Verstappen takes dream victory at Zandvoort

Max Vestappen achieved a dream result in front of the Orange Army with a commanding race win at Zandvoort. The Red Bull driver finished ahead of Lewis Hamilton and retakes the championship lead.

The only major threat to Verstappen’s race arrived after his first pitstop when he resumed behind Valtteri Bottas, but the Mercedes driver was soon cleared with the aid of DRS.

As Hamilton worked around an alternative strategy, which put him on the quicker medium tyres but for a lengthy stint, Verstappen held a 2.5 seconds lead over his title rival, before a late Hamilton pitstop ensured Verstappen seized an eventual victory by 20.9 seconds.

Verstappen perfected his start from the left side of the grid to pull cleanly across in front of Hamilton, who was never close enough to pose a considerable threat into Turn 1 to pass.

That allowed Verstappen to sweep well clear of the chasing Mercedes, with Bottas launching noticeably slower compared to his teammate.

The Red Bull driver extracted a 1.7 seconds advantage come the end of the first lap of 72, which he extended to 2.3 seconds next time around.

At the start, Fernando Alonso soon demoted Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon. Although the Hungarian Grand Prix winner enjoyed the inside line into Turn 1, the pair squeezed through the next kink before Alonso barrelled around the outside of Turn 3 on the high line to secure seventh.

Antonio Giovinazzi was also passed by the two-time champion, having to lift in his Alfa Romeo when he was nosed onto the grass by Carlos Sainz before brushing the rear of Alonso, whose car was on settled over the bumps on the run to Turn 6.

A procession then set in, as Verstappen’s cushion out front peaked at 3.2 seconds on lap 8 before Hamilton was switched over to a two-stop strategy and began to push on his soft tyres.

He was initially 0.4 seconds a lap quicker aboard his Mercedes to bring the gap down to 2.8 seconds, but the difference then stabilised at 2.9 seconds as Verstappen was instructed to respond to match Hamilton’s pace.

Hamilton was called in to pit on lap 21, switching from softs to mediums, but was delayed with a sluggish change of the front-right Pirelli and he resumed in third position, 13 seconds behind Bottas.

Red Bull responded to the Mercedes threat by pitting Verstappen a lap later, also taking the mediums, but a slick service gained him a second and he rejoined with a 10 seconds deficit to Bottas.

Hamilton grabbed fastest lap as the pair closed to Bottas, with the Mercedes driver struggling on his softs but with the potential to delay Verstappen under the instruction to defend “for the race win”.

Verstappen closed to Valtteri’s rear on lap 30, and when the Mercedes driver ran wide at Turn 11, Verstappen could close and pounce with DRS for the lead down the main straight.

Bottas immediately moved aside at Turn 2 to give Hamilton second place, with the seven-time champion 1.5 seconds adrift of Verstappen.

Mercedes called Bottas into the pits on lap 32 for a set of mediums before he was delayed by a second at Turn 3 when he had to thread between the wall and the spinning Aston Martin of a lapped Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton made his second stop on lap 40, switching for another set of scrubbed mediums, rejoining 2.3 seconds ahead of his teammate before Verstappen again stopped a lap later.

Red Bull shifted his strategy, putting him on the slower hard compound, and he returned to the circuit with a 2.9 seconds over Hamilton.

From there, the Mercedes driver complained periodically about the health of his tyres and the call to pit early, while Verstappen established a solid lead of 3 seconds.

Bottas was furthered delayed by a slow 5 seconds late precautionary stop with five laps to go that came in response to a vibration. However, it gave him a chance to chase fastest lap.

Bottas claimed that by eight tenths, which duly forced Hamilton to pit on the penultimate tour for a charge on soft tyres.

That ensured Verstappen converted his seventh win of the season by 20.9 seconds over Hamilton as the Red Bull driver retook the drivers’ standings lead.

Hamilton was able to snare a point for fastest lap, wresting back the title with a last-gasp one minute, 11.097 seconds that was a second quicker than Bottas’ previous benchmark.

