4 Talking Points From The Dutch Grand Prix
Max Verstappen took his 7th win of the season at his home race at the Zandvoort Circuit, on the circuit’s first Formula 1 race since 1985. And it’s safe to say that the newly modified circuit hosted a race that can only be described as a spectacle.
Let’s jump right into our 4 talking points from the Dutch Grand Prix.
Verstappen has nerves of steel
Max Verstappen showed everybody exactly why he’s considered equal to the most decorated Formula 1 driver of all time. The 23-year-old was already under pressure from the start of the weekend as the Dutch crowd welcomed him to the first Dutch Grand Prix held in 32 years.
However, Max repaid the faith placed on him by the Orange Army. A pole position on Saturday and a perfect race (minus a fastest lap) on Sunday saw the crowd burst into frenzied celebrations.
He only had to complete one overtake which he did with ease against Bottas on much older tyres, and he completed it without losing much time to a charging Hamilton behind him.
Verstappen became the first Dutch driver to win the Dutch Grand Prix and took Zandvoort by storm in the process.
“Valtteri, It’s James”
Valterri Bottas had the most Bottas-esque race we have ever witnessed. The Finn had a poor start off the line and that pretty much sealed his fate to P3.
Bottas managed to keep up with his teammate in the first stint, however, after being left out too late to try and halt Verstappen’s charge to help his teammate’s race, his race for the top 2 was most certainly over.
Valterri did his best to hold Verstappen up and it did help Hamilton to close up on the eventual race winner; however it was all in vain, as the Dutchman pulled back his lead after passing the Finn.
As if that wasn’t enough, the Finn was asked to pit for fresh softs with 5 laps to go. It must be said, however that he was told not to go for the fastest lap as the pit stop was for Hamilton to get a free pit stop ahead of him and be able to go for the fastest lap.
The Finn initially ignored team orders as he set some scintillating times in Sector 1 and Sector 2, before we heard James Vowles, the Chief Strategist for Mercedes, come onto the radio and tell Valterri to abort his attempt for the fastest.
And, of course, in the iconic, “Valtteri, It’s James” fashion. Shambolic but nothing new for Bottas.
The Forgotten Gasly
Pierre Gasly raised eyebrows on Saturday with a lap good enough for P4 but the Frenchman has gone under the radar yet again. Gasly had an extremely quiet race, with the Ferraris unable to match his pace up in P4, and him being unable to match the big boys as was expected.
However, when you think about it, the French driver has worked wonders.
In an Alpha Tauri that is not supposed to be that quick, as is evident from Yuki Tsunoda’s lack of pace, Gasly not only managed to qualify in P4, but also finished the race in P4. He kept the race under control at all times as he managed his gap to Charles Leclerc.
To add to his feats, he also managed to keep his tyres on point as he had to make sure he matched the Ferrari behind him; and not run out of tyres as he pitted 10 laps before Charles who then went on to the hard tyres- while Pierre was on 10 laps older medium tyres.
Overall, it was a very steady drive from the flying Frenchman on the eve of the anniversary of his Monza victory. Gasly definitely made a stromg case for being the best and most consistent driver on the grid alongside Lando Norris, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Zandvoort, A Classic!
Before coming to Zandvoort, it was expected by fans and teams alike that there would be very few overtakes and wheel-to-wheel racing would be very unlikely. However, that was far from the truth.
While there weren’t as many overtakes as you’d probably see at Monza, Spa or Sakhir, there was a lot of racing around the circuit, especially in Sectors 1 and 3.
It was undoubtedly better than some of the tracks we visit every year *coughs*Sochi*coughs*.
What added to the spectacle of a classic circuit, where making a mistake could be as costly as a penalty, was the crowd. The crowd, mostly adorned in orange made the race an unmissable event, ready in numbers with their flares and smoke bombs, ready for the moment Max Verstappen took the chequered flag.
The crowd added to the absolute spectacle, so much so that Lewis Hamilton couldn’t hide his smiles during his post-race interview.
Much like Hamilton, the prospect of Zandvoort returning in 2022 again is already one that brings a smile to one’s face.