The Red Bull driver covered off Hamilton at the start with a perfect getaway and copied Hamilton’s strategy to stay ahead of his main rival en route to a comfortable victory at the first Dutch GP since 1985.

A 17th career victory and seventh win of the 2021 season has seen Verstappen turn a three-point championship deficit into a three-point advantage over Hamilton.

Behind the squabbling title protagonists, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas was a distant third place to complete the podium.

Mercedes had hoped to use a two-stop undercut strategy to deny Verstappen, but a slow first pit stop cost Hamilton nearly a second.

The seven-time world champion briefly got within DRS range of Verstappen on Lap 32 when Bottas held up Verstappen for a couple of laps before releasing his teammate into second and finally making his first stop.

Verstappen was able to manage the gap and was given extra breathing space when Hamilton lost time in traffic immediately after his second stop.

Hamilton, who questioned his strategy and repeatedly raised concerns about the state of his tyres, rallied with another charge but could not get back within DRS range.

A late precautionary pit stop for Hamilton enabled Verstappen, running on harder tyres than his rival, to cruise to victory and send his devoted home fans into party mode.

"As you can hear already, it’s incredible," said Verstappen. "Of course the expectations were very high going into the weekend and it’s never easy to fulfil that. But I’m very happy to win here, to take the lead in the championship, it’s just an amazing day. Just the whole crowd here - it’s incredible." 

Pierre Gasly was lapped on his way to a distant but strong fourth place finish for AlphaTauri, ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

A stunning start saw Fernando Alonso gain places on the opening lap and the Alpine driver passed compatriot Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari late on to snatch sixth.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez turned in a strong recovery drive from the pit lane to seal eighth, ahead of Esteban Ocon and Lando Norris, who completed the top 10 for Alpine and McLaren.

Full race results from the 2021 F1 Dutch Grand Prix.