Gasly endured a lonely race to maintain fourth on the grid to the flag, after Bottas completed the podium, while Leclerc headed the Ferrari attack on hard tyres to nail fifth position.

Alonso managed to escape team orders that might have called him to fall behind Ocon, despite the protests of his teammate, as the double champion pounced late on Sainz to secure sixth position.

Perez, who had started from the pitlane following the instalment of a fourth power unit this season, arrived in eighth after a late pass around the outside of Turn 1 on Lando Norris.

Perez’s race was a slow burner after he suffered a vibration on his hard tyres to force an early switch to mediums. But the Red Bull driver was able to use the undercut to good effect before passing Daniel Ricciardo to set up the late dice with Norris.

Ocon eventually slipped to ninth ahead of the McLarens, while Lance Stroll started where he finished in 12th and teammate Vettel recovered from his early spin to P13.

A puncture dropped Alfa qualifying star Giovinazzi from seventh to P14 ahead of stand-in teammate Robert Kubica.

Behind Nicholas Latifi in 16th, George Russell endured a late retirement to join Yuki Tsunoda (power loss) and Nikita Mazepin (hydraulics) on the sidelines.

So congratulations to Max Verstappen by winning with a commanding performance at Zandvoort. The strong crowd support loved every moment and it was the perfect result for Red Bull. By winning the Dutch Grand Prix, Max now retakes the championship lead.

Dutch Grand Prix, race results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:30:05.395
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +20.932s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes +56.460s
4 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda +1 lap
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +1 lap
6 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault +1 lap
7 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari +1 lap
8 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda +1 lap
9 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault +1 lap
10 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes +1 lap
11 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes +1 lap
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes +2 laps
13 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes +2 laps
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari +2 laps
15 Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo-Ferrari +2 laps
16 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes +2 laps
17 George Russell Williams-Mercedes DNF
18 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari +3 laps
19 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda DNF
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari DNF

5 thoughts to “Verstappen takes dream victory at Zandvoort”

  1. Dutch Grand Prix race review reported by

    Max Verstappen has moved back to the head of the drivers’ standings, after winning the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort over title rival Lewis Hamilton, sending his home fans into ecstasy, as the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas completed the podium.

    In the first Dutch Grand Prix since 1985, Verstappen led away from pole, keeping Hamilton at bay throughout the 72-lap encounter around the sweeping Zandvoort track, to bring home his seventh win of the season, as Hamilton had to settle for second, the seven-time champion stopping with two laps to go for softs.

    Bottas was a comfortable third, despite his own late stop for soft tyres, with Bottas appearing to then ignore team orders not to attempt to take the fastest lap bonus point away from Hamilton – only for Hamilton to claim it anyway on the final lap.

    Bottas led home the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly, who drove a brilliant race to take fourth, ahead of the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc.

    Fernando Alonso was sixth for Alpine, having passed the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz on the last lap. Sainz was ahead of the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez, who recovered well from his pit lane start and an early flat spot in the race to take P8, with the second Alpine and of Esteban Ocon and the McLaren of Lando Norris – who’d been allowed past his 11th placed team mate Daniel Ricciardo earlier in the race – rounding out the top 10.

    Lance Stroll was 12th, ahead of Aston Martin team mate Sebastian Vettel, then the Alfa Romeo pairing of Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen replacement Robert Kubica in P14 and P15, with Nicholas Latifi taking 16th – as George Russell was classified 17th, ahead of Mick Schumacher, with Yuki Tsunoda and Nikita Mazepin retiring.

    But the Dutch fans only had eyes for one driver, greeting Verstappen’s win with jubilation, as he moved three points clear of Hamilton in the standings.

    There was almost a football stadium atmosphere at Zandvoort as the expectant Dutch crowd, orange flares blazing, watched their man Max Verstappen take up his spot on pole position. And their hero achieved his first goal of the afternoon with a brilliant start, decisively sweeping in front of the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton starting alongside him into to Turn 1.

    Despite there having been six red flags in the practice and qualifying sessions leading up to the race, it was something of a surprise to see the pack all make it through the first lap without major incident. The only real drama centred around Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, who narrowly avoided contact with Williams’ George Russell into Turn 2 before using his Indy 500 experience to swoop through the banked Turn 3 on the high line, allowing Alonso to climb from his P9 grid slot to P7.

