2021 Dutch GP: Super Max Rules Zandvoort!

The 2021 Dutch GP was not a terribly exciting affair, with strategy games being the only exciting thing to happen during the race. Sure, there were a few overtakes into Turn 1, some better than others, but overall it was quite alright, not too exciting.

Image Credits: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/article.verstappen-sends-home-fans-wild-with-victory-over-hamilton-in-the-dutch.5x4cEJF9B4DaIz2H6dVQrd.html

Max won, followed by Lewis who got the fastest lap, and Valtteri who was just “playing around”. Pierre drove very well, and so did Perez, who both had stellar drives to get good results. I’ll recap this race in a different manner as well, do let me know which format you like more!

The happenings Of The Race

I’ll admit, lap 1 had me quite excited, for there were a few lockups, everyone was very closely bunched together, and it seemed like we might see drivers bump into one another. It became clear at the end of Lap 1 though, that Max was well and truly in the clear.

Max was absolutely flying at the start

After that, we saw Sergio struggle to get past Mazepin of all people. The Mexican, who started from the pitlane locked up massively and flat-spotted his hard tyres, not the way he wanted his strategy to go. He had to box and change onto the mediums.

Checo was just trying too hard, too quick

It was quite fun to see Sergio charge up the field from his lowly position, and it was the only source of entertainment until the pitstop phase. Pierre, meanwhile was making moves, and he beautifully overtook Fernando around the outside at Turn 1.

Pierre made an amazing overtake on Fernando after his pitstop

Lewis pitted on Lap 21, and Max pitted on Lap 22 to cover him. It worked alright, though he still had to get past the obedient wingman Bottas, who did a magnificent job of holding Max up, and then letting Lewis past immediately.

Valtteri held Max up very well, which lost Max over 3 seconds to Lewis in a single lap

Seb then had a half-spin at the Turn 3 banking, which also saw Bottas having to take evasive action to avoid crashing into Seb!

Seb’s spin was a disaster for him and for Aston

Mazepin retired, and soon Tsunoda also followed suit. The race pretty much stagnated from there on, until a sudden decision by Mercedes to pit Lewis in a bid to jump Max. Lewis was put onto a used set of mediums, and Red Bull immediately bit the bullet and boxed Max onto a fresh set of hards. This time though, Valtteri was nowhere pace-wise, and Lewis got stuck in traffic as well, which ensured that Max emerged in clear air, and stayed ahead of Lewis.

Mercedes took a gamble….
…but Red Bull weren’t founded yesterday!

At the end, both Mercs were instructed to pit, and Valtteri was told to abort his attempt so as to ensure that Lewis got the extra point. He aborted his fastest lap attempt just before the line, but still got the fastest lap, so the team were forced to pit Lewis again to ensure the extra point.

Valtteri’s “playing around” showed a statement of intent by the Finn to the team.

Max won the race comfortably from Lewis, though further down the order the excitement was still going on.

Max had a commanding lead, and won by a mile.

Alonso overtook Sainz on the very last lap, a champion’s maneouvre. Perez also cut through the field well, and finished a very respectable 8th after starting 19th, from the pitlane, though a late-race skirmish with Norris nearly ended in tears for both!

Fernando displayed some of that amazing racecraft and overtaking bravery he’s known for
Lando and Sergio had a moment on Sunday.

Now, let’s look at each of the drivers in detail!

the Drivers: Who did What?

