Max Verstappen wins Dutch GP, breaks Sebastian Vettel's win record with nine consecutive

ZANDVOORT, Netherlands -- Max Verstappen equalled Sebastian Vettel's record of nine consecutive Formula One wins after emerging victorious at a chaotic Dutch Grand Prix.

In a season in which his Red Bull team has won every race, Verstappen added another jewel in his seemingly inevitable title crown with a dominant display in a race bookended by heavy rain showers.

The second, heavier rainstorm, which hit the track on lap 60, saw Zhou Guanyu crash at Turn 1, resulting in a 45-minute red flag stoppage before the final six laps of racing took place in wet conditions.

Verstappen, who now has 46 career wins, remained focused throughout the stoppage and finished 3.7s ahead of Fernando Alonso, who moved ahead of Sergio Perez for second place when the Red Bull driver ran wide at Turn 1 on lap 63.

Perez finished third on the road but a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane dropped him to fourth at the finish behind Pierre Gasly, who took his first podium finish as an Alpine driver.

Verstappen has the opportunity to break Vettel's consecutive win record -- which has stood since 2013 -- as early as next weekend at the Italian Grand Prix. He will arrive at Monza with a 138-point lead in the standings over his teammate and remains on course to win the title at the Qatar Grand Prix with five races remaining.

Perez briefly held the lead at Zandvoort in the opening stages of the race after a rain shower on the opening lap saw the Mexican, along with six other drivers, pit for intermediate wet tyres at the first opportunity.

Verstappen waited until lap two to change his tyres, initially dropping him to tenth place when he returned to the track before he worked his way back through the field to second position behind Perez by lap seven.

As the rain eased off and the track started to dry, Verstappen gained the advantage again, switching back to slick tyres one lap earlier than Perez and taking the lead as a result.

A safety car came out on lap 16 when American driver Logan Sargeant crashed his Williams at Turn 8. The five-lap hiatus in racing gave Perez a shot at attacking his teammate at the restart, but when the safety car came in on lap 21, he was entirely focused on trying to keep Alonso behind.

Rain on lap 60 of 72 saw the entire field return to the pits for wet-weather tyres, only for Zhou Guanyu to crash heavily at Turn 1, resulting in a red flag on lap 65 to repair the barriers.

Two laps earlier, Perez had lost second place to Alonso when he misjudged his braking point at the same corner and ran wide.

Gasly was among the drivers who benefited from being on the right tyres at the right time, and when the opportunity came to secure a podium via Perez's penalty at the final restart, he took it.

It was an important result for Alpine, which fired its team principal Otmar Szafnauer and racing director Alan Permane at the last round in Belgium.

Carlos Sainz secured fifth place for Ferrari after holding off Lewis Hamilton in the final six laps of racing, while Lando Norris, who started the race second, struggled to recover from McLaren's indecision over when to switch to wet tyres early in the race.

Alex Albon secured eighth after a strong race in which he opted against pitting for wet tyres during the early rain storm. Oscar Piastri took ninth place for McLaren ahead of Esteban Ocon in tenth.