    After his excellent qualifying, meanwhile, Antonio Giovinazzi went the other way on Lap 1, dropping from P7 to P10 after getting squeezed by Carlos Sainz and then appearing to make light contact with Alonso as the Spaniard forced his way past the Alfa Romeo.

    Up at the front, though, Verstappen was quickly into his stride, stretching his advantage to around 3s over Hamilton by Lap 10, Hamilton himself with 5s between himself and team mate Bottas. In the AlphaTauri, Pierre Gasly was comfortably holding fourth from the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Sainz, but had dropped over 10s behind Bottas – although Gasly was still usefully positioned to give Mercedes a potential strategic headache to help out Verstappen in the Red Bull sister team.

    Sergio Perez had been crestfallen on Saturday to not make it out of Q1. But after fitting a new power unit and starting from the pit lane, Perez’s weekend took another hit when he flat-spotted his hard tyres attacking Nikita Mazepin early on, forcing Perez to pit for mediums on Lap 9 and dropping him back to P19 – ahead only of the Haas of Mick Schumacher, who’d pitted on lap 4.

    Nicholas Latifi was another who’d started from the pit lane after a change to his gearbox and front wing after his qualifying crash – with Latifi showing Perez how to pass Mazepin with a beautiful move around the outside of the Haas at Turn 1 on Lap 13.

    Lewis Hamilton was the first of the leaders to pit on Lap 20, putting on new medium tyres. But it wasn’t the smoothest stop from Mercedes, Hamilton stationary for 3.6s. Verstappen pitted from the lead a lap later, Red Bull servicing him in 2.7s, with Verstappen emerging 2s up the road from Hamilton in P2, as Bottas took over the lead.

    So hot had the pace of Verstappen and Hamilton been that they were on the yet-to-stop Bottas’ gearbox by Lap 30 – with Verstappen instructed by race engineer that passing the Finn would be “critical” to securing victory, as Bottas was told to defend.

    Verstappen was right on the Finn through the banked Turn 14 at the end of Lap 30, though, and DRSed his way easily past Bottas into Turn 1 to retake the race lead. But Bottas having held Verstappen up had allowed Hamilton to close up too, with Bottas quickly moving aside to release his team mate to get after the Dutchman – as Bottas pitted for mediums a lap later, rejoining in third.

    With the halfway point reached on Lap 36 of 72, and with all of the field bar Lando Norris and Robert Kubica – replacing Kimi Raikkonen this weekend after the Finn contracted Covid-19 – having pitted, the order was: Verstappen from Hamilton, who was 22s clear of Bottas, then Gasly, Leclerc, Sainz, Norris, the recovering Perez in P8, with the Alpine duo of Alonso and Esteban Ocon rounding out the top 10.

    There was drama a lap later, meanwhile, as Sebastian Vettel, attacking the Alfa Romeo of Kubica, spun at Turn 3, almost getting collected by the Mercedes of Bottas and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda. Verstappen, meanwhile, was given a hurry up on Lap 38, with Red Bull and Mercedes seemingly contemplating two-stopping Verstappen and Hamilton.

    Mercedes duly brought Hamilton in a lap later, putting Hamilton on his one available set of used mediums, with Hamilton able to exit back into his P2. But Verstappen had been setting a fierce pace up at the front, stopping for hards a lap later and retaining his lead comfortably – with Hamilton questioning Mercedes’ strategy to go with the mediums with 33 laps of the race left to go.

    Verstappen and Hamilton now appeared to be in a straight fight to the race end. And despite Hamilton repeatedly complaining about the state of his tyres, with 15 laps of the race to go, he had closed up to within 1.8s of Verstappen’s rear wing – Hamilton scenting blood, despite Mercedes telling the seven-time champion that slackening his pace, cooling his tyres and settling for second and fastest lap might be the way to go.

