Verstappen Dominates Against Mercedes F1 as FP2 Misery Continues to Haunt Hamilton

Published 09/04/2021, 7:00 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/Piroschka Van De Wouw


Homeboy, Max Verstappen, managed to sustain his advantage over the Mercedes duo by leading the final practice session at Dutch GP. Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton’s lack of running in FP2 came back to haunt him, as the Briton looked almost off-color throughout the F1 session.

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Nevertheless, unlike the past, Verstappen and Hamilton aren’t the only front-runners for pole at Zandvoort, as mid-field teams including Ferrari and Alpine are certainly up there as well.

Another interesting factor to look forward to is the red flag. Every single session of the ongoing race weekend including FP3 has seen at least a red flag. And the trend could well continue, going into Saturday’s qualifying session too.

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How the F1 session unfolded

Unsurprisingly, Kubica was the first driver to join the track, having replaced COVID-stricken Raikkonen hardly hours prior to the session. The Pole’s first-ever lap of the weekend ended up being a 1:15:854 on a set of soft tires.

Formula One F1 – Dutch Grand Prix – Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands – September 4, 2021 Alfa Romeo’s Robert Kubica during practice REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Moments later, Hamilton clocked a 1:12:010, consequently slotting himself into P1. But, it was indeed a scrappy lap, running deeper into a couple of corners including turn 12 and kicking up the mud. Eventually, 20 minutes into the session, Fernando Alonso came up with a 1:11:705 to rise up as the fastest ahead of the Ferrari duo.

Then arrived the red flags caused by Sainz’s high-speed crash around the entry into turn 3. After a 10-minute delay, the session did restart, and Verstappen finally managed to get his first FP3 lap on the board.

Formula One F1 – Dutch Grand Prix – Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands – September 4, 2021 Alpine’s Esteban Ocon during practice REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

The Dutchman was initially 0.008s slower than the provisional leader, Bottas. However, on the second flying lap, Verstappen managed to pull off a 1:10:702 to go fastest despite the tire disadvantage to the Finn.

Soft tire run – Qualifying sim

Verstappen posted a blinding lap on the soft tires – 1:09:623. The lap time was over half-a-second slower than second-placed Bottas. Behind the duo was Hamilton, who ended up 0.8s off the pace of the Dutchman. Perez, despite being almost a second slower than his teammate claimed P4.

Formula One F1 – Dutch Grand Prix – Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands – September 4, 2021 Alpine’s Esteban Ocon during practice REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw

Then arrived the mid-field cars of Alonso, Norris, Stroll, Vettel, Leclerc, and Gasly. But, the difference was just over 0.5s between Alonso in P5 and Giovinazzi in P15.

Interruptions during FP3 at Dutch GP

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Sainz brought out the red flags 22 minutes into the session. The Spaniard ended up losing the rear, going into the banked turn 3 and ended up slamming his Ferrari into the barriers.

Formula One F1 – Dutch Grand Prix – Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands – September 4, 2021 Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. during practice REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw

There were significant damages to the front and the rear of the car, including a potential blow to the chassis, gearbox, and power unit as well. Hence, the Ferrari mechanics have a massive job at hand of fixing the car back into one piece.

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Overall, there end the practice runs, and now the focus shifts onto the qualifying session, which is due in less than a couple of hours. So, who is going to claim that crucial pole position, later in the afternoon at Zandvoort?

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Rohit Kumar

1168 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.

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