What we learned, from Lewis Hamilton’s link to Mercedes to more Ferrari busts

Max Verstappen won Sunday’s Dutch Grand Prix ahead of George Russell and Charles Leclerc to take his lead in the Formula One Drivers’ Championship to more than 100 points.

The 24-year-old started from pole at Zandvoort but nearly missed out on a second win in successive years at home, with Mercedes having both Lewis Hamilton and Russell ahead of the reigning world champion before a late safety car period.

With Verstappen facing new soft tyres, Russell followed suit, slipping behind Red Bull and making race leader Hamilton a pushover on the restart. Verstappen quickly took the lead again and secured his 10th of 15 grands prix so far this season.

Hamilton, having seen at one stage that he could take his first victory since last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix, was furious and dropped to fourth when the checkered flag waved.

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Mercedes and Hamilton can win despite the mistake

Mercedes certainly made the wrong decision in the safety car period, as they essentially gave themselves no chance of winning instead of keeping both cars on the circuit in first and second place, to try and fight as hard as they could. hard as possible to keep Verstappen behind, which in itself would have been unlikely.

However, once the dust had settled, Hamilton focused on being optimistic about the team’s admittedly impressive performance in the Netherlands and its prospects for further improvement before the end of the season.

“The strategy and the car had been very good up to that point,” Hamilton told Sky Sports. “The pit stops were perfect, the best we’ve had this year. I was getting pumped up, I was thinking we’re all really into it today. I was hoping we were going to get 1-2 today.

“We did not win from Brazil [last year], and finally it was there within our reach. The safety car didn’t really help and I was on edge with emotions. My apologies to the team, I got lost for a second. It’s so much passion. I want to see it as a glass half full. If this can be the same in the next races, we can win.”

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Ferrari’s endless fiascoes mean something has to change

Ferrari was never really in contention for the win at Zandvoort after Verstappen managed to withstand the challenge of Leclerc and teammate Carlos Sainz at Turn 1. But the Italian team continued its unrelenting record of shooting itself in the foot at Turn 1. strategy to make things worse.

Early in the race, the Scuderia pit wall made a late call to bring Sainz in for new tires as he rounded the final corner, leaving the mechanics without enough time to get the wheels out, meaning Sainz sat on his box for more than 12 seconds as the Ferrari team scrambled to fit the full set of new tyres.

With his race already ruined, the Spaniard was later handed a five-second penalty for an unsafe exit from his pit box, leaving him in eighth place at the end.

Ferrari have made big mistakes on their pit wall almost every weekend this season, and things aren’t looking up. A significant change of some kind needs to be made to protect the team from itself at this stage.

Dutch Grand Prix F1 2022 Result

  1. Max Verstappen – Red Bull – 1:36:42.773
  2. George Russell – Mercedes – +4,071
  3. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari – +10,929
  4. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes – +13,016
  5. Sergio Perez – Red Bull – +18,168
  6. Fernando Alonso – Alpine – +18,754
  7. Lando Norris – McLaren – +19,306
  8. Carlos Sainz – Ferrari – +20,916
  9. Esteban Ocon – Alpine – +21,117
  10. Lance Walk – Aston Martin – +22,459
  11. Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri – +27,009
  12. Alex Albon–Williams – +30,390
  13. Mick Schumacher – Haas – +32,995
  14. Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin – +36,007
  15. Kevin Magnussen – Haas – +36,869
  16. Zhou Guanyu – Alfa Romeo – +37,320
  17. Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren – +37,764
  18. Nicholas Latifi – Williams – +1 lap
  19. Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo – +1 lap
  20. (DNF) Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri

Red Bull strategists are imperious

While Ferrari and Mercedes made mistakes all around them, Red Bull was perfect in strategy, ensuring they won the race on a weekend where their car wasn’t necessarily much faster than their rivals.

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The Milton Keynes-based team is going to win both championships mainly because they have produced the best car of the year and own the fastest racing driver in the world. But the precision of their strategy has been spot on for the vast majority of the season, and any team that makes few mistakes will always function more efficiently than those that make many.

Therefore, much of the credit for this win and the campaign as a whole must go to lead strategist Hannah Schmitz, who seemingly always gets the big decisions right.

Hannah Schmitz is one of the most important members of the Red Bull team (Photo: Getty)

FIA should act faster on safety car calls

The late safety car that changed the end of the race came when Valtteri Bottas’ Alfa Romeo broke down at the end of the pit straight before Turn 1, the car left lying on the circuit with its driver unable to get it out of track. road.

For whatever reason, it was a full lap of racing before the FIA ​​race director team stepped in to bring out the safety car, although one was evidently needed from the moment Bottas parked in the middle of a high-speed section of track.

F1 Driver Ranking 2022

  1. Max Verstappen-309
  2. Charles Leclerc-201
  3. Sergio Perez – 201
  4. George Russell-188
  5. Carlos Sainz-175
  6. Lewis Hamilton-158
  7. Lando Norris-82
  8. Esteban Ocon – 66
  9. Fernando Alonso – 59
  10. Valtteri Bottas – 46
  11. Kevin Magnussen – 22
  12. Sebastian Vettel – 20
  13. Daniel Ricciardo- 19
  14. Pierre Gasly – 18
  15. Mick Schumacher-12
  16. Yuki Tsunoda-11
  17. Zhou Guanyu – 5
  18. Spear Walk – 5
  19. Alex Albon – 4
  20. Nicholas Latifi – 0
  21. Nico Hulkenberg – 0

Previously there was a similarly slow reaction when Yuki Tsunoda broke down, and it was a long time before the virtual safety car neutralized the race.

The delays were unusual considering both incidents clearly required intervention and would be best avoided in future races.

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