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News and Views from Max Verstappen's F1 Dutch Grand Prix Win on Home Turf – autoweek.com

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Win at Zandvoort is Verstappen’s fourth Formula 1 victory in a row, 10th in 15 races of a dominant 2022 season.
Formula 1’s Dutch Grand Prix was a homecoming for defending World Champion Max Verstappen, and he delivered with another crushing victory.
Autoweek rounds up the main talking points.
What more is there to say about Max Verstappen and Red Bull? It was simply another dominant day for a Formula 1 partnership that is head and shoulders above its opponents in 2022.
Verstappen started from pole position, managed the race, and made the off-strategy moves that were required to perfection. Verstappen beat Mercedes’ George Russell to the finish line by 4.07 seconds, while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc completed the podium, 10.9 seconds off the lead.
Verstappen has won 10 of this year’s 15 Grands Prix, including four in a row during a crushing ongoing run, and is zeroing in on the record for most victories (13) in a single year. His coronation of a second F1 championship could now come as soon as the F1 Grand Prix at Singapore on October 3, in just two races’ time, given that he now holds a title advantage of 109 points. That lead has swelled across his current run given his own results and his rivals’ inability to muster a challenge: it has gone from 38, to 63, to 80, to 93, to 109.
Should Verstappen clinch at Singapore, that would mean he would celebrate a championship with five races still left in the season.
Ferrari’s inability to get through a race weekend without an unexpected comedy setback continued at Zandvoort.
This time it was Carlos Sainz who bore the brunt of Ferrari’s failings. Sainz was holding a podium position when Ferrari’s late call to pit caused chaos, leading to the left-rear tire not being in place when Sainz came into the pits. Sainz had to be held for 15 seconds while the tire was unearthed, and in the chaos the spare wheel gun was placed incorrectly and run over by Sergio Perez.
At his last stop Sainz, was released unsafely in the pit lane, leading to a time penalty, which dropped from fifth at the flag to eighth position.
Of more concern to Ferrari, which had Leclerc third, was the overall pace of the F1-75.
“I don’t know, honestly, it’s something we need to look at and review,” said Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto on the car’s recent drop in Sunday speed. “Is it down to the car which is not fast enough, is it the car balance? Certainly, the experience of today gives us more data to analyse and to address because we need to react. It is three races where we have not performed on a Sunday and we should, and no doubt I think not only Red Bull but Mercedes is faster than us.”
Ferrari’s title aspirations are done and dusted for 2022 and now it is in danger of not finishing second in either championships.
Mercedes’ W13 has been up and down in terms of performance but its race pace was strong at Zandvoort.
Lewis Hamilton thrust himself into outside contention for victory but Mercedes’ call to stay out on Medium tires during the late Safety Car period backfired. Hamilton inherited the lead from Verstappen, but on older and harder tires was powerless to prevent his opponent from surging through, and ultimately slipped off the podium places by the checkered flag.
An irate Hamilton berated his team on the radio during the closing laps and explained his anger post-race.
“I don’t want to apologise for my passion because that’s just how I am made and I don’t always get it right,” he said. “I am sorry for my team for what I said because it was just an amazing moment but I want to look at the glass half full. We have got so many positives to take from this weekend. Yes, I got fourth in the end but the car felt great. If the car feels like this and the other races we’re going to be fighting for a win. And that’s amazing.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff explained the call post-race after George Russell, running behind Hamilton, was put on the faster soft tires and jumped the seven-time champion.
“The thinking that we had was that we had a medium (tire) that had five racing laps on plus track position, and we took that decision (to stay out),” said Wolff. “I don’t think that on a par with the same tire we could have overtaken the Red Bull with the straight-line speed.”
Mercedes is not expecting to be as strong at Monza, given the draggy nature of its W13, but Singapore and Suzuka could present opportunities for a win.
Haas left Zandvoort empty-handed after separate setbacks for Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen. Schumacher started from a superb eighth on the grid but lost out at the start before a front jack issue at his pit stop derailed his prospects of contending for points.
“I had a lot of fun even though I was at the wrong end of the field,” said Schumacher, who was 13th. “These things happen, we’re now looking ahead at scoring points in the new few races to come.”
Magnussen started only 18th after a low-key qualifying in which he struggled to feel the extra grip on the newer Soft tires. A gain of three spots on the opening lap suggested a recovery was in the offing but he slid wide on lap two and came perilously close to bringing his race to an early halt as the VF-22 glanced the barriers.
“When you hit the wall in the race it’s not good, but it was my mistake,” said Magnussen. “I tried too hard, lost the rear, went off and hit the wall, came back and I was able to continue. I tried my best to come back but I spent a long time trying to just get back up to the field but managed to make up a few positions and finish P15. It was a bit of a wasted weekend.”
Felipe Drugovich is on the brink of becoming the newest Formula 2 champion.
The 22-year-old Brazilian is in his third year in the series, which can count against drivers, but he has married speed with application and has rebounded brilliantly from a mid-season dip in form.
Drugovich won the Feature Race at Zandvoort—his first win since Monaco in May—while nearest title rivals Théo Pourchaire and Logan Sargeant had shockers. Pourchaire mustered only 10th after crashing out of qualifying while Sargeant went wide at the first corner before crashing out halfway around the lap following contact.
Drugovich now leads by a colossal 70 points with only 78 up for grabs across the remaining events at Monza next weekend and Yas Marina in November. Drugovich is not part of a Formula 1 academy but it is understood a couple of teams are interested in his services, most likely as reserve, and contact has been made.
Brazil has been without a full-time Formula 1 driver since Felipe Massa’s retirement at the end of 2017, with Pietro Fittipaldi’s two stand-in races for Haas in 2020 the last time its flag appeared on the grid. Despite the absence of a representative Brazil is still an important TV market for Formula 1 in terms of ratings and revenue while Sao Paulo’s Grand Prix was extended through 2025 in 2020.
Drugovich remains a longshot for an F1 seat, but his name is being discussed more than it was a few months ago.

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