Dutch GP Predictions: Orange Forecast of Verstappen Victory and McLaren Mastery

Published 09/01/2021, 10:58 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 3, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after qualifying in pole position with McLaren’s Lando Norris Pool via REUTERS/Christian Bruna


It’s been almost four weeks of proper racing since the dramatic Hungarian GP. Since then, we’ve seen Esteban Ocon win the race, Sebastian Vettel get disqualified, and a Williams out-qualify Mercedes. It seems like anything is possible at this point in the game. With a new track for most drivers at the Dutch GP, will it make the competition more interesting?

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A lot has changed since we last met the grid; but will the Dutch GP bring back the Verstappen- Hamilton normalcy or will the podium surprise us once again?

Verstappen impedes Hamilton’s 100th victory

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Max Verstappen’s Red Bull showed its usual incredible pace in Hungary while the W12 faltered. Albeit the track conditions are different, Verstappen has been consistently on top of the timesheets for a majority of the season.

Additionally, Verstappen has a sea of orange in the grandstands supporting him. The psychological aspect of the championship battle coming, the support from the fans will, undoubtedly, act as a boost for the Dutchman.

Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – June 27, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during the race Pool via REUTERS/Darko Vojinovic

Max has also lapped the circuit last year after the renovations made. He’s also had a taste of victory at Zandvoort in the famous F3 Masters race. Max may have the upper hand in this race; Hamilton would have to wait to hit his milestone.

On the other hand, Red Bull has been having terrible luck. The team has been involved in so many incidents since Silverstone. Max’s crash with Lewis, Bottas‘ wipeout in Hungary, and then Perez’s collision in Hungary.

Will the Orange Army help break the streak?

So far, the accidents have been keeping them from victory and the crucial points. A smooth run at Zandvoort will help the team get back to the top of the boards.

McLaren reign triumphant in mid-field battle

Looking at the qualifying performance in Hungary, it looks like McLaren will take the cake in the Netherlands. Lando Norris is as competitive as ever, with some podium-worthy racing recently. If not for the crash at Eau Rogue, Norris would’ve been fighting for pole position. Additionally, Daniel Ricciardo has shown improvement with the MCL35M, placing a season-best P4 in Spa.

Formula One F1 – Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium – August 28, 2021 McLaren’s Lando Norris during qualifying REUTERS/Johanna Geron

Nonetheless, Ferrari aren’t fully out of the picture. The Scuderia’s performance has been a series of peaks and troughs. Where the drivers perform consistently well, the car cannot push through. After a disappointing round in Spa, the race in Zandvoort could be a pick-up for the team.

McLaren shows the better pace, but the drivers in red are relentless in their fight for the points. Will McLaren increase the gap to Ferrari, securing a comfortable P3 after Zandvoort?

Formula One F1 – Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium – August 27, 2021 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during practice REUTERS/Johanna Gero

Other than the orange vs red, one mustn’t forget Alpine. With a new race winner and a double world champion, the French team has the potential to mix things up.

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Sunday showers at the Dutch GP

The forecast is of rains, but not heavy downpours. Having just the right amount of rain to make the race challenging, teams may have to keep the slicks aside. If the rain makes an appearance, things will surely change. Russell and Norris showed their skills on the wet tracks of Spa; the one in Zandvoort, nothing in comparison.

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However, it’s Formula 1. A turn 1 bowling incident, a slow pitstop, or the FIA – anything can get in the way, causing a shift in the race at any time.

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Shreya Sanjeev

361 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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