Dutch GP FP1 Report: Hamilton Leads Ahead of Home-Hero Verstappen After Vettel’s Fire Delay

Published 09/03/2021, 6:33 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Dutch Grand Prix – Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands – September 3, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during practice REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Lewis Hamilton managed to gain immense advantage out of Sebastian Vettel’s misery to go P1 over FP1 at the Dutch GP. Behind the Briton arrived the F1 home hero, Max Verstappen, with Carlos Sainz closing out the top 3.


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The session had no running for over 25 minutes after Vettel’s stranded car caused a load of issues. A failure with the battery indicator pushed Aston Martin and the race control to enforce the required procedures before removing the car off the track.

Verstappen looked the fastest of all on hard tires. However, the late-running on soft tires mixed up the timesheets entirely, with mid-field cars creeping their way to the top of the table.


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How the F1 session unfolded at Dutch GP

Ferrari duo, Leclerc and Sainz, were the first set of drivers to join the track, as the lights went green. But, soon, there were cars everywhere, with drivers yearning to get some runs on the revamped Zandvoort circuit.

Hence, most of the drivers were sporting either medium or hard tires and were pushing for a handful of flying laps. 15 minutes into the session, Verstappen was leading the session with a 1:12:755, ahead of Bottas and Hamilton.

Formula One F1 – Dutch Grand Prix – Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands – September 3, 2021 General view of fans during practice REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

But, moments after Norris posted the fastest lap of the session, Vettel brought out the red flags after parking his car around the inside of turn 1 exit. There was also a significant amount of oil leak on the track, forcing the marshals to get to work. Hence, the stewards had to halt the session.

With just 6 minutes left on the clock, the lights went green again, and there was a train of cars at the end of the pit lane. On soft tires, the entire grid opted for a qualifying run.

Spins and crashes over FP1 at Dutch GP

Hardly minutes into the session, Tsunoda, on the C5 hard tires, spun around turn 10 after losing the rear. Soon, the Hungarian GP winner, Ocon, ran into the run-off area around turn 12, likely due to cold tires.

Formula One F1 – Dutch Grand Prix – Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands – September 3, 2021 Alpine’s Esteban Ocon in action during practice REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw

7 minutes into the session, Vettel had to return to the garage citing an MGU-K failure. The German did manage to pop out of the garage but hardly completed a lap, as an engine failure forced Vettel to park his Aston Martin, yards away from the pit lane.

The Vettel issue gets worse

Despite officially retiring from the session, Vettel remained reluctant against walking away back to the garage. Instead, the Red Bull world champion transitioned into a marshal and got himself busy extinguishing the smoking engine at the back.

Vettel advised the marshals not to go anywhere near the car. Consequently, over 10 marshals were around the car, and none of them received the approval to retrieve the car. Minutes later, a set of the crew from Aston Martin arrived on the scene.


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One of them was wearing a Fluorescent Green suit which looked rubberized, and placed a rubber mat all over the car, and used a voltmeter to make sure the Aston Martin wasn’t live that could cause electrocution.

Apparently, the battery indicating light wasn’t working, which left the crew blindsided over whether the battery was still over-heating.


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Overall, there are bright prospects for yet another Mercedes-Red Bull battling on the grounds of the Netherlands. Hence, after an interesting FP1, can the Mercedes duo bounce back in FP2 and scrap the advantage of Verstappen? We’ll know soon enough.

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Rohit Kumar

1157 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.