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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

10 issues we realized from F1’s 2021 Dutch Grand Prix

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Formulation 1 ended a 36-year wait to hit Dutch shores – fairly actually, going to the seaside – in model as Zandvoort hosted a much-needed increase for the paddock.

The washout at Spa had left a bitter style within the mouths of most, however the Dutch Grand Prix was the right palate cleanser.

The on-track spectacle was hardly a thriller, however the mixture of an thrilling format for drivers, a competition environment and a victory for the house hero meant the weekend ticked numerous packing containers for F1.

Listed here are 10 issues we realized from the 2021 Dutch Grand Prix.

Race Winner Max Verstappen, Purple Bull Racing celebrates in Parc Ferme

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Picture by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

1. ‘Tremendous Max’ stored to the script with a house win to savour

It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that with out Max Verstappen, there can be no Dutch Grand Prix. His fervent supporters who traipsed throughout Europe to cheer him on made F1 realise a return to the Netherlands was one thing it needed to chase, with the dream lastly being achieved final weekend.

The narrative was set: the Dutch Grand Prix returns, the Dutch followers flip up, the Dutch driver wins. In the long run, that’s precisely the way it panned out – not that we ever thought it could be something completely different.

Verstappen has by no means been a driver to bow below strain, and even amid the entire buzz at Zandvoort, he appeared to take the whole lot in his stride. He was grateful for the help as all the time, making explicit word of the King of the Netherlands attending the race. However he at no level appeared distracted from the job at hand, which was to win the race and reclaim the lead of the championship.

It wasn’t a weekend with out its minor hiccups, such because the red flag investigation from FP2 and the DRS failure at the end of Q3. However Verstappen had the measure of his rivals, nailing the beginning and placing Purple Bull right into a place the place it may all the time react to Mercedes’ strikes behind.

The Dutch followers are certain to have one hell of a hangover at this time, having spent final evening toasting their hero and blaring out the ‘Tremendous Max’ tune that has grow to be their anthem. However they’ve witnessed historical past – and maybe the turning level for Verstappen in his march to a maiden world title.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Max Verstappen, Purple Bull Racing RB16B, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Picture by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

2. Mercedes couldn’t reply Purple Bull’s technique regardless of good tempo

Verstappen could have solely simply reclaimed the lead of the drivers’ championship, however a more true image of the place the facility at present lies within the title race is available in a grim statistic for Mercedes.

Up to now 9 races, Mercedes has scored only one win – Silverstone – and its final true defeat of Purple Bull on outright tempo got here on the Spanish Grand Prix in early Could.

However the margins between Mercedes and Purple Bull have been pretty skinny, and have been once more at Zandvoort. Verstappen’s race victory was convincing, but it surely was not at a canter. Lewis Hamilton managed to hold inside a few seconds at factors as they scythed by way of site visitors, and whereas Verstappen doubtless had tempo in hand on the entrance, he couldn’t simply streak clear.

PLUS: The Mercedes tactics that Verstappen had to overcome to win at home

It was a good response from Mercedes given Hamilton had misplaced most of his Friday operating after the lengthy purple flag in FP1 and an influence unit challenge in FP2. However when it got here all the way down to the technique, it couldn’t answer Red Bull. Verstappen’s lead was all the time sufficient to see off the undercut, and the arduous tyre supplied extra tempo than Mercedes anticipated.

Trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin admitted after the race Mercedes had been “a bit optimistic” hoping Purple Bull would go together with softs for the ultimate stint, however felt the crew had been a “bit behind the curve” all weekend in comparison with its major rival.

To have one win in 9 and nonetheless lead the constructors’ championship, and have Hamilton simply three factors off the highest within the drivers’ standings, isn’t dangerous in any respect. The duty for Mercedes is to show the marginal defeats into marginal wins – one thing it must do fast earlier than Purple Bull’s momentum turns into too nice to cease.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Picture by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

3. We shouldn’t learn into Bottas’s ‘cheeky’ quickest lap effort

Valtteri Bottas’s late flirting with the quickest lap bonus level in opposition to Mercedes’ needs could have been entertaining, however it’s not an indication of something untoward that needs to be learn into.

