Max Verstappen praised the pace of Red Bull after he extended his championship lead to 109 points with victory at an eventful Dutch Grand Prix.
The reigning world champion started on pole position and looked to be cruising towards victory, only for a couple of late safety car periods to throw a spanner in the works.
Verstappen was on a two-stop strategy as opposed to the one-stop plan of Mercedes, but during a virtual safety car period he dived into the pits to fit hard tyres that would have lasted him for the remainder of the race.
However, eight laps later, a full safety car was deployed when the stricken Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas needed towing and this resulted in Verstappen changing to soft tyres, even though this put him behind the two Silver Arrows of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.
Russell made the call to do the same as the championship leader, but Hamilton was left out on weaker mediums and this impacted him for the remainder of the grand prix.
The race restarted and Verstappen was able to power past the seven-time world champion into the first corner with the gamble paying off.
An audibly furious Hamilton bemoaned the Silver Arrows’ decision not to pit him for soft tyres too and he fell back to fourth place, missing out on a seventh podium finish of the campaign.
Verstappen comfortably sauntered to victory, with Russell second and Charles Leclerc (33/1 World Championship Outright) third, and the Dutchman is now 109 points clear with seven races remaining.
This was the Dutchman’s 10th win of the season and he is three shy of tying the record of 13 victories in a single season – which is shared by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.
Speaking after his victory, Verstappen said, as quoted by BBC Sport: “Yeah it was not a straightforward race but we had to push the whole race, of course with the virtual safety car making the right calls, it’s always a bit of a question mark but it worked out really well once we got back to the soft tyres.
“We had great pace again.”