Part II of the F1 triple header took the travelling circus to Max Verstappens’ backyard. Whilst there was a lack of action overall, there’s still a good few things to dissect from the weekend, so let’s get into it…
Max Retakes the Championship
Max Verstappen retook the Championship lead this weekend from Lewis Hamilton in what can only be described as a dominant display by the Dutchman. Pole Position was his on Saturday and following Turn 1 on Lap 1 come race day, the race belonged to him too. Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes threw everything they could at him but to no avail. The race now puts Max three points ahead of Lewis as F1 heads to Monza. This Championship battle is now more than likely going to head all the way to Abu Dhabi before it’s resolved.
Thank the Racing Gods for Alonso and Perez
Zandvoort is a tricky place to overtake, especially in these current F1 cars. But nobody seemed to tell either Fernando Alonso or Sergio Perez this. The latter was coming from the back of the grid after a poor qualifying and grid penalties and cut his way sublimely up through the field to finish in eighth place. The overtakes were Perez at his best. Alonso also showed that there’s plenty of life in the old dog yes as he played with Ocon via some mind games and even went as far as to take sixth place away from Carlos Sainz on the final lap of the race. Muy bien Fernando. Muy bien.
*That* Latifi Move
Latifi has been getting more and more into the spotlight lately and it’s well deserved. After a strong performance in Hungary, the Canadian got his elbows out in the Grand Prix. Overtaking the Haas #9 around the outside and not taking no for an answer about it was awesome to see from Latifi. It was an Alonso esque move that shows that he’s getting more and more confident in the car. It’s becoming clearer why Williams plan to keep him for the 2022 season.
Tensions at Mercedes
It would seem that Bottas might very well know that his time at Mercedes is coming to an end. With some late race drama by taking the fastest lap point away from Hamilton, he surely ruffled some feathers at Mercedes. The Finn has been off his game most of the season and has never seemed likely to challenge for the Championship – his last win was back at Sochi last year. Taking a valuable point away from your teammate (who got it back on the final lap) isn’t going to endear him to Mercedes. Perhaps he’s decided to run his own race for the rest of the season, regardless of the consequences for Mercedes. It will be fascinating to see how this effects the battle for the driver’s title between Lewis and Max.
Gasly and Leclerc
Two drivers who deserve some credit are Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc. Both drivers had very strong qualifying sessions, qualifying in P4 and P5 respectively. Both remained in these places for the duration of the race, leading them to have a perhaps boring race but with some lovely points to collect at the end nonetheless. Neither driver is in the best cars at the moment so again, it will be brilliant when we can see what they’re truly capable of. These drivers have won at Monza in the past so who knows what they’ll be able to pull off next time out. A tip of the hat to both of these gentlemen.