A dominant victory for Max Verstappen over Lewis Hamilton in the Dutch Grand Prix has moved him back onto pole position for the 2021 Formula 1 world championship.

After a pair of difficult and unfortunate races prior to the summer break, Red Bull inflicted a convincing defeat on Mercedes as Verstappen delighted his passionate home crowd amid a party-like atmosphere at Zandvoort.

Here are the biggest winners and losers from the first Dutch GP since 1985…

Winners:

Max Verstappen

Verstappen turned in a flawless display despite facing huge pressure from Hamilton and the weight of expectation from a 70,000-strong home crowd on F1’s first trip to Zandvoort in 36 years.

The Dutchman converted what turned out to be a crucial pole position into his seventh win of the season with arguably his most impressive performance of the year so far.

Beating Hamilton into Turn 1 was a decisive moment and from there, Verstappen and Red Bull covered off their main rival at every turn. Verstappen had the pace when it mattered and didn’t put a foot wrong on his way to retaking the championship lead.

Pierre Gasly

Pierre Gasly starred again in Dutch GP qualifying to put his AlphaTauri fourth on the grid with a stunning lap.

The Frenchman followed that up with a faultless run on Sunday afternoon to maintain his advantage over the faster Ferraris behind.

It was ultimately a lonely race for Gasly, but he will not care one iota about that after claiming another brilliant result for the Faenza squad.

Fernando Alonso and Alpine

Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso continues to get better and better with each passing race.

An opportunistic line through Turn 1 and Turn 3 helped Alonso slingshot past his Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovianzzi during an action-packed thrill ride of an opening lap that featured a number of near-misses.

It was missed by the TV feed, but Alonso pounced on compatriot Carlos Sainz late on to snatch P6 and seal a fantastic result for Alpine.

Ferrari

While a P5 and P7 behind an AlphaTauri and Alpine car won’t go down as being the best result for Ferrari, the team was able to capitalise on a poor day for its main rival McLaren.

A 14-point haul means Ferrari heads into its home race having strengthened its grip on third place in the world championship, holding an 11.5 point lead over McLaren.

Robert Kubica

Acting as a last-minute stand-in for Kimi Raikkonen after the Finn returned a positive COVID-19 test, Robert Kubica turned in a fine performance on his Alfa Romeo race debut and first grand prix outing since 2019.

Considering he had no Friday running and hasn’t regularly driven in F1 for two years, Kubica’s display and P15 finish ahead of both Williams drivers and Mick Schumacher’s Haas was a great achievement and one the Pole can feel satisfied with.

Losers:

Mercedes

A frustrating outcome for Mercedes as Hamilton saw his championship lead slip with the team unable to deny Verstappen from capturing a home win.

With Verstappen retaining his lead at the start, Mercedes’ best chance of beating Verstappen was on strategy, and the team believed favouring two undercut attempts on a two-stopper would do the trick. 

But a combination of a slow pit stop, questionable timing and Red Bull’s hard tyre gamble meant Mercedes’ strategy ultimately failed, with Toto Wolff admitting afterwards the team got it wrong.

Mercedes hoped putting Valtteri Bottas on an alternative strategy would help bring Hamilton into play against Verstappen, but a long first stint meant he had no tyres left to properly defend before he faded as the race went on.

While Verstappen’s Red Bull did hold a pace advantage, you can’t help but feel Mercedes missed an opportunity here.

Sergio Perez

Although Sergio Perez was able to mount a strong recovery drive into the points thanks to some bold overtaking, an eighth-place finish on a day Red Bull dominated is not a good result.

Perez’s weekend was effectively ruined by his shock Q1 elimination as he once again struggled to get anywhere near Verstappen’s level of performance and left his teammate to fend for himself against Mercedes’ two-pronged strategic attack.

Given the pace advantage Red Bull had over Mercedes in the race, a podium should have been on the cards for Perez.

McLaren

McLaren didn’t have high hopes coming into the weekend but the end result will fill the team with huge disappointment.

While Lando Norris recovered from a poor qualifying to salvage the final point on offer in 10th, that was the best it would get for McLaren as Daniel Ricciardo slipped out of the top 10.

As a result, the British squad has now fallen further behind Ferrari in the race to claim third place in the world championship.

Antonio Giovinazzi

You’ve got to feel for Antonio Giovinazzi, who left Zandvoort without any reward for his impressive efforts and outstanding lap to claim his best-ever qualifying performance and P7 on the grid.

Giovinazzi was mugged by the Alpine pair and Carlos Sainz on a hectic first lap as he dropped to 10th, but the Italian still looked well-placed and in contention for a point or two.

That was before his hopes of scoring points for just the second time this year were dashed by an unexplained right-rear puncture that prompted an earlier-than-planned second stop at half-distance.

Aston Martin

Aston Martin showed some promising pace in practice and felt confident about its chances for the race, but its weekend was woeful. 

The Silverstone-based outfit ultimately paid the price for a poor qualifying showing as it failed to get either of its cars into the top 10, with Sebastian Vettel knocked out in Q1.

Vettel’s recovery effort was ruined by a clumsy spin at Turn 3, while Lance Stroll could not find a way past the McLarens as he headed the four-time world champion home in 12th.

Aston Martin continues to fall away in the battle over fifth in the championship and is now nearly 20 points adrift of AlphaTauri.

The team is in danger of being left behind in seventh if things don’t improve soon. Anything better currently looks a tall order.