F1: 5 Takeaways from the Dutch Grand Prix

F1 Grand Prix of The Netherlands - Dutch Grand Prix
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Max Verstappen makes history with four consecutive victories at the Dutch Grand Prix, more Ferrari errors, and a near Mercedes victory.

The second race of the triple-header took place on a Sunday afternoon at the Circuit Zandvoort for the Dutch Grand Prix. The curvy turns and high banking brought along a busy day for pit crews and team strategists with plenty of stops. Mercedes came very close to securing their first win of the season. In the end, the last four races have seen no change on the top step of the podium.

1 – Verstappen is a man amongst men

The reigning World Champion delivered yet again with his fourth consecutive victory on Sunday. Entering him with an elite group of previous drivers who’ve achieved four straight victories. Every race weekend, Max Verstappen seems to become more difficult to outpace. He is simply at a different level than every driver on the grid at the moment. And in the most dominant car. Any issue that seems to come his way (like the gearbox failure in FP1), his maturity, and composure allow him to brush them aside.

At the rate Verstappen is going at now, he can wrap up the title in two races at Singapore. He needs a point-gap of 138 points to be crowned champion. This title defense couldn’t have gone more perfect for Verstappen.

2 – Mercedes are closer to their first win

As the season progresses, Mercedes’ confidence continues to take a step forward in the right direction. After not bringing in Hamilton for the soft tires during the safety car, Mercedes were well in contention for the race win. Their tire strategy gave them a great opportunity. Especially going onto the hard tire. Their pace was faster than the leaders. Multiple fastest laps were set by Hamilton as took the lead of the race, a rare feat this season. His teammate, George Russell, has been delivering all year, consistently finishing in the top five and landing multiple podiums.

Despite not getting the win, Russell managed a season-best second-place finish. Hamilton came in fourth due to some unlucky turn of events that left him stranded on older, and slower, tires. Seven races remain in the season, and the chances of the team’s first win are approaching. Mercedes has outscored Ferrari in three of the last four races and trails, Ferrari, by just thirty points for second in the Constructors Championship. The back end of the year will be crucial for Mercedes as they continue their push to get back to the top of the pecking order. It is only a matter of time until the Silver Arrows will return to the top step of the podium.

3 – Another race, another Ferrari blunder

At this rate, it has become a routine where fans are anticipating when Ferrari will make an error. This time around, Carlos Sainz, was the unfortunate one who fell victim to a Ferrari blunder. A standard pitstop went sideways when the team only had three tires ready. The mistake cost him a total of twelve seconds. Ferrari fans are probably becoming numb to these issues by now. A season that looked promising at the start, has now turned into a season to forget.

All these costly mistakes throughout the year have put Ferrari in a tough place. They are miles off the Drivers and Constructors titles, and they are in danger to be overtaken by Mercedes for second place. There is still time for Ferrari to make adjustments this season to secure second. But with the error streak they are currently on, it doesn’t seem that will be the case. The mistakes are taking the focus away from the on-track progress since last year.

4 – Pitlane frenzy

While the drivers concentrated on their race, their pit crews had a busy time of their own. A remarkable seventy-two pit stops were completed during the Dutch Grand Prix. Normally, a race will have one or two-stop strategies. Besides the drivers who retired from the race, eleven drivers made four pit stops during the Grand Prix. One driver made five.

Whenever there are more than the usual amount of pit stops going on, it adds another element to the race. Team strategist’s trying to make the best decision and react to change events, especially towards the end of the race. In the past, races have been decided by a pit stop. More pitstops and more strategic points in the race leads to increased drama for the fans.

5 – Alfa Romeo’s struggles continue

Alfa Romeo have now made it six races in a row without scoring any points. Drivers Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou have found life difficult trying to rediscover any pace in this car. Bottas had a mechanical failure that sees him having retired for the second straight race. Zhou had a straining afternoon spending most of the race in the back end of the grid.

Their lack of points placed another dent in their fight to hold on to sixth in the constructors. It’s quite a head-scratcher watching a team perform so well early in the season. Bottas is on a long-term deal. But for Zhou, he faces a tough dilemma of not having confirmed his seat for the 2023 season. The rookie will be hoping for a Monza bounceback.

Championship Standings

With another victory at the hands of the “Flying Dutchman,” he extends his lead in the standings over Charles Leclerc and teammate Sergio Perez.

  1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing – 310 points
  2. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari – 201 points
  3. Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing – 201 points
  4. George Russell, Mercedes – 188 points
  5. Carlos Sainz, Ferrari – 175 points

Next Race

  • Italian Grand Prix
  • Sunday, September 11th – 9:00 A.M. EST on ESPN
  • Autodromo Nazionale Monza – Monza, Italy
  • 2021 Winner: Daniel Ricciardo
Featured Image Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images