It wasn’t the most exciting race of the season but it was nice that the race went on without a hitch after a disappointing weekend in Spa.
Max Verstappen didn’t let down the fans at his home track in Zandvoort and held P1 basically the entire race. The race was reminiscent of Max’s domination in Austria with Lewis Hamilton finishing 20.932s behind the Dutchman this time around.
Unfortunately, Sergio Perez didn’t get to enjoy the same kind of domination having to start in the pit lane after an engine change. Perez did manage to claw his way up the grid and finish in the points at P8. His efforts awarded him Driver of the Day but that’s maybe because he was the only driver to really put on a show this weekend.
Mercedes seemed to suffer from a poor strategy and couldn’t really bring the fight to Verstappen. “They [Red Bull] were on another level today that I genuinely couldn’t answer really to most of those laps,” said Hamilton. Both Mercedes finished on the podium with Hamilton in P2 and Bottas in P3.
The surprise this weekend was really Pierre Gasly in the AlphaTauri. An incredibly quick qualifying saw Gasly outpace the Ferrari’s who were looking like strong contenders over the weekend. Gasly earned a P4 and never let that position go. Charles Leclerc in P5 just couldn’t close the gap between the two.
Ferrari had a solid weekend. Had the McLarens performed better, it would have been a disappointing weekend for Ferrari but, luckily for them, both McLarens had lacklustre performances. Lando Norris only managed to grab one point and Ricciardo fell just short of points in P11. As a result, the Ferrari’s finishing at P5 and P7 earned them solid points that puts them 11.5 points ahead of the McLarens in the constructor’s.
Both drivers were somewhat disappointed with their position given they felt they had so much potential in Zandvoort. Leclerc stated that, “I’m happy with the pace, not completely happy with P5 because I think if we had done a better job yesterday in qualifying and I had put the lap together I think fourth place was definitely on the cards.”
Carlos Sainz was a little more frustrated, “Honestly I had zero pace in the car today. I didn’t feel at home with it compared to the rest of the weekend. For some reason I was very far away in terms of feeling.” It was unfortunate to see the Alpine of Fernando Alonso take P6 from Sainz right at the end there too. Regardless, it was a solid race for Ferrari.
It was amazing to see Antonio Giovinazzi provide Alfa Romeo’s best starting position in the hybrid turbo era with a P7. His seat is at risk so it was good to see Giovinazzi show that he has some pace hidden somewhere. However, he couldn’t manage to hold onto that P7 and quickly dropped out of the top ten. He finished at P14 which does put him ahead of his main competition, Williams and Haas, but alas, got no points to really make this weekend special for him.
Right at the back, there was some drama between the two rookie Haas drivers, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin. There was a disagreement during qualifying that saw Mazepin attempt an overtake of Schumacher causing havoc for Sebastian Vettel’s flying lap. Something similar occurred on lap one of the race with Mazepin going for an aggressive overtake on turn 8 pushing Schumacher off the track.
Schumacher said of the incident, “It just seems he’s got this thing in his head where he wants to, at any cost, be in front of me, and that’s okay, I have nothing against it. But I think if we go to the point where we defend very aggressively against a team mate where you don’t have anything to gain, then I think maybe that’s not the right approach. It doesn’t justify the fact that he pushes me in the wall, and basically pushes me to go into the pit lane.”
Mazepin said little to justify his actions, “I’m upset as well. My job’s to drive and I feel like I’m not driving enough the last few race weekends. Luckily I don’t feel at fault for it which is one thing to keep in your mind but I was having a good race, I had a very good opening lap.”
We’re in Monza next weekend, Sept. 10-12.