News and views on Max Verstappen’s win at the F1 Dutch Grand Prix at home

The Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix was a homecoming for reigning world champion Max Verstappen, and he did it with another landslide victory.

autoweek round up the main talking points.

Verstappen’s perfect tenth

What else is there to say about Max Verstappen and Red Bull? It was simply another dominant day for a Formula 1 association that is head and shoulders above its opponents in 2022.

Verstappen started from pole position, managed the race and made the required off-strategy moves to perfection. Verstappen beat Mercedes’ George Russell to the finish line by 4.07sec, while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc completed the podium, 10.9sec off the lead.

Verstappen has won 10 of this year’s 15 Grands Prix, including four in a row during an overwhelming run, and is closing in on the record for most wins (13) in a single year. His crowning of a second F1 championship could now come as early as the F1 Grand Prix in Singapore on October 3, in just two races, given that he now holds a 109-point title lead. That lead has increased throughout his current career due to his own results and his rivals’ inability to meet a challenge: He has gone from 38 to 63, to 80, to 93, to 109.

If Verstappen wins in Singapore, that would mean he would be holding a championship with five races remaining in the season.

netherlands f1 grand prix

Pit stop problems cost Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz on Sunday at Zandvoort.

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Ferrari messes it up again

Ferrari’s inability to get through a race weekend without an unexpected setback in comedy continued at Zandvoort.

This time it was Carlos Sainz who took the brunt of Ferrari’s failures. Sainz was holding a podium position when Ferrari’s late call to the pits caused chaos, resulting in the left rear tire not being in place when Sainz pitted. Sainz had to be held for 15 seconds while the tire was dug up, and in the chaos the spare wheel gun was positioned incorrectly and Sergio Pérez ran her over.

At his last stop, Sainz unsafely let go in the pit lane, prompting a time penalty, which dropped from fifth at the flag to eighth.

What worried Ferrari the most, who had Leclerc third, was the overall pace of the F1-75.

“I don’t know, honestly, it’s something we need to analyze and review,” Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said of the car’s recent drop in speed on Sunday. “Is it due to the car not being fast enough, is it the balance of the car? Certainly, today’s experience gives us more data to analyze and address why we need to react. It’s three races where we haven’t performed on a Sunday and we should, and I certainly think not only Red Bull but also Mercedes is quicker than us.”

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Ferrari’s title aspirations are done and dusted for 2022 and it is now in danger of not finishing second in either championship.

netherlands f1 grand prix

Lewis Hamilton finished just short of a podium at Zandvoort.

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Emotional Hamilton says he’s getting closer

Mercedes’ W13 has had its ups and downs in terms of performance, but its race pace was strong at Zandvoort.

Lewis Hamilton jumped into outside contention for the win, but Mercedes’ call to stay out on medium tires during the late safety car period backfired. Hamilton inherited the lead from Verstappen, but on older and harder tires he was unable to prevent his opponent from moving ahead and eventually slipped off the podium at the checkered flag.

A furious Hamilton berated his team over the radio during the closing laps and explained his anger after the race.

“I don’t want to apologize for my passion because that’s how I’m made and I don’t always get it right,” he said. “I feel sorry for my team for what I said because it was an amazing moment, but I want to see the glass half full. We have so many positives to take from this weekend. Yeah, I got fourth place at the end, but the car felt really good. If the car feels like this and in the other races, we will be fighting for a victory. And that’s amazing.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff explained the call after the race after George Russell, running behind Hamilton, used the faster soft tires and jumped the seven-time champion.

“The idea that we had was that we had a medium (tyre) that had five laps of racing in the positive track position, and we made that decision (stay out),” Wolff said. “I don’t think on par with the same tire we would have been able to overtake the Red Bull with straight line speed.

Mercedes doesn’t expect to be as strong at Monza, given the dragging nature of its W13, but Singapore and Suzuka could present opportunities to win.

Another rocky race for Haas

Haas left Zandvoort empty-handed after separate setbacks for Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen. Schumacher started from a superb eighth on the grid, but lost at the start before a front jack problem at his pit stop derailed his chances of contending for points.

“I had a lot of fun even though I was on the wrong side of the field,” said Schumacher, who was 13th. “These things happen, we are now looking to the future to score points in the new races to come.”

Magnussen started just 18 after a low-key qualifying in which he struggled to feel the extra grip on the newer soft tyres. A three-place gain on the first lap suggested he was on the mend, but he slid wide on the second lap and came perilously close to stopping his race when the VF-22 hit the barriers.

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“When you hit the wall in the race it’s not good, but it was my mistake,” Magnussen said. “I tried too hard, lost the rear, went off and hit the wall, came back and was able to continue. I tried my best to come back, but I spent a lot of time trying to get back on the field, but managed to make up some positions and finish P15. It was a bit of a wasted weekend.”

drugevich on the edge of the F2 title

Felipe Drugovich is about to become the new Formula 2 champion.

The 22-year-old Brazilian is in his third year in the series, which may hurt the drivers, but he has married speed to application and brilliantly recovered from a mid-season drop in form.

Drugovich won the feature race at Zandvoort, his first win since Monaco in May, while closest title rivals Théo Pourchaire and Logan Sargeant stunned. Pourchaire managed just 10th place after crashing out of qualifying, while Sargeant went wide at the first corner before crashing mid-lap after contact.

Drugovich now leads by a colossal 70 points with just 78 up for grabs in the remaining events at Monza next weekend and Yas Marina in November. Drugovich is not part of a Formula 1 academy, but a couple of teams are understood to be interested in his services, most likely as a reserve, and contact has been made.

Brazil has been without a full-time Formula 1 driver since Felipe Massa’s retirement at the end of 2017, with Pietro Fittipaldi’s two substitute races for Haas in 2020, the last time his flag appeared on the grid. Despite the absence of a representative, Brazil remains an important television market for Formula 1 in terms of audience and revenue, while the Sao Paulo Grand Prix has been extended to 2025 in 2020.

Drugovich is still a long shot for an F1 seat, but his name is being discussed more than it was a few months ago.


F1 Dutch Grand Prix

in Zandvoort

  1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 72
  2. George Russell, Mercedes, +4 seconds
  3. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, +10.9
  4. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +13.0
  5. Sergio Perez, Red Bull, +18.1
  6. Fernando Alonso, Alpine, +18.7
  7. Lando Norris, McLaren, +19.3
  8. Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, +20.9
  9. Esteban Ocon, Alpine, +21.1
  10. Paseo Lance, Aston Martin, +22.4
  11. Pierre Gasly, Alpha Tauri, +27.0
  12. Alex Albon, Williams, +30.3
  13. Mick Schumacher, Haas, +32.9
  14. Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, +36.0
  15. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, +36.8
  16. Guanyu Zhou, Alfa Romeo, +37.3
  17. Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, +37.7
  18. Nicholas Latifi, Williams, +1 Lap
  19. Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo, +1 Lap
  20. Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, +29 Laps

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