Five days after the ‘unusual’ Belgian GP at the Spa Circuit, cancelled by the adverse weather conditions, the World Championship is back in action this weekend (3-5 September). The Zandvoort Circuit, located 15 km from the capital Amsterdam, will host the Dutch F1 Grand Prix 2021 and thirteenth round of the season’s calendar.
After a 36-year absence from the sport, the Zandvoort Circuit is back for the 31st edition of the World Championship and its stands are expected to come alive in celebration, particularly now that Holland has a local hero of its own: Max Verstappen, winner in Emilia-Romagna, Monaco, France, Styria, Austria & Belgium.
The ‘orange army’ is sure to turn the whole venue that colour in support of its compatriot. The Red Bull racer will be on a mission to regain the lead. The Dutchman was given 12.5 points for his Belgian victory instead of the 25 that are usually awarded to the winner, the reason being that the race lasted less than 75% of its scheduled distance.
As a result, ‘Mad Max’ now has 202.5 points in the standings, three less than Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), who was third in the Wallonian ‘no race’.
The national idol will therefore be aiming to regain the World Championship lead he lost to Hamilton for the second time before the summer break in Hungary, after having lost it once already five races earlier in Monaco. In the Constructor Standings the Austrian team remains second, seven points behind Mercedes. The war is on!
Mercedes: To defend their lead in hostile territory
Meanwhile, Mercedes, who are currently leading both the standings, are very aware of the challenge they will come up against at the Dutch GP. Given the circumstances, the setting could not be any more hostile.
They will be public enemy number one at the Zandvoort Circuit and they could expect an ‘unfriendly reception’ by local fans. Despite the immense pressure, the seven-time world champion will do his best to hold the fort during the Zandvoort battle and hang on to his position at the top classification.
YouTube: please specify correct url
There are no statistics to support any predictions on this track since 1985 when Niki Lauda achieved his twenty-fifth and final F1 triumph, but a thrilling fight is guaranteed. The role of the inconsistent second drivers of both teams will be key again. Checo Perez (Red Bull) and Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) should help their respective teams in this tough challenge.
The midfield: McLaren and Ferrari, head-to-head
Lando Norris continues in his upward trajectory. Fully recovered from his nasty accident in Spa, the friendly Briton from McLaren is a likely contender for the podium. Although he hasn’t made the points in any of the two previous races, Norris remains third in the standings with 113 points, five more than Bottas, in fourth.
He will once again be his team’s greatest asset in the fight for third place in the Constructors’ standings. Currently, the English team has 169 points against the 166.5 of their Italian rivals.
Contrary to the high expectations set for Norris, not much is being asked of his teammate in Woking, Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian has not quite got the hang of the MCL35M yet, although he has recently shown some signs of improvement.
Ferrari, for its part, will once again be hot on the heels of the Britons. Despite the technical inferiority of the SF21, the consistency of its drivers, Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, keeps them in contention with McLaren.
Finally, just a quick note on the technicalities of the Dutch GP which is to consist of 72 laps of the Circuit of Zandvoort -4,259 meters and 14 curves- adding up to a total race distance of 306.6 km.
— Pirelli Motorsport (@pirellisport) August 30, 2021
Images of Dutch F1 Grand Prix 2021: Red Bull Racing.