    With 10 laps to go, the gap had swelled back to around 4s – with Hamilton appearing to accept his fate and concede victory to Verstappen. There was intrigue to come, though, as Bottas was brought in for a pit stop on Lap 67, but told not to attempt to go for fastest lap on his soft tyres.

    Bottas appeared to ignore that piece of advice, duly claiming it despite protestations from Mercedes Chief Strategist James Vowles. However, Hamilton would then render Bottas’ dissention moot as he stopped for softs on Lap 70, and set the fastest lap himself on the final tour.

    That put him 20s behind Verstappen as the Dutchman swept over the line to take his seventh win of the season – with the Dutch crowd making no attempt to contain their enthusiasm for the result as they celebrated the first ever home victory in F1 for a Dutch driver on Dutch soil.

    As Hamilton and Bottas took P2 and P3, another star performance was that of Pierre Gasly, who held onto the fourth place he’d started in, holding off the Ferrari of Leclerc. Behind, meanwhile, the wily Fernando Alonso nabbed sixth on the final tour off his compatriot Carlos Sainz, who took seventh.

    Sergio Perez had the most eventful afternoon of any driver, climbing from P19 at one stage to finish P8 in a decent recovery drive that earned him Driver of the Day, as he finished ahead of Ocon and Norris.

    Ricciardo took 11th, having played the team game at McLaren by letting Norris – who’d run a 42-lap stint on the mediums – through earlier on. The Aston Martins of Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel were line astern in 12th and 13th after a disappointing day for the team in green – while Alfa Romeo will have been disappointed too to see Antonio Giovinazzi finish 14th after starting seventh, the Italian having suffered a puncture midway through the race.

    Kubica and Latifi were P15 and P16, with George Russell P17 despite actually retiring before the race end, but doing enough to be classified ahead of Schumacher – as Mazepin and Tsunoda also retired.

    So, it was double joy for Verstappen, as he held aloft the winner’s trophy on the podium in front of a sea of orange – with the Dutchman having also moved to the head of the drivers’ standings by three points over Hamilton.

  2. The Mercedes concedes it got Dutch Grand Prix strategy wrong. has the full story.

    Mercedes has admitted it got its strategy wrong in the fight with Red Bull at Formula 1’s Dutch Grand Prix, as Max Verstappen took a dominant home win.

    Verstappen held track advantage from the start and, although Lewis Hamilton was able to keep in contact with his title rival, there was no chance of being able to pass on track.

    The only possibility Hamilton had was in trying to undercut Verstappen by pitting first, and by Mercedes making use of Valtteri Botttas on an alternative strategy.

    Bottas tried to make a one-stop work but could not keep his tyres alive long enough, so fell away from contention to trouble Verstappen.

    And Hamilton never got close to an opportunity to get past Verstappen, with a final roll of the dice at a second stop being wasted by him returning to the track in the middle of lapped traffic.

    Hamilton’s plight was then made even worse by Verstappen being moved on to the more durable hard tyre, which meant there was no chance of him being forced to make a third stop.

    Speaking to Sky, Wolff conceded that Red Bull simply had the fastest car at Zandvoort – and the team did not get the timing of that second stop right.

    “We had, I think, a sniff of an undercut there,” said Wolff. [But] we didn’t time it right. I mean, at the end, you’re always more clever.

    “We didn’t expect them [Red Bull] to go on the hard tyre because it was an unknown. We didn’t drive the hard tyre on the Friday, and we thought we might be pushing them early with the soft. But it is what it is.”

    Verstappen held track advantage from the start and, although Lewis Hamilton was able to keep in contact with his title rival, there was no chance of being able to pass on track.

    The only possibility Hamilton had was in trying to undercut Verstappen by pitting first, and by Mercedes making use of Valtteri Botttas on an alternative strategy.

    Bottas tried to make a one-stop work but could not keep his tyres alive long enough, so fell away from contention to trouble Verstappen.

    And Hamilton never got close to an opportunity to get past Verstappen, with a final roll of the dice at a second stop being wasted by him returning to the track in the middle of lapped traffic.

    Hamilton’s plight was then made even worse by Verstappen being moved on to the more durable hard tyre, which meant there was no chance of him being forced to make a third stop.

