The first Dutch Grand Prix in 36 years was by no means a big race – but it was a big occasion, as Formula 1 returned to Zandvoort and an “orange army” of 65,000 supporters won the race. result they dreamed of. Local hero Max Verstappen was totally dominant in his Red Bull-Honda, even though Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes-AMG threw all they could at their rivals.
Pre-race calls to leave the orange rockets at home went unheeded as Zandvoort rocked into a wonderful party atmosphere. The 2.64 mile long sand dune circuit pales in comparison to the old sweeping circuit, but the location still offers a challenge for F1 drivers, bites when they go wrong and behaves. now two banked turns which add spice.
Hamilton nearly ruined the party on Saturday with an excellent qualifying lap just 0.038 seconds from Verstappen’s pole position, and again on Sunday he gave everything to reverse the fairytale result. Valtteri Bottas riding a shotgun in the second Mercedes kept Red Bull on their toes, with the Brackley-based team opting for a divisive strategy which meant that for all of their dominance, Verstappen never had it easy. Hamilton stopped early to engage in a two-stop strategy, with his rival coming a lap later to cover the ploy – that’s all he had to do all day.
But Mercedes replaced Bottas with a one-stopper in hopes he could at least give Verstappen a headache. But when Max closed the Finn, who then made a small mistake at the chicane, the Red Bull had passed before the # 77 Merc could even stop. Bottas delivered good points to his team in third place, but he showed moderation in Zandvoort. George Russell is expected to be announced as the new Mercedes driver for 2022 overnight.
After a first set of second saves, Hamilton made it clear over the radio that he was not happy with the strategy given to him, but he generally fell apart to keep Verstappen close at hand. But on a circuit where overtaking is so difficult, there was never much doubt about the end of it. In the finals, Mercedes dropped the chase and pitted Hamilton against a new set of soft tires with which he won the extra point for the fastest lap. Intrigue erupted when Bottas, who had also been called up, learned that his new Pirellis set was a safety measure and that he shouldn’t be aiming for the fastest lap, that he should leave it to Hamilton. . Stung by the roll call, Bottas clocked the two best times in the industry before obeying chief quarterback James Vowles’ radio order to back off. He did – but still did the fastest lap! A sticky situation was eased as Hamilton’s last lap turned out to be faster.
The result tilts the championship in favor of Verstappen, going from a three-point deficit to three points ahead of Monza next weekend. As Hamilton engineer Pete Bonnington said on radio after the flag, Mercedes has every hope of fighting back at the Italian GP as this tight title duel continues to dance on a razor’s edge.
Pierre Gasly finished where he started with a good fourth place for AlphaTauri, ahead of Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari. Old warrior Fernando Alonso put in another touching performance for Alpine, overtaking his teammate Esteban Ocon in a hectic first lap, then taking sixth place from Carlos Sainz Jr on the last lap.
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This notice was published: 2021-09-05 20:59:08