The Mercedes tactics that Verstappen had to overcome to win at home
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The Mercedes tactics that Verstappen had to overcome to win at home

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A rapid start from poleman Max Verstappen in the fastest car of the Dutch GP weekend forced Mercedes into trying something different. The result was a tactical grudge match that bubbled without ever boiling over, with Verstappen's supreme pace enough to withstand Lewis Hamilton and retake the points lead

Verstappen did not have the first Dutch Grand Prix held for 36 years won by the end of lap one. But his untouchable performance during those opening 2.65 miles at Zandvoort proved to Mercedes that only a roll of the strategic dice would offer a chance of vanquishing the imperious Red Bull star.

After briefly bogging down at the initial getaway, 10-time polesitter Verstappen short shifted to third and hogged the middle line into Turn 1, Tarzan. His front-row rival Lewis Hamilton opted for a wide angle and that gave the leader breathing space of 1.2s into the second sector. Come the end of lap one of 72, he was 1.734 seconds to the good aboard what had been demonstrably the fastest car all weekend.

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