2023 Netherlands Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: We're very interested in seeing how Williams performs the rest of this season and how much it will shake up the midpack order.
EVENT: You make the call. Who produces the most enthusiastic, loudest, wackiest atmosphere? The Orange Army at Zandvoort or the Tifosi at Monza or the Brazilian Samba at Interlagos?
TRACK: This is one of those tracks which can only be truly appreciated in person. But some of the camera angles did give you a hint of how fantastic it is.
QUALIFYING: Once again Verstappen pulls out an amazing final lap, Norris again is the best of the rest, Sargeant finally makes Q3 and then promptly smashes the car up, Hamilton is off pace, Albon and Williams are the feel good story, and six different teams start in the top six.
RACE: Sure, same victor. No surprise. But the chaotic Dutch weather made it fun. Especially for the (most likely drunk) spectators.
START: Puffs of lockup smoke throughout the field, Verstappen doesn't give Norris a hint of a chance, Alonso is strong off the line. Then, the rain came with havoc in the pit lane and Leclerc making a last minute decision which sends his crew into a Keystone Cops routine.
VERSTAPPEN: No matter how good you and your car is, in those conditions, it is not easy. But Max handled the situation with aplomb.
PEREZ: One point three seconds off Max's pace in qualifying. Four seconds slower than Max when both were on intermediates. Maybe Helmut Marko was telling the truth...
RED BULL: Just nine races left for the unprecedented.
ALONSO: Hey, welcome back to the podium, Fernando. Was this circumstances or is Aston Martin back?
STROLL: Amazing Lance actually finished 11th, because he was nowhere all weekend and in the race.
GASLY: The team strategy put him in the spot. But Pierre's excellent driving brought the podium home.
OCON: Bad luck over the weekend, but salveged a double points performance for Alpine.
ALPINE: Every time you think the French outfit is down and out, they bounce back. Which probably means they will have a crappy weekend in Italy.
HAMILTON: A scratch your head weekend for Lewis.
RUSSELL: From a potential podium spot to back of the field to a potential podium spot to back of the field.
NORRIS: One of the many caught out by strategy errors in a very tough race to call strategy.
ALBON: Another exceptional weekend.
WILLIAMS: Perhaps we should stop looking at them as a one-trick pony. Though, next week they will definitely be that one-trick pony.
LAWSON: Talk about being thrown into the fire. It's bad enough having to step in after the weekend is underway. It's even worse having to do so in a car you never drove. Then, compound that by the wet-dry-wet-dry-wet-dry conditions in every session he ran. Yet, Liam handled it as well as anyone could.
RICCIARDO: A tough break (okay, sorry for the lousy pun) just as Daniel is trying to make a comeback. Now, he has to start all over again, but with the added pressure of knowing the team is getting a good luck at the possible option.
ZHOU: Deserved a lot better. But lucky to walk away from such a high impact crash. Those Tecpro barriers are truly amazing.
LECLERC: When you get passed by the guy in his first race in the worse car, it's time to retire citing floor damage.
SARGEANT: A great weekend speed wise. Not so great keeping the car on the track.
F2: After the sprint race was effectively cancelled with one-and-a-half laps of safety car running resulting in no points distributed, the feature race was a wild affair. It started with fourth in points, Jack Doohan, spinning out on the first lap. Then, the points leader, Theo Pourchaire, crashed out. Next, second in points Frederik Vesti lost both (yes, BOTH) his rear wheels after a pit stop. Finally, third in the standings, Ayumu Iwasa, finished out of the points. This all led to Frenchman Clement Novalak winning from a 13th starting position, his first F2 victory and only his second 2023 point scoring race, and nothing changing in the standings.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Dancing.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 186 -- The number of passes in the race, beating the unofficial record of 170 from the 2016 Chinese GP. There were 63 alone on the third lap. But, let's face it, this was all mostly due to the sudden weather changes and the offset decisions to switch tires.
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: The 1975 Dutch GP saw the first Japanese driver enter an F1 race. But he didn't race. Hiroshi Fushida failed to qualify, running an astounding 9+ seconds slower than the last qualified entry. He tried one more time at the British GP, this time being just under four seconds too slow for the last spot. He drove for a team called Maki Engineering which used Ford engines. They were a story of futility, entering eight F1 races over three years, with four different drivers, but never starting one.
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: From @RBR_Daily:
LIAM LAWSON P13 WHAT A JOB
He just had 1 FP to prepare for a very technical race and in very tough weather conditions and he has managed to finish ahead of Yuki
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: When the rain returned near the end, Max Verstappen was hesitate to switch to intermediates, bypassing the pits the first time. On the ensuing lap, his race engineer, GP, said with a calm yet with just the right inflexion of urgency, "This will be a very good time to pit." The translation was quite obvious: GET THE HELL IN RIGHT NOW!!
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: Fernando Alonso admitted afterwards having a bit of trepidation in wanting to pass Verstappen at the end for a possible win at Zandvoort, "I did think about trying a move in the last restart but then I thought maybe I cannot exit the circuit." Who can blame him...?
SCHEDULE: From one wild fanbase to another one. But this one may not be as happy at the end.
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