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Ten things we learned from the 2022 Dutch Grand Prix

The capability crowd at Zandvoort was treated to just what it wanted as Max Verstappen triumphed on home soil to take his win tally for 2022 into double digits. For all those watching on TV, these were treated from what they wanted too as, following the race initially were a damp squib, it evolved beautifully right into a tactical grudge match with a satisfying late pass for the spoils.

It had been Mercedes that came closest to knocking Verstappen and Red off the very best step of the podium, because of inspired strategy and blistering speed that has been undone by ill-timed virtual and full safety cars. This came as Ferrari faltered – its pace failing woefully to inspire and its own pitstops sticking with the poor type of this year – and Sergio Perez was well adrift of his benchmark teammate.

There have been also a lot of talking points off track because the Contract Recognition Board revealed its verdict on the Alpine-McLaren dispute over Oscar Piastri and another weekend passed when Porsche didn’t announce its partnership with Red Bull

Those elements considered, listed below are 10 things we learned from the 2022 Dutch Grand Prix.

Verstappen is on 10 wins this season - can he break the record of 13?

Verstappen is on 10 wins this year – can he break the record of 13?

Photo by: Erik Junius

1. Verstappen is now able to concentrate on breaking records

Another sublime triumph for Verstappen stretches his standings result in 109 points. With seven rounds and a sprint race to play, only five drivers (right down to Lewis Hamilton in sixth on 158 points when compared to leader’s 310) can mathematically catch Verstappen. Realistically, however, another title has already been coming to the Red Bull ace.

It could have a spectacular and unprecedented downfall for Verstappen never to have his name engraved on the championship trophy for the next amount of time in a row. Knowing that, perhaps it is the record books which are next to maintain need of rewriting.

Verstappen’s fourth win in succession takes his tally for the growing season to 10. The record for probably the most lucrative campaign is shared by Michael Schumacher in 2004 and Sebastian Vettel from 2013, when both amassed 13 wins. But given Verstappen’s current blistering speed and a little over a third of the word remains, it’s entirely plausible that the Ferrari and Red Bull greats will statistically be surpassed.

Ferrari continues to drop ever further behind Red Bull in the pecking order

Ferrari continues to drop ever further behind Red Bull in the pecking order

Photo by: Ferrari

2. It’s tough to see where Ferrari’s next win should come from

If the Scuderia had to roll over for Verstappen at Spa, then so be it. The long Kemmel Straight and flat-out final sector were seemingly tailor-made for the very best speed punch of the rebadged Honda power unit (observe how easily Verstappen passed Hamilton on Sunday for the win, regardless of the 2022 cars not having the ability to gain as strong a tow as their predecessors). But at the very least the lithe and fast-accelerating F1-75 could answer back at Zandvoort.

That has been the theory, even though Charles Leclerc snared a podium and Carlos Sainz’s cause was significantly stymied by way of a botched pitstop and 5s penalty for an unsafe release, Ferrari was all prematurely eliminated as a significant threat for victory. Leclerc seemingly kept Verstappen honest through the opening 10 laps as his gap to the first choice hovered just above 1s, but the defending champion lit the touch paper and disappeared well beyond DRS range.

It had been then left to the brace of W13s to take the fight to Verstappen because of the Silver Arrows starting on the medium tyres. Ferrari, thereafter, wasn’t in the search for the spoils.

As Leclerc debriefed: “We just didn’t have the pace; we weren’t quick enough. Which means this may be the main focus right now, to recreate the speed that people had at the start of the growing season. We appear to have lost it, a small amount of pace in the long runs especially.”

Even though the Scuderia wasn’t to win the Dutch GP, it had been likely to ask a lot more serious questions of Red Bull than it actually achieved. A trip to high-speed Monza the next time out may not be any longer prosperous.

Perez put in a distinctly off-colour performance at Zandvoort

Perez devote a distinctly off-colour performance at Zandvoort

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

3. Perez’s timing was perfect, his driving significantly less so

After his win in Monaco plus outqualifying Verstappen in Azerbaijan, Perez’s stock was soaring as he seemed to have mastered the return of ground effects in F1. He previously a two-year contract extension at Red Bull showing for this (signed before his principality success) because the Mexican seemed to have resolved the lingering problem regarding the second seat at the team.

It could be argued he was fortunate to sign when he did. For Perez just as before delivered the type of substandard weekend that had Daniil Kvyat, Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly dropped back again to Toro Rosso/AlphaTauri. He spun in qualifying to find yourself a cavernous 0.735s adrift of Verstappen at Zandvoort and duly allowed both Ferraris and a Mercedes to split the RB18s on the grid.

Then Perez couldn’t hold a candle to Verstappen’s race pace, or the demonstrably slower Mercedes, Ferraris and also the Alpine of Fernando Alonso. In reality, he most effectively appeared to aid the Red Bull and Verstappen cause by delaying Hamilton’s hard tyre overtake by one lap after he squeezed the Briton into Turn 1. Otherwise, he had not been there to play the tacit rear-gunner role that’s expected of him.

