The Reds fly on the renewed Zandvoort circuit, only eleventh time for the world champion
FROM THE ENCOUNTER TO ZANDVOORT. How do you drive on a satellite dish? The Formula 1 drivers tried the experience at turns 3 and 13 of the Zandvoort circuit, which reopened 36 years after the last edition of the Dutch Grand Prix. Free practice rewarded the Ferraris: Charles Leclerc’s best time of 1’10 ” 902, the only driver under one minute and eleven in the history of this track, second place for Carlos Sainz, 154 thousandths behind.
How reliable is this result? It must be taken into account that Lewis Hamilton, the fastest in the morning session, stopped after ten minutes due to a technical problem and left his Mercedes on the track, while Max Verstappen, second classified in FP1, did. he was seen ruining both laps in qualifying set-up and finished fifth at 362 thousandths behind Leclerc. In the race simulations, the home idol, dragged by 70,000 enthusiastic spectators, showed a very fast pace. Net of the problems of the two drivers who are competing for the championship, the two Reds have shown that they have adapted quickly to an original track: the goal is a good result in qualifying, easy to protect as overtaking is very difficult.
Behind the Ferraris were Esteban Ocon with the Alpine (0 ” 172) and Valtteri Bottas with the Mercedes (0 ” 230). From the sixth time down we find Fernando Alonso (Alpine, 0 ” 378), Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri, 0 ” 560), Lando Norris (McLaren, 0 ” 586), Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo, 0 ” 776), Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin, 0 ” 811). In difficulty Sergio Perez, who finished 12th behind Hamilton.
Verstappen is not entirely satisfied: «It’s nice to see all the fans in orange having fun in the stands. The track is also fun. My fastest lap, however, is not representative, I had to stop it. We are fast in the long runs, but the starting position counts a lot here: we have to work on it ».
Hamilton is not dramatic: «I only shot about twenty minutes in the morning because of the red flags, while in the afternoon I lost power and they told me to stop. It’s not the end of the world: Bottas has traveled a lot and collected enough data ».
The longest stop was in the first session: Sebastian Vettel broke the Mercedes engine of his Aston Martin and pulled up close to the pit lane exit. In the total indifference of the commissioners, the German pilot worked with the fire extinguisher to put out a fire, even before the red flag was waved. The removal of the car took a quarter of an hour because the Ers hybrid system made it dangerous to touch the car at that moment.
Program: tomorrow (Saturday) free practice at 12, qualifying at 15; Sunday at 3 pm the Dutch GP.
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