Verstappen wins Dutch Grand Prix

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took a dominant victory over Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in the Dutch Grand Prix to retake the championship lead.

Verstappen, cheered on by 65,000 enthusiastic home fans, led all the way from pole position, comfortably keeping a following Hamilton at bay.

The Dutchman leads Hamilton by three points after his seventh win in 2021.

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas was third, ahead of Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

Mercedes tried what they could to challenge Verstappen, putting Hamilton on a two-stop strategy, then trying to use Bottas to hold him up, but Red Bull always appeared to be in control.

There appeared to be some disagreements between Hamilton and the team on the strategy deployed, but their conversations were a function of the fact that Verstappen just had that bit of extra pace to be able to answer everything Mercedes threw at him.

Meanwhile, Gareth Bale completed a match-winning hat-trick deep in injury time to save Wales from an embarrassing defeat against Belarus in Russia and keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

Wales made the ideal start as the first of two Bale penalties gave them an early lead, but they unravelled in two calamitous first-half minutes as goals from Vitali Lisakovich and Pavel Sedko put Belarus in front.

Lisakovich scored from the spot after Chris Gunter was penalised for a raised foot, before an unmarked Sedko punished shambolic defending from Wales, who were fortunate not to be further behind at half-time.

Bale scored his second spot-kick to bring Wales level midway through the second half and, in the third of four minutes of injury time, the captain came to his country’s rescue with a low shot that squirmed under Belarus goalkeeper Sergei Chernik and into the net.

After losing their opening match of the campaign to group leaders Belgium, Wales could ill afford to draw this game, never mind lose it.