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F1 Race Preview: Dutch Grand Prix

After a thrilling finish in Belgium, we once again return to the Netherlands as we head to Circuit Zandvoort for round 15 of the Formula One World Championship – the Dutch Grand Prix. Can Max Verstappen make it back-to-back Dutch GP victories? Will we see Daniel Ricciardo on the podium? Or will Sir Lewis Hamilton finally notch a win in 2022?

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A Max Verstappen domination last time out – as he won the Belgium GP by a gigantic 18 seconds – means he now leads the Championship by a huge margin of 93 points with eight races left of the season. It was the best I’ve ever seen him drive and a display worthy of a soon to be two times World Champion.

We find ourselves right in the middle of triple header with Belgium done – Italy on the way next weekend but this weekend we enter the den of the lion – Verstappen’s home track of Zandvoort. The orange army will be out in force and hoping that once again Max can be magical and extend his lead at the top of the table.

Ahead of the Dutch GP 22

Zandvoort returned to the Formula One calendar last year after a 36-year break and it didn’t fail to deliver. Tens of thousands of fans packed into the seaside circuit to watch the home hero take a lights to flag victory. The stands were jumping, and orange flares filled the sky as Max Verstappen took a slender lead in the Championship race. This year it couldn’t be more different – as Max coasts his way to a second world title.

Dutch Grand Prix: Track Analysis

Having had the longest track of the year last time out (Spa – 7.004km/44 laps) we now go to one of the shortest. Zandvoort is just 4.259km so the drivers will have to do 72 laps of the circuit which is about 40 minutes from central Amsterdam. This will be the 32nd Dutch Grand Prix held at the track.

With a banked section between turns 13-14 the circuit is fast and flowing. Unlike Spa, it isn’t SO power sensitive meaning we can expect a closer fight between the top teams.

It’s an undulating track which rises and falls in line with the sand dunes and making it feel a little like a rollercoaster.

The three hardest compounds of tyre will be available as the tyres take a beating around this beautiful, old-school track.

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Past form: Strongest performances at the Dutch Grand Prix

Jim Clark holds the record for the most wins at the track with four to his name. Only one of the current F1 drivers has a win or pole position to his name – of course that’s Max Verstappen, but could that change this weekend? The team with the most wins there is Ferrari – with eight to their name since 1952.

Dutch Grand Prix 2022: Who will be on pole?

Max Verstappen is one of 21 different drivers to have taken pole at the circuit. Pole is normally a tightly fought battle with the average pole margin being just 0.4s. Of those who have claimed pole, 13 have gone on to win – that’s 42%. However, 23 races have been won from the front row – 74% of all races.

The furthest back anyone has ever won from is 10th on the grid – it’s happened twice with Rene Arnoux in 1983 and two years later, Niki Lauda. Once again, it’s hard to bet against Max Verstappen for pole and the win – he is in such majestic form at the moment and apparently there is another big upgrade for the Red Bull car with a lighter (faster) chassis on the way.

In front of his home fans, he will be revved up and looking for his 4th win in a row – something he has never done in his F1 career so far! Ferrari should be more competitive at Zandvoort, but the team are still making mistakes which all too often gift an easier win to Verstappen than necessary.

Mercedes might also come into the mix this weekend but those on the front row come Sunday have a really good chance of finishing on the podium so there will be plenty of pressure on Saturday in qualifying with Max currently on four poles for the season, while Leclerc has seven to his name.

Russell, Sainz and Perez all have poles to their name but as yet, Lewis Hamilton is the only driver in the top six without a pole to his name this season. For the man with the most poles in the history of the sport, this must feel like strange territory!

Rain dance: Could we see rain at the Dutch Grand Prix 2022?

In the history of the race there have only been five wet races – that’s a small number for a seaside track in the Netherlands! However, at the time of writing this article, there is some rain forecast for race weekend and that could really liven up proceedings as this is a tricky track to navigate when the sea mist rolls in.

F1 Driver Championship: When will the title be won?

With Max Verstappen so clearly in command of the title fight the question now falls to when, not IF he will take his second title. At present there are still 216 points up for grabs – with the Brazil sprint race giving an extra haul in the penultimate race of the year. Max leads by 93 points from Sergio Perez so mathematically he can’t wrap up the title at his home race this weekend. There is still some way before he can do that!

So where is most likely? It’s a tough one to work out with so many different points paying possibilities for Charles Leclerc, Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen but most likely it would be in the rounds in Asia (set the alarm early if you’re based in Europe or the West!).

Singapore seems a little early, but Japan could be the backdrop for Max’s second world title.

Japan has often been the host of Championship deciders – most recently Sebastian Vettel secured his second title in 2011 at Suzuka. You might also remember the famous battle between Prost and Senna at the track. The title was slightly more precariously balanced in 1989 and 1990 (much like last year) but this season barring the unthinkable, Max will be Champion well before the final race of the season at Abu Dhabi.

Dutch Grand Prix 2022: One final thought

Lewis Hamilton is looking for his first win of the season – if he doesn’t manage it before the end of the season it would bring an end to his record of 16 straight season’s in F1 with a victory in every year.

Lewis has told me many times that he isn’t a man that cares about his statistics, but I think a lot of F1 fans will be watching on to see if Mercedes can find some form at one of the final eight races of the season and give Lewis that all important win.

I wouldn’t bet against him doing it – especially if we have a wet race and the title is already wrapped up, but his chances are diminishing with every race that ticks by.

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Jennie Gow
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