, and mediums for Hamilton, Russell, Norris, and Schumacher.

Softs for everyone else, except Magnussen and Albon.

01:59 PM

Only a few minutes to go

... until the foundation lap at the 15th round of the 2022 Formula 1 season. 72 laps to go until we see an almost-insurmountable championship lead by Verstappen? Or will there be an upset on home soil?

01:51 PM

10 minutes to go... Esteban Ocon speaks to Sky Sports F1

On the day's target:

The points - that's what the target is. Obviously we don't start exactly where we want to [...] but that's going to be the end today, the points.

A weather report from the Frenchman:

It's cooler than yesterday and there's a bit of cloud cover - I don't know if the rain is going to hit us at some point.

01:40 PM

Verstappen will be hard to beat

But nothing is impossible. Ferrari and Mercedes should be imbued with confidence after the weekend's practice and qualifying sessions and will seek to disrupt from the offset. But with the fans on his side, a title to defend, and a car of hard-to-beat quality... the smart money's on the Dutchman.

Dutch Formula One driver Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing prepares for the Formula One Grand Prix of the Netherlands at the Zandvoort Circuit in Zandvoort, Netherlands, 04 September 2022. Formula One Grand Prix of the Netherlands, Zandvoort  - Remko de Waal/Shutterstock 
Dutch Formula One driver Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing prepares for the Formula One Grand Prix of the Netherlands at the Zandvoort Circuit in Zandvoort, Netherlands, 04 September 2022. Formula One Grand Prix of the Netherlands, Zandvoort - Remko de Waal/Shutterstock

01:39 PM

Lance Stroll speaks speaks to Sky Sports F1

On the atmosphere:

I feel like I'm in Ibiza right now.

On yesterday's early exit from Q3 due to technical problems:

It was a shame yesterday. In one way, we were kind of fortunate it happened in Q3, not first lap of Q3, but there was definitely pace in the car for a couple of positions further up the grid, but we'll get them back today.

ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 03: Lance Stroll of Canada driving the (18) Aston Martin AMR22 Mercedes on track during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on September 03, 2022 in Zandvoort, Netherlands - Clive Mason/Getty Images
ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 03: Lance Stroll of Canada driving the (18) Aston Martin AMR22 Mercedes on track during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on September 03, 2022 in Zandvoort, Netherlands - Clive Mason/Getty Images

01:33 PM

Here comes the Orange Army

The noise and atmosphere at Circuit Zandvoort is immense: music and noise, choreography, and almost everything orange. When interviewed this morning, Leclerc was adamant that fans cheered for other drivers than Verstappen. I'd like to see some proof.

Fans wait for the start of the Dutch Formula One Grand Prix at the Zandvoort circuit on September 4, 2022. (Photo by Remko de Waal / AFP - Remko de Waal/AFP
Fans wait for the start of the Dutch Formula One Grand Prix at the Zandvoort circuit on September 4, 2022. (Photo by Remko de Waal / AFP - Remko de Waal/AFP
Formula One F1 - Dutch Grand Prix - Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands - September 4, 2022 Fans of Red Bull's Max Verstappen in the stand during the drivers parade - Yves Herman/Reuters
Formula One F1 - Dutch Grand Prix - Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands - September 4, 2022 Fans of Red Bull's Max Verstappen in the stand during the drivers parade - Yves Herman/Reuters
ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 04: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing fans enjoy the atmosphere prior to the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on September 04, 2022 in Zandvoort, Netherlands - Dan Mullan/Getty Images
ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 04: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing fans enjoy the atmosphere prior to the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on September 04, 2022 in Zandvoort, Netherlands - Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Fans on the stands wait for the start of the Formula One Dutch Grand Prix auto race, at the Zandvoort racetrack, in Zandvoort, Netherlands, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022 - Peter Dejong/AP
Fans on the stands wait for the start of the Formula One Dutch Grand Prix auto race, at the Zandvoort racetrack, in Zandvoort, Netherlands, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022 - Peter Dejong/AP

01:29 PM

Tyre strategy

Pirelli recommends a two-stop strategy, soft-medium-medium or medium-soft-medium. But positioning is crucial at a tricky-to-overtake track like Circuit Zandvoort which might tempt drivers into only taking one pitstop.