(P1) Max Verstappen:

Flawless drive from lights to flag, both him and the team reacted quickly and well to achieve what was a “simply, simply lovleh” result! (9.5/10)

(P2) Lewis Hamilton:

Strategic gamble by the team failed to pay off, though he did seem at time like a candidate for the win. (8.5/10)

(P3) Valtteri Bottas:

Was well off the pace of the leaders, driving his own little race, though did manage to hold up Max and let Lewis by easy, but not without giving the team a bit of a headache. (7.5/10)

(P4) Pierre Gasly:

Beautiful drive by the Frenchman, drove a boring but very well managed race. Absolute best of the rest! (9.5/10)

(P5) Charles Leclerc:

A very good drive by the Monegasque, though better strategy calls could’ve gotten him P4. (8.5/10)

(P6) Fernando Alonso:

The Spaniard displayed immense fighting spirit, holding off attacks from teammate Ocon early on in the race and also closing in on and passing Sainz on the last lap, a splendid drive! (8.5/10)

(P7) Carlos Sainz:

El Matador drove a decent race, though lost P6 on the last lap to Alonso. He also fell back from teammate Leclerc deep into the race, could’ve done a bit better. (8/10)

(P8) Sergio Perez:

The Gualdalajara local had a up and down race, as though he had a strong comeback, his qualifying left far too much to be desired, and he got a bit impatient at the start of the race, which somewhat ruined his chances. (7.5/10)

(P9) Esteban Ocon:

The Frenchman could’ve had a much better race, had he not battled as hard as he did with Alonso in the initial stages of the race. (7/10)

(P10) Lando Norris:

For the first time this year, Lando failed to make Q3. It bit him in the race, as he could only muster up 1 singular point, with 10th. (7/10)

(P11) Daniel Ricciardo:

Though Daniel got into Q3, he fell back in the race, though towards the end of the race his pace was quite good compared to Lando, though he will surely want to do better. (7/10)

(P12) Lance Stroll:

Lance was mostly invisible all thoughout, as he was stuck behind Russell for most of the race, despite being in a much faster car. Agreed, passing is difficult, but others could overtake, why couldn’t he? (6.5/10)

(P13) Sebastian Vettel:

Seb had an alright race up until he spun. From there, he did recover well, though he and the team lost an opportunity for points. (6.5/10)

(P14) Antonio Giovinazzi:

Antonio’s weekend was up and down, with all the effort of a stellar qualifying being undone due to a puncture, which cost him a shot at points. (7/10)

(P15) Robert Kubica:

Considering he was expecting to be chilling and watching the race on Sunday from the living room, to finish P15 was a great achievement in itself, and he will be hoping to do better at Monza, as he will be filling in for a Covid-infected Kimi for the second weekend in a row! (7/10)

(P16) Nicholas Latifi:

Nicky did pull off a stellar move around the outside of Mazepin, though for the rest of the race the car and he were nowhere in terms of disturbing the other teams. (6.5/10)

(DNF) George Russell:

George did run in 11th for a while, though he was called into the box late to retire with a suspected mechanical issue. He still managed to finish ahead of Mick, though it was a far cry from his podium in Belgium. (7.5/10)

(P18) Mick Schumacher:

Mick was arguably driving the worst car on the grid, and he understandably struggled, being over a lap behind the next car at some times. (6/10)

(DNF) Yuki Tsunoda:

Yuki, like Lance was invisible for the duration of the race, only getting airtime when he pulled into his box to retire. (6.5/10)

(DNF) Nikita Mazepin:

Mazepin didn’t exactly treat his teammate well at the start of the race, pushing him into the pit wall and nearly ending Mick’s race then and there, the German managing to escape with front wing damage. He retired later on, capping off a miserable weekend. (6/10)

Who Shone, Who Sunk?

Who Shone: Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly were my standout drivers for this race. Both drove fantastically, with Max lapping everyone up to P3, and Pierre driving stupendously to finish in P4, ahead of the fast-charging Ferrari of Leclerc!

Who Sunk: Nikita Mazepin and the Haas team sunk in my opinion. They just seem to have given up on the sport entirely, and are just showing up for the sake of it now. They really need to up their game!

The next race is my personal favourite, as a Ferrari fan. In my best Italian accent, “its-a-Monza”! Though last year doesn’t spark joy when i think of Ferrari’s result, every year is different, and I just hope this year will give us a good race like last year did! Fingers crossed, we see a good result from Ferrari πŸ™‚

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