Mercedes opted to pit Bottas as a precaution in direction of the tip of the race, becoming him with a set of sentimental tyres that he understandably thought have been meant for use for a shot on the quickest lap. He was advised to not go for the quickest lap by his race engineer, Riki, and questioned why not – earlier than lighting the timing screens purple within the first two sectors.

It was sufficient to warrant the notorious “Valtteri, it’s James” radio name, telling Bottas to again off. The Finn obliged, however nonetheless set the quickest lap, taking the bonus level away from Hamilton.

It could have been learn in some corners as defiance from a driver doubtless on his method out of the crew, however that wasn’t the case in any respect. The very fact Hamilton was then capable of get the quickest lap by over 1.4 seconds late on confirmed simply how a lot Bottas did again off, following the crew’s name, even when he did say he was “enjoying round” a bit.

Toto Wolff said Bottas’s push for the fastest lap was “cheeky”, however that he understood it and they might speak about it. However he additionally acknowledged that Mercedes did run a danger of denying Hamilton the purpose had there been a yellow flag or incident on his ultimate lap that compelled him to again off.

“It’s important to perceive additionally at that time, there’s a sure diploma of frustration of Valtteri, and on the finish, the whole lot is sweet,” Wolff mentioned. “We’re going to speak about it, however in a most amicable {and professional} method.”

Helmut Marco, Red Bull Racing, Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri

Helmut Marco, Purple Bull Racing, Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri

Picture by: Erik Junius

4. Gasly was the true driver of the day

F1’s ‘Driver of the Day’ vote is a pleasant initiative to get followers extra concerned, but it surely hardly ever delivers a good end result. Sergio Perez gained the vote for Zandvoort, and his cost by way of the pack was actually thrilling – however that tends to be how the voting goes, favouring these charging by way of the sector, pulling off overtakes and dominating the display screen time.

In fact, Pierre Gasly was the motive force of the day, and of your complete weekend. He strung collectively a shocking lap in qualifying to take fourth on the grid, after which held his personal to return house a superb fourth for AlphaTauri. It’s nonetheless the one crew to have scored factors in each race this 12 months.

However what made Gasly’s drive all of the extra spectacular was the technique concerned. He pitted on Lap 24 for a set of mediums that needed to final 48 laps to get to the end, all whereas conserving Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who took arduous tyres a full 10 laps later, at bay. One of many key components of the drive was an overtake on Fernando Alonso after his pitstop, who he cleared shortly with an awesome transfer across the outdoors at Flip 1.

It was a supreme show from Gasly that can solely add to the questions on his long-term future, and what he has to do to get again into the body for a Purple Bull seat. It could be great to see him get the possibility in a high crew once more, as a result of performances like Sunday solely show his star high quality and skill to chop it with the easiest on the grid.

Nikita Mazepin, Haas VF-21, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Nikita Mazepin, Haas VF-21, Sergio Perez, Purple Bull Racing RB16B

Picture by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

5. Purple Bull and Perez have to iron out their errors

Mercedes could have been crushed at Zandvoort, however the crew truly left having prolonged its lead on the high of the constructors’ championship after a tough weekend for Sergio Perez.

Perez mentioned {that a} “mess” in qualifying was all the way down to various components that, after his final lap in Q1 put him eighth, led to him being bumped out in sixteenth place.

It was smart to take an engine penalty, however Perez didn’t assist his fightback from the pitlane by flat-spotting his tyres into Flip 1. He was capable of make it by way of to eighth in the long run, passing Esteban Ocon late on after surviving a conflict with Lando Norris a number of laps earlier, making certain Purple Bull had two vehicles within the factors.