01:24 PM

Constructor standings ahead of today's race

ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 3: Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff during the Final Practice ahead of the Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix at Cicuit Zandvoort on September 3, 2022 in Zandvoort, Netherlands - BSR Agency/Getty Images
ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 3: Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff during the Final Practice ahead of the Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix at Cicuit Zandvoort on September 3, 2022 in Zandvoort, Netherlands - BSR Agency/Getty Images

01:23 PM

And how the drivers will line up this afternoon

1. VER 2. LEC

3. SAI 4. HAM

5. PER 6. RUS

7. NOR 8. MSC

9. TSU 10. STR

11. GAS 12. OCO

13. ALO 14. ZHO

15. ALB 16. BOT

17. RIC 18. MAG

19. VET 20. LAT

01:07 PM

Yesterday's qualifying times

  1. Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull 1min 10.342

  2. Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari 1:10.363

  3. Carlos Sainz Jr (Spa) Ferrari 1:10.434

  4. Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes GP 1:10.648)

  5. Sergio Perez (Mex) Red Bull 1|:11.077

  6. George Russell (Gbr) Mercedes GP (1:11.147

  7. Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren 1:11.174

  8. Mick Schumacher (Ger) Haas 1:11.442

  9. Yuki Tsunoda (Jpb) Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:12.556

  10. Lance Stroll (Can) Aston Martin 1:11.416

  11. Pierre Gasly (Fra) Scuderia AlphaTauri 1:11.512

  12. Esteban Ocon (Fra) Alpine 1:11.605

  13. Fernando Alonso (Spa) Alpine 1:11.613

  14. Guanyu Zhou (Chn) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:11.704

  15. Alexander Albon (Tha) Williams 1:11.802

  16. Valterri Bottas (Fin) Alfa Romeo Racing 1:11.961

  17. Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) McLaren 1:12.081

  18. Kevin Magnussen (Den) Haas 1:12.319

  19. Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Aston Martin 1@12.391

  20. Nicholas Latifi (Can) Williams 1:13.353

01:06 PM

As they are: driver standings ahead of today's Dutch Grand Prix

01:04 PM

Here's hoping those with front row seats aren't as disruptive as they were on Saturday

ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 03: Richard Verschoor of Netherlands and Trident (20) passes pigeons during the Round 12:Zandvoort Sprint race of the Formula 2 Championship at Circuit Zandvoort on September 03, 2022 in Zandvoort, Netherlands. - Lars Baron/Formula 1
ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 03: Richard Verschoor of Netherlands and Trident (20) passes pigeons during the Round 12:Zandvoort Sprint race of the Formula 2 Championship at Circuit Zandvoort on September 03, 2022 in Zandvoort, Netherlands. - Lars Baron/Formula 1

11:39 AM

Good afternoon and welcome to our live coverage of the 2022 Dutch Grand Prix at Circuit Zandvoort

Max Verstappen thrilled an electric crowd pipping Charles Leclerc to win pole position in yesterday's qualifying session by two hundredths of a second. With his fourth pole of the season, Verstappen has every chance of streaking away from his world championship rivals should on home turf today.

But he was just about the only driver on the track beaming after Saturday's session. Sergio Perez spun out on the final turn of his qualifying campaign and the ensuing yellow flag stopped some drivers, most notably Lewis Hamilton, from improving on their provisional positions.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was frustrated after the session, claiming that Hamilton, who starts in 4th, was "a tenth up on Verstappen and Leclerc.

"Lewis played for the podium. We were ahead. Obviously it's not the case at the end."

ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 03: An orange flare is pictured on the track during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on September 03, 2022 in Zandvoort, Netherlands. - Lars Baron/Formula 1
ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 03: An orange flare is pictured on the track during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands at Circuit Zandvoort on September 03, 2022 in Zandvoort, Netherlands. - Lars Baron/Formula 1

Aston Martin had an unsatisfying afternoon, with both drivers exiting their sessions prematurely: Sebastian Vettel in Q1 after skidding onto the gravel, and Lance Stroll at the start of Q3, after a technical issue forced his retirement without setting a time.

But spare a thought for Daniel Ricciardo, starting in 17th, against a backdrop of the twin indignities of his teammate Lando Norris starting ten places higher on the grid, and the prospect of an uncertain future as he remains without a seat for 2023.

Ricciardo will need to impress now more than ever, particularly as Alpine are more likely to make a play for Pierre Gasly to partner Esteban Ocon next year over their former driver, who did not leave the team on the best terms.

So, to Circuit Zandvoort. Verstappen is the returning champion and de facto contemporary master, as the 2021 iteration of the race was the first run on the track since 1985. And what a track it is: one of the shorter circuits the drivers will race on this season, banked and undulating, with challenging curves. This makes overtaking all the more difficult, leaving challengers with everything to do on turn 1.

Such curving conditions have suited the mercurial Mercedes and Ferrari race cars this weekend, so whilst Verstappen is a worthy favourite, any challenge from the top of the pack should not be ruled out.