Amid a party atmosphere at Zandvoort, Max regained the championship lead with a dominant drive to secure his seventh victory of the season.
Ahead of the race, we opted to take a strategic penalty with Sergio following the power unit damaged sustained in the first lap incidents in Hungary. At some stage a new power unit would have been needed, and after qualifying in 16th pm Saturday it was decided to take the pit lane start that came with new components here.
That meant Red Bull Racing cars bookended the field at the start with Max on pole and Sergio in the pit lane, while Scuderia AlphaTauri had Pierre lining up in fourth place and Yuki 14th.
Max and Pierre had to start on the soft compound and AlphaTauri decided to do the same with Yuki, while Sergio was on the hards in order to attempt a long first stint. However, while Max made a great getaway to retain his lead and Pierre held on in fourth, Sergio locked up his wheels when chasing a Haas into Turn 1 and had to stop again after just eight laps for a set of mediums.
From there, Sergio delivered plenty of entertainment for the Orange Army, who were loving watching Max head the field. On a track at which it is extremely difficult to overtake, Sergio was passing cars into both Turn 1 and Turn 11 on both the inside and the outside, climbing into the points as others also made their pit stops.
Max responded to Lewis Hamilton’s first stop by pitting on lap 21, switching to mediums and staying ahead as he showed the sort of pace to cover off any attacks. While Valtteri Bottas ran long on a one-stop strategy, Max closed him down and swept ahead into Turn 1 to retake the lead.
Pierre made his one and only pit stop three laps after Max, moving onto the Medium compound tyre and easing away from the Ferraris behind. Unfortunately, after Yuki made his first stop we noticed something on the PU data and decided to retire the car to investigate.
That retirement came after Max had opened up such an advantage that he could pit for a second time on lap 40, running the more robust hard tyre to the end of the race and being able to respond to any attempts to close the gap from Hamilton.
Two laps before Yuki retired, Sergio also made his second stop but switched to soft tyres to give him the best chance of making further progress. He duly delivered with a number of overtakes with the highlight being a thrilling move around the outside of Daniel Ricciardo at the first corner to move into the points.
After fighting past Lando Norris, Sergio rose to eighth place by the chequered flag, clearing Esteban Ocon in the closing few laps. The Mexican had a much more action-packed finish than his team mate, who could enjoy the adulation of his home crowd as he came home 21 seconds clear of Hamilton, giving Honda our 87th win in Formula 1, with Pierre an excellent fourth to add 12 points to his tally.
Technical Director, Honda Racing F1
"Another win, which once again was down to a brilliant performance from Max and good race management from the Red Bull Racing team. It was far from being an easy race with Max fighting two Mercedes, but the team made the right calls and the pit crew did an excellent job to keep one step ahead of them. Pierre ran a one-stop strategy from fourth on the grid and raced really well, keeping ahead of the two Ferraris chasing him, bringing home a good points total for AlphaTauri’s fight in the Constructors’ championship thanks to a fourth place finish. With Checo, we made the decision last night to introduce a new PU, given his qualifying position and start from pit lane. He pulled off several overtaking moves on a track where passing was meant to be very difficult and an eighth place finish is a very good comeback. Yuki was also going well, but unfortunately we had to retire him when we spotted something on his PU data which we will immediately investigate further. The Dutch fans created a really fantastic atmosphere all weekend, although we did feel quite a big pressure to do a good job at Max’s home race. In the end we were all very relieved by this best possible result. This was the first time we have raced at Zandvoort after an absence of many years and for Honda it will also be our last time, so we are glad to have given the Dutch fans, who showed Honda so much support this weekend, the result they wanted. Now we move on to Italy, motivated to do well for the rest of the season."
Red Bull Racing Honda
Race: Pos. 1st
"It’s incredible to win here today on another home track and it feels great to take the lead in the Driver’s Championship again. Of course the expectations were very high coming into the weekend and it’s never easy to fulfil that but the whole crowd has been incredible and I am so happy to win here. It was quite a tough race, Lewis was really putting the pressure on and both Mercedes’ had really good pace but we managed to have that three second buffer when we needed it and I think that was very important. We can be really pleased with the whole Team performance; we made the right calls and we managed the race really well. 72 laps around this track is cool, especially in front of all these fans, they were incredible throughout the whole race, I’ve never experienced anything like this before in my life. I will of course celebrate at home this evening, but Monza is just around the corner and the championship fight is tight, so I want to make sure we perform at our best."
Red Bull Racing Honda
Race: pos. 8th
"I gave it my all, every overtake was on the limit and I had to take a lot of risks. Today was all about damage limitation as I started from the pits after taking the penalty for the engine change. It was a bit of a shame at the end when Lando and I touched, I had a lot of damage on the right-hand side of the car. I think it was a racing indecent as I wasn’t given enough space and I don’t think he could see me. Since that point I lost a lot of grip, otherwise, I definitely think P6 was on the cards today. I really wish I could have given more to the Dutch fans, they have been incredible all weekend. From now on it’s just about looking ahead and trying to come back strong in Monza."
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
Race: pos. 4th
"P4 is an amazing result today, I don’t think we could really hope for much better and it’s 12 important points for us. I really enjoyed all 72 laps here in Zandvoort, it’s a fantastic track. I had fun today, I’m really pleased with everything, the car is really fast and I managed to get it set-up just the way I wanted. The team did a fantastic job throughout the weekend and today we were flying! I’m obviously very excited to get back to Monza after last year and obviously the expectations are very high. We’ve clearly maximised our package this weekend, so it’ll be interesting to see how it performs next weekend in Italy."
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
"Today’s result is disappointing of course, we saw an issue on the PU data and unfortunately had to retire the car. Up until that point the race was going quite well and the pace of the car was there, but it was hard to overtake. I’ve got to look forward to Monza now, I have some experience on that circuit which is good. I’m going to take the same approach as this week, slowly building up the pace and hopefully we can put it all together next week."