But it surely was the second Saturday in a row the place Perez hadn’t featured on the entrance. He’s outqualified Verstappen simply as soon as this 12 months – at Imola in April – and whereas Mercedes wasn’t capable of break up methods in the long run, the absence of a second Purple Bull left the crew weak.

Perez said his Q1 exit was “really hard to digest” as he’d been feeling in a great place with the automotive at Zandvoort, which hasn’t been an everyday incidence this 12 months. However each he and the crew have to get issues collectively at Monza to assist the constructors’ combat, as Mercedes can’t be allowed to maintain gathering factors so freely.

Nikita Mazepin, Haas F1 and Mick Schumacher, Haas F1

Nikita Mazepin, Haas F1 and Mick Schumacher, Haas F1

Picture by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

6. Haas has a rising drawback with Mazepin and Schumacher

Of all of the locations for an intra-team spat to emerge this season, Haas wouldn’t have been a lot of a wager for many individuals firstly of the 12 months.

But the crew clearly has a rising drawback on its hand after Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher had two incidents at Zandvoort, pointing to the rising fractures on the crew.

Qualifying on Saturday noticed Mazepin claim Schumacher had deliberately ruined his lap by defying the pre-session settlement and passing him on-track. Schumacher responded by saying the crew had advised him he may achieve this, and that he did nothing mistaken.

The race noticed a a lot larger incident. As Schumacher moved to cross Mazepin on the right-hand aspect beginning the second lap, Mazepin moved his automotive throughout, forcing Schumacher to again out on the final second. It was a brilliant late transfer that left Schumacher with entrance wing injury, and the German driver admitted he was “very indignant” however selected to not say something on the radio.

Gunther Steiner’s response afterwards was diplomatic, saying it “always takes two to tango” in such situations. But it’s not the primary time that Mazepin has pulled such a transfer on Schumacher this 12 months, with such aggression additionally being clear in junior classes.

Schumacher admitted after the race that there was “room for enchancment” within the relationship with Mazepin, which is placing it mildly. Not like different groups, the 2 Haas drivers weren’t interviewed collectively on the motive force parade, one thing that Mazepin identified throughout his interview.

It could not make a complete lot of distinction for Haas now given its present degree of efficiency. However because it appears to be like to a return to competitiveness in 2022, it must type this rising challenge – and to stop a doable accident as nicely.

Fans go wild for Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Followers go wild for Max Verstappen, Purple Bull Racing

Picture by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

7. Zandvoort’s competition environment made it a bucket listing race already

For the 72,000 followers fortunate sufficient to be within the grandstands at Zandvoort, they acquired to be the envy of F1 followers throughout the globe who would have immediately made the Dutch Grand Prix a must-attend occasion.

It was more like a festival than a grand prix, one thing that Liberty Media has been eager to try to obtain with races. That is the primary race that F1’s new homeowners have efficiently added to the calendar and pulled off, and it have to be deemed a powerful success.

From 9 within the morning till lengthy after the vehicles had stopped operating, there was home music blaring out from a DJ – typically even throughout purple flags – to maintain the group hyped and the environment going. The bulk could have been there to see Verstappen, however even the few neutrals – or courageous Mercedes followers, of whom there have been a handful – would have been absorbing the environment.

Hamilton’s earlier post-race feedback could have made the phrase ‘greatest followers’ a little bit of a joke in F1 circles, however honestly, the Dutch might need simply settled that argument.

A pleasant word as nicely is that, in contrast to in Hungary, the booing in direction of Hamilton was minimal, being most notable after qualifying however settling down after parc ferme interviewer Giedo van der Garde known as for some respect. It could have been a distinct story if Hamilton had taken pole or gained the race, but it surely was good that the fears some had going into the weekend concerning the backlash that is likely to be confronted weren’t recognised in the long run.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT02, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21, and Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri AT02, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21, and Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21

Picture by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

8. F1 can study from Zandvoort’s success for future observe modifications

Zandvoort could not have been a ‘new observe’ for many of the F1 area given its wealthy historical past, but its modifications meant the drivers were eager to get to grips with the fresh challenge.

