Max Verstappen was emotional after winning his home race, the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix, for the third time in a row, admitting he had goosebumps ahead of the race while listening to the national anthem.
It was one of those rare moments that the soon-to-be triple Formula 1 Champion showed emotions, but no one can blame him as the Dutch Grand Prix on Sunday was in fact a celebration of the Red Bull driver’s achievements that have brought F1 racing back to the Netherlands, not to mention the pride he has given his country.
To make matters even better, the race was not straightforward, with the rainy weather, Safety Cars, and Red flag, which meant Verstappen had to work hard for this win with the huge pressure of expectation weighing heavily on his shoulders.
But in the end he came out on top, winning his ninth consecutive grand prix this season, equaling the record of Red Bull’s other F1 World Champion, Sebastian Vettel.
Verstappen said in Red Bull‘s race report: “I feel extremely proud to win the Dutch Grand Prix again and to win nine in a row is a massive achievement, I never thought it would be possible.
“It’s always amazing to be here and the National anthem before the Grand Prix really gave me goosebumps,” he revealed. “Of course, there were a lot of hectic moments today with the rain coming in, the race was all about trying to stay calm and make the right calls at the right time and we did just that.
“There was a fantastic atmosphere here all weekend and being at my home Grand Prix with all the fans makes this win feel even more special. I think everyone was completely soaked after that downpour and still they were listening and dancing to music and having a great time,” he reckoned.
On the other side of the Red Bull garage, Sergio Perez through away a podium finish spinning in the rain and then speeding in the pitlane and receiving a five-second time penalty which meant Pierre Gasly inherited third place.
Perez: It was an unfortunate afternoon
Perez reflected: “It was such an unfortunate afternoon in the end, especially with the later calls, we got the first one right and then when we boxed for the inters things weren’t ready because I had to make such a late call due to the rain suddenly falling.
“When I was coming into the pitlane to box for inters it was completely flooded, I lost traction in the car and ended up clipping the wall and sliding a little which put me over the speed limit. You know a lot more after the race but overall it’s an okay result given the chaos of the afternoon.
“The Team always know the wider picture when they are making decisions in the race and I don’t have all the information in the car, that’s why we have strategists and everyone makes the calls in the interest of the Team.
“We had good pace and definitely deserved a podium today, so it’s a shame we didn’t make it,” the Mexican concluded.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner reflected on his team’s race at Zandvoort, he added: “The rain was on and off throughout the whole race, but Max did an amazing job in the tricky conditions.
Horner: Special to achieve the “nine consecutive wins” record twice
“He had an incredible drive having to come back through the field after his first pit stop, with some drivers staying out on the slick tyre and others pitting for the inters,” he added crediting Verstappen’s performance. “Once everything settled down, he was able to build a lead and had everything under control.
“We knew the heavy rain towards the end was coming and when you’re in first place you have everything to lose, but Max had a great restart and secured first place with an excellent drive,” he pointed out.
As for Perez, Horner commented: “Checo made great progress coming from seventh on the grid and made a superb call to switch to the inters towards the start, the Team reacted super-fast and he took lead of the race.
“During the next cycle of pit stops, as the track started to dry, we had to bring Max in to avoid getting undercut. Sometimes you have to make big calls for the Team and that was one of those moments. It’s a shame we couldn’t have Checo up on the podium following his penalty, as he deserved to be there but with a race with so much drama and jeopardy there’s always things that we can reflect on.
“In all the Team had a very strong day and for Max to match Seb Vettel’s record of nine consecutive victories it’s incredible. The fact that we’ve achieved it twice now as a Team is something very special to us,” Horner concluded.
With Verstappen’s win, Red Bull remain unbeaten so far in the 2023 F1 season.