Seven things we learned from the Dutch GP
Rain spiced up the action, but there was only ever going to be one outcome…
Verstappen is a record-breaker
Well technically he’s a record-matcher, but that doesn’t sound as catchy does it? Max Verstappen’s ninth victory in a row in Zandvoort equalled the benchmark set by Sebastian Vettel a decade ago, and he’ll have a shot at being the first to hit double digits this weekend in Monza.
It wasn’t as straightforward as the Dutchman would’ve liked in front of his home fans: the rain bucketing down on the first lap and delaying a stop for intermediate tyres dropping Verstappen down the order.
But despite the conditions he scythed through the field with breathtaking ease, eventually reclaiming the lead after pitting for dry tyres before teammate Sergio Perez had had the chance to. “Did Max undercut us?” asked the disgruntled Mexican on the team radio. Yes Checo, and it didn’t make a blind bit of difference.
More rain, a red flag and a damp rolling start later, and win #46 was in the bag. That title advantage now stands at 138 points…Advertisement - Page continues below
Alonso is a record-breaker
Another one to add to the collection for the Spaniard: Fernando Alonso’s podium in the Dutch Grand Prix means he now holds the record for the longest time between first and last F1 top-three finishes, having first stepped on the podium with Renault in Malaysia in… March 2003.
The 7,462 days between those races takes the record from Michael Schumacher, whose first and last appearances on the podium in Mexico in 1992 and Valencia in 2012 were 7,399 days apart.
Alonso earned it too: starting fifth on the grid, the 42-year-old burst past Alex Albon and George Russell on the opening lap, and then stayed close enough to the Red Bull of Sergio Perez to pounce when the Mexican went off the track in the latter stages.
His reward? Massive egg cup. Looks pleased about it, huh?
Pierre Gasly is an agent of chaos
Or perhaps just a loyal customer. Every time he ends up on the podium all hell seems to have broken loose behind him: his maiden podium in Brazil was carnage, as was his win in Italy in 2020.
The Frenchman certainly answered a few critics with his performance in the Netherlands. Starting P12, Gasly was one of the first to pit for intermediate tyres and it propelled him up into third, and although he couldn’t live with the pace of the Red Bulls or the Aston of Fernando Alonso, he was able to keep the Ferraris at bay and even a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane couldn’t derail his afternoon.
Finishing P4 on the road, Gasly was promoted to the podium on account of Perez’s penalty for exactly the same offence. Cue much shouting on the radio.Advertisement - Page continues below
Albon is a tyre whisperer
Arguably the driver of the weekend, Alex Albon excelled again for Williams as the Thai driver stuck the car on the second row of the grid in qualifying. He then proceeded to work all kinds of magic with his slick tyres, first getting through the initial downpour without swapping for inters, then making them last more than 40 laps to set the team up for a points finish.
That run included some tasty overtaking too, not least his pass on Carlos Sainz on the opening lap after the Ferrari driver had got ahead seconds earlier.
He eventually finished eighth, meaning Williams is now seventh in the constructors’ standings despite Logan Sargeant failing to record a top-10 finish thus far.
Ferrari made a mess of it
To be fair, we write that every week. And we’ll stop when it ceases to be true. This time both team and drivers were guilty of errors: Leclerc ended up in the wall in qualifying, and then on the first lap of the race he pitted for inters when the team wasn’t ready for him. Hence the comical scenes of the Monagasque sat there in the pit lane with mechanics rushing to get fresh rubber fitted. Oops.
To make matters worse, contact with McLaren’s Oscar Piastri meant Leclerc needed a new front wing - which he only got on his second stop - and it later transpired that the Ferrari had picked up more damage than initially thought, and so the car was retired halfway through the race.
At least Carlos Sainz managed to bring home some points, bravely fending off Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages to take the chequered flag in P5.
Mercedes also got it wrong
The Silver Arrows also had a weekend to forget in Zandvoort, with Hamilton knocked out in Q2 and George Russell’s promising second-row start squandered as the team stubbornly refused to bring its drivers in for wet weather tyres until most of the field had leapt ahead.
That meant Hamilton and Russell were in damage limitation mode for the rest of the afternoon, and although the former recovered to sixth, the latter finished out of the points after innocuous contact with Lando Norris at the red flag restart pushed him down to last place.
“I was forecast a podium,” bemoaned Russell on the radio. “How did we mess this up?”
Liam Lawson was chucked into the deep end and survived
How much more difficult could an F1 debut be? Liam Lawson found out he’d be replacing the injured Daniel Ricciardo the day before qualifying, giving the New Zealander just an hour-long practice session in which to get up to speed. Throw in the treacherous weather and the fact that Zandvoort is one of the easiest tracks on the calendar to arrange a surprise embrace with the barriers, and you’ve got one hell of a tall order.
Lawson was up to the challenge. The 21-year-old kept a cool head amid the chaos to bring his AlphaTauri home in P13, a couple of places ahead of teammate Yuki Tsunoda who was hit with a penalty late on. Lawson will get another go at it in Monza this weekend as Ricciardo recovers from surgery…Advertisement - Page continues below