Backed by ‘Orange army’, Verstappen prepares to take lead from Hamilton

By Adrian R. Huber

Madrid, Sep 2 (EFE).- Max Verstappen (Red Bull), winner of Sunday’s absurd race in Belgium, is preparing a new attack on the seven-time English world champion and current championship leader Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes).

Hamilton leads the championship by three points ahead of the Grand Prix of the Netherlands, at the Zandvoort circuit, where Verstappen will be backed by an army of orange-clad Dutch fans.

The World Championship, which paused for the summer break after a crazy and eventful race in Hungary — where the Frenchman Esteban Ocon (Alpine) won his maiden F1 victory, Hamilton regained the lead that Verstappen had snatched five races earlier, in Monaco; and the Spaniards Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and Fernando Alonso (Alpine) finished third and fourth — resumed on Sunday with the rain-soaked, nearly abandoned Belgian Grand Prix.

The rain prevented lapping at the legendary Ardennes circuit. The race, which was due to start at 3 p.m., did not get underway until 18:17, after several postponements and a couple of interruptions. And it was resolved with two laps behind the safety car — to be able to produce a classification and distribute half of the points — with Verstappen declared the winner, ahead of the English George Russell (Williams) and Hamilton, who finished in that order Saturday’s qualifying.

Verstappen added 12.5 points, instead of the full 25, and is now three points behind Hamilton’s 202.5 points.

Hamilton’s compatriot Lando Norris (McLaren) remains in third overall.

Mexico’s Sergio Perez (Red Bull), who was going to start seventh, crashed in the warm up lap and in normal conditions would not have been able to start, as he broke the front wing and suspension.

But with the delay, his car was fixed and he was able to start from the pit lane, although it was in vain: he finished last, allowing Sainz to move up one place into 10th, one ahead of Alonso.

Although everyone admitted that it was impossible to lap, due to the lack of visibility, almost no one thought it was normal that points were distributed.

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