    Speaking to Sky, Wolff conceded that Red Bull simply had the fastest car at Zandvoort – and the team did not get the timing of that second stop right.

    “We had, I think, a sniff of an undercut there,” said Wolff. [But] we didn’t time it right. I mean, at the end, you’re always more clever.

    “We didn’t expect them [Red Bull] to go on the hard tyre because it was an unknown. We didn’t drive the hard tyre on the Friday, and we thought we might be pushing them early with the soft. But it is what it is.”

  3. Mercedes F1 team boss Toto Wolff commented that Valtteri Bottas’ fastest lap attempt was “cheeky but understandable”. has the details.

    Toto Wolff says Valtteri Bottas’ fastest lap attempt in Formula 1’s Dutch GP was “cheeky”, but an “unaware” Lewis Hamilton reckons it “doesn’t matter” which Mercedes driver earned the point.

    Bottas was called in for a precautionary pitstop on “safety” grounds at Zandvoort on lap 67 of 72, switching from medium to soft tyres, and promptly set the fastest first two sectors of the race.

    But the Finn was instructed to slow down in the final sector, which allow Hamilton’s stop for softs on lap 70 to be rewarded with a point for fastest lap – setting a 1m11.097s to Bottas’ 1m12.549s.

    While Mercedes motorsport boss said he understood why Bottas chased the fastest lap before lifting, he called the turn of pace “cheeky”.

    He said: “That was a bit cheeky, but understandable. Valtteri is always on the receiving end because this championship is so tight.

    “He lifted off massively in the last sector, and it was clear that Lewis would do the quickest lap and Valtteri knew about it.

    “At the end, Lewis in his fight for the drivers’ championship got the point, and it’s all good.”

    Wolff added that Hamilton deserved the bonus point for holding the fastest lap for an extended time during the grand prix, won by Max Verstappen, and that the team would discuss the issue.

    “It could have ended up in a loss of a point for Lewis, and it would have also been not right, because he had fastest lap until then.

    “But you have to understand also at that point, there’s a certain degree of frustration of Valtteri, and at the end, everything is good.

    “We’re going to talk about it, but in a most amicable and professional way.”

    Hamilton, however, claimed he was unaware of the intra-team battle before adding it did not matter whether it was him or Bottas who walked away with the fastest lap point.

    The race runner-up explained: “I had no idea, but it doesn’t really matter. If Valtteri had got it, it would have been fine.

    “At the end of the day, we needed to get the fastest lap, as many points as we can as a team.

    “So if Valtteri gets it or I get it, it doesn’t really make a huge difference. I didn’t even know that Valtteri stopped. I was completely unaware of that.

    “It was my choice to stop. I needed that extra point. So I did. It was fine.”

    Bottas, meanwhile, maintained he was aware of Hamilton’s impending pitstop and said he had been “playing around” with his “flat-out” first half a lap.

    He also conceded that Hamilton had needed the point more in his title fight with Verstappen.

    He said: “To be honest, there was quite a big gap behind so for safety reasons, it was a good thing to stop.

    “I think I could have made it to the end much faster than by stopping but in the end, it was the same.

    “I thought initially we would stop for the fastest lap but then also Lewis had a gap so Lewis stopped.

    “I was pushing on the first lap in sector one and two like flat out. And then they started asking me to slow down at the end of the lap.

    “I was playing around really. Obviously Lewis needs that one extra point more than me.

    “He’s fighting for the world championship for drivers. As a team, we’re trying to get maximum points. That’s how it is.

    “I knew Lewis was going to stop as well. That information I had. I knew that with a decent amount of lifting in the last sector, he would get it. No drama.”

  4. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen said it was “never straightforward” to meet expectations at home Grand Prix. has the news story.

    Max Verstappen says it was “never straightforward” to meet the expectations of the Dutch Formula 1 fans at Zandvoort, but he remained “very focused” to win his home grand prix.

    Verstappen scored a dominant victory in Sunday’s Dutch Grand Prix to move back into the lead of the F1 drivers’ championship, keeping title rival Lewis Hamilton at bay throughout the race.

