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