It has been just five days since the Belgian battle and the Dutch F1 GP 2022 is already here. This upcoming weekend (September 2-4), The Zandvoort Circuit will host the fifteenth round of a Championship that is almost decided. The great superiority Red Bull and Max Verstappen exhibited in Spa after the summer break has left them with no real rivals for the crown.
Proof of their strength is their astounding, record-breaking comeback at the Belgian event. The Dutchman started in fourteenth place at the Ardennes and gobbled up each and every single rival that crossed his path, claiming his ninth win of the season after Saudi Arabia, Emilia-Romagna, Miami, Spain, Azerbaijan, Canada , France & Hungary.
The blow to Ferrari was particularly painful as the latter find themselves powerless and disconcerted before the Dutch hurricane.
The Italians tried everything to stop him, but it was in vain. The general feeling is that Verstappen is now unstoppable. Only bad luck or a mistake, which they have committed none this season, could keep them from their tenth win of the year, fourth in a row.
Verstappen: The absolute favourite
Thanks to his spectacular performances, the current champion dominates the standings with 93 points more than his teammate Checo Pérez and 98 over Charles Leclerc, now third. As if this wasn’t enough, the whole Dutch racetrack will kneel to the feet of its hero.
The faithful ‘orange army‘ of fans will create the atmosphere to support its champion. His fans will be thrilled to cheer the new absolute monarch of Formula One on, so he repeats his triumph of 2021 when the Dutch track returned to the World Championship after an almost four-decade-long absence (1986).
In theory, the twisty layout of the Zandvoort Circuit (high downforce) is not ideal for the RB18, but the technical superiority of the #33 is above any technical consideration.
If Max defeated the Mercedes at his home-race debut in 2021 despite the equality between the two teams, on this second visit he is the unquestionable favourite.
Will Red Bull take its fifth 1-2 of the season? In order to do so, a downcast Pérez – he finished more than 17 seconds behind Verstappen in Spa despite starting thirteen places ahead – will have to find his strength again.
The Mexican driver seems frustrated despite having ousted Leclerc from second place in the standings (191 against 186 points). He is no match for his teammate.
At least he can take comfort in the good work he has been doing for his team, stealing valuable points from Ferrari in the battle for the team crown, which they lead by 118 points.
Ferrari: Standing its ground against Mercedes
Having accepted its inferiority to Red Bull, Ferrari no longer looks ahead, but behind. Following Mercedes’ performance leap, its second place in the constructors’ standings is in jeopardy. Its new, joyless goal is to defend that position.
Also exciting is the fight for leadership within La Scuderia. Its drivers, currently a mere fifteen points apart, are now going through two very different moments. Following his seventh campaign podium at Spa, it is clear that Carlos Sainz (171 points), who turned 28 yo on last Friday, is now perfectly comfortable with the F1-75. The Spaniard has left his bad start to the year behind and as a result, has taken fourth place in the standings back from George Russel (170 units).
Charles Leclerc (186 points), on the other hand, is still to turn a corner. Since his victory in Austria, he has not climbed the podium again. It seems that the young Monegasque’s luck has run out.
In Belgium, Verstappen’s visor protector ruined his race and he had to endure a penalty for speeding into the pit lane hoping to take the fastest lap. Now he is down to sixth place in the standings.
Images of Dutch F1 GP 2022: Formula One.com.