    Red Bull ran a two-stop strategy and reacted to both of Mercedes’ attempts to undercut Verstappen with Hamilton, clinching him a popular victory in front of over 70,000 fans in the first Dutch Grand Prix since 1985.

    Verstappen got out of his car to roars of support from the grandstands after the race, and was draped in a Dutch flag on the top step of the podium as the national anthem rang out.

    “I know the fans always have high expectations when you come here,” Verstappen said.

    “They of course want you to win, but it’s never that straightforward before you get here.

    “I think you have seen this whole year already, when Mercedes and us have been really close to each other, and yeah, [you have] to deliver at the end of the day.

    “Of course I’m very satisfied already with pole, but then also to win the race… What was crucial today was first of all the start, and then throughout the race, just managing that gap that they couldn’t undercut us.

    “But an incredible feeling of course to win in front of the fans, but also the King was watching with the family. Just an amazing day.”

    But Verstappen said he had been able to stay “very focused” amid the added media commitments and duties throughout his home race weekend.

    “I know that I have to focus on the driving,” Verstappen said. “That has been quite straightforward but of course naturally there are more distractions, especially when you are on the grid and drive out, there is more of a crowd.

    “I think we are professional enough to just focus on our job once we are in the car.”

    Mercedes was surprised by Red Bull’s decision to move Verstappen onto the hard tyre for the third stint of the race, having hoped the team would attempt a long run on softs.

    Hamilton lurked within two seconds of Verstappen at points during Sunday’s race, but he was never close enough to attempt a move.

    “The whole race, it was quite close between myself and Lewis,” Verstappen said. “He was really putting the pressure on, keeping, he was putting some great laps.

    “I think also after the final stop, I think at one point on that medium tyre, and I was on the hard tyre. But luckily it was enough in the end.

    “72 laps around here pushing, it was satisfying. Yeah, it was cool.”

  5. Most drivers would be happy to finish P8 after beginning a Grand Prix from the pit lane, but Sergio Perez felt he could have done even better at Zandvoort, had it not been for damage picked up on his Red Bull in a late clash with McLaren’s Lando Norris.

    After a disastrous 16th place in qualifying, Red Bull opted to change Perez’s power unit – including a difference spec Energy Store element – and start the Mexican from the back on hard tyres. From there he made steady progress up the order, pulling off several strong passes as he hauled his RB16B towards the points.

    “Every overtake was very much on the limit,” said Perez. “It was so risky, every one. I had to take lots of risks. And following was really hard. I gave it (my) all today.”

    The trickiest pass proved to be that on Norris for P10 on Lap 65 of 72, the two making quite heavy contact as Perez went around the outside at Turn 1. The stewards noted the incident, but decided it warranted no investigation.

    “I felt it was quite unnecessary,” commented Perez. “I was there, I didn’t have enough space and we touched – and I damaged quite badly the right-hand side of the car. From then on I lost a lot of grip basically.”

    Even with that damage, Perez went on to overtake Esteban Ocon’s Alpine in the closing stages and took the flag in P8, just half a second behind Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, and only 2.5s behind sixth-placed Fernando Alonso.

    “It was a bit of a shame there at the end because I think P6 was possible,” added Perez, who summarised his pit-lane-to-P8 race by saying, “We managed to minimise the damage, let’s put it that way.”

    For his part, Norris – like the stewards – saw the clash as a racing incident, saying: “I squeezed him a little bit, but I didn’t force him all the way off the track or anything like that.

    “We both fought each other hard. I’m not going to make his life easy – I want those points just as much as he does.”

    Despite Perez’s disappointment, one silver lining from his Dutch weekend is that he now has an extra power unit available – which means he should avoid a grid drop for an engine change in forthcoming races, such as next weekend’s in Italy.

    “We had a new engine, so we’ve taken that penalty let’s say,” he concluded. “From now on it’s just looking forward, looking ahead, try to come back strong into Monza.”

    Perez’s Zandvoort result means he remains fifth in the driver standings, but now lies just six points behind Norris.


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