And it was one they savoured. The banked corners at Turns 1, 3 and 14 gained rave evaluations, especially Turn 3, which offered a variety of different lines for them to attempt. In the long run, drivers labored out that the excessive line was the quickest, but it surely didn’t cease a number of going low within the race to try to make a cross – one thing that proved expensive for Sebastian Vettel as he spun.

The race itself could have been just a little underwhelming, however that was no shock given the tight and slender nature of the observe that supplied few overtaking alternatives. We noticed a good variety of strikes at Flip 1 as driver slung their vehicles across the outdoors, making it hardly a procession.

As F1 strikes ahead and both alters tracks to assist overtaking or goes to new markets, Zandvoort can hopefully provide some inspiration that might be adopted. It was quick, thrilling, and punished errors – we didn’t hear the phrases ‘observe limits’ as soon as all weekend!

Mixed with the environment and the way shut the grandstands have been to the observe, it is going to have made the Dutch Grand Prix a agency favorite for the drivers even after only a single operating.

Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing

Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing

Picture by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

9. Raikkonen’s Positive check reminds us of the danger dealing with F1 drivers

On a weekend that began with information of Kimi Raikkonen’s retirement at the end of the season and so many great tributes from his friends, it was a disgrace to not see the Iceman racing.

PLUS: Why the time is right for Raikkonen to hang up his F1 helmet

A Positive check for COVID-19 was revealed on Saturday morning, ruling Raikkonen out of the weekend and paving the way for Robert Kubica to make his F1 comeback, stepping in as Alfa Romeo’s reserve driver.

Kubica fared nicely, ending fifteenth – a end result he bettered simply as soon as in his season with Williams in 2019 – regardless of restricted time to stand up to hurry on a difficult circuit, offering a pleasant story for F1 given the Pole’s recognition.

However Raikkonen’s Positive check regardless of being double jabbed is a reminder of the dangers dealing with F1 drivers in the mean time. Even when they’re asymptomatic, a Positive check may have a big effect on their season if they’re compelled to overlook a race – particularly for the title protagonists.

This isn’t to say Raikkonen didn’t take the mandatory precautions. He remoted instantly regardless of Dutch legislation not requiring him to, and moved to guard his different crew members. However even when doing all they will to guard themselves, a Positive check can actually have a big effect.

Alexander Albon, Red Bull Racing

Alexander Albon, Purple Bull Racing

Picture by: Purple Bull Content material Pool

10. Purple Bull faces a dilemma over what to do with Albon

As the motive force market will get prepared to maneuver this week with bulletins now imminent, Formulation 1’s foolish season is coming into its ultimate levels.

With the solutions to the Russell/Bottas saga being clear for everybody to see, a lot of the intrigue in current days has surrounded the futures of two drivers not on the F1 grid proper now.

Alexander Albon and Nyck de Vries are angling for drives subsequent 12 months, and look most definitely to fill the seats at Alfa Romeo and Williams.

PLUS: Why Williams now holds the power in Formula 1 silly season

However Purple Bull is dealing with a dilemma with Albon. The crew has made clear its desire is to position him at Williams for subsequent season, however the stumbling block is the actual fact it’s a Mercedes buyer crew.

Toto Wolff has mentioned Mercedes can be completely satisfied to work with Albon at Williams, so long as Red Bull were to release Albon from his contract with them. But it surely appears unlikely that Purple Bull would need to give Albon up after all of the funding it has put in his profession and the apparent contribution he has continued to make with the crew.

Purple Bull should resolve if it could relatively lose Albon for him to get the Williams seat, or if it could take him going to Alfa Romeo to maintain these hyperlinks. Choosing the latter would additionally open up a seat for Mercedes Formulation E driver de Vries at Williams, who now holds the facility within the driver market and might see what gives come its method, being in no rush to make any choices.

2021 F1 Dutch GP race start

2021 F1 Dutch GP race begin

Picture by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

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