Poor strategies cost Alpine at the start of the year - but the French squad has upped its game

Poor strategies cost Alpine in the beginning of the year – however the French squad has upped its game

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

4. Alpine seems to have stopped dropping the strategy ball

Through the entire first 1 / 2 of the campaign, Alpine made heavy weather of guiding the fourth-fastest car on the grid (according to the ‘supertimes’ metric) to fourth in the constructors’ championship. Strategy blunders were leaving the entranceway spacious for McLaren, using its mediocre MCL36 and lopsided attack fronted by Lando Norris.

But Spa and Zandvoort now show that Alpine is really a far slicker operation on the right track – even though its handling of the driver market has been woeful. To overcome an unhealthy qualifying as Esteban Ocon prearranged 12th, one spot before teammate Fernando Alonso, the duo started on softs like the majority of others. But came the inspired change to hard tyres for an extended middle stint.

The pace was much better than expected and also helped Mercedes invest in a white-walled strategy that put it able to challenge for victory. Alpine, though, got there first. Along the way, Alonso pipped Norris to help expand consolidate the ‘best of the rest’ ranking in the standings.

Will Mercedes stick or twist with its W13 concept for next season?

Will Mercedes stick or twist using its W13 concept for next season?

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

5. How Mercedes handles 2023 produces a remarkable subplot

That Mercedes was the closest challenger to Red Bull in the Dutch GP rather than Ferrari had not been solely forged off the trunk of its starting tyre strategy. The W13s, generally showing a lot more impressive race pace in comparison to qualifying throughout the year, launched on the medium rubber to have a longer first stint before swapping onto hards. While this afforded Hamilton and George Russell track position, it had been the speed that impressed primarily.

Hamilton was pinging in purple sectors and fastest laps for fun when he was shod with the theoretically slowest available hard tyres. He was lapping around 1.5s a lap faster than Verstappen ahead of virtual and full-blown safety cars. Therefore, soon after the shambles at Spa, Mercedes shows that it could still deliver on its promise of winning a race this year.

However the team remains tight-lipped on the “difficult” decision of whether to abandon this car concept for 2023. It faces jacking in an automobile that’s rapid on its day and contains the potential of a win or two a season but remains suffering from inconsistency. According to 2021 into 2022, the longer it presses on attempting to develop that season’s car, the worse the next year may be. Therefore, if Mercedes continues to help keep it coy by not revealing its development decision, the decision it has had whether to stick or twist might only emerged next year.

The CRB verdict was unanimous on the Piastri fiasco

The CRB verdict was unanimous on the Piastri fiasco

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

6. McLaren’s driver contracts tend to be more watertight than Alpine’s

What we didn’t learn through the Dutch GP weekend is that Oscar Piastri will race for McLaren in 2023, because that has been already quite definitely on the cards. The Australian had taken up to social media marketing to rather publicly declare he wouldn’t be belting up for Alpine next season. Therefore, even though the Contraction Recognition Board had ruled in Otmar Szafnauer’s favour, there is an expectation that McLaren could have gone ahead and bought the F2 and F3 champion out of his deal to secure his services.

However, the verdict released on Friday saved several quid since it definitively settled the dispute towards the Woking squad with a “unanimous decision”. The CRB statement listed the McLaren paperwork because the “the only real contract to be recognised” to leave Alpine still to secure a teammate for Esteban Ocon in fact it is also poised release a its protege prematurely.

The CRB verdict further stated that Piastri had inked his new deal on 4 July – a romantic date which raised several eyebrows

Ricciardo stated his intent to stay at McLaren nine days after Piastri signed his deal

Ricciardo stated his intent to remain at McLaren nine days after Piastri signed his deal

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

7. Piastri was in a long time before Ricciardo knew he was out

This is as the newly updated timeline revealed Daniel Ricciardo was on his way to avoid it prior to the 2021 Italian GP victor himself knew anything about any of it. It had been only through the August summer break that the team and driver settled on a handsome payoff to rip up the contract per year in advance also to go their separate ways.

Perhaps more intriguing, because the rumour mill kicked into overdrive concerning any looming Ricciardo and McLaren break-up, the driver felt compelled to convey his commitment to the reason and to getting a resolution to his underperformance. Ricciardo therefore issued a social media marketing post reaffirming the security of his position. He posted: “I’m focused on McLaren before end of next year and am not walking from the activity.”

That went go on 13 July. Basically, Ricciardo was pledging his allegiance nine days after Piastri had registered to be his compatriot’s replacement.

Red Bull and Porsche looked like a certainty...but now the union looks dead in the water

Red Bull and Porsche appeared as if a certainty…however now the union looks dead in the water

Photo by: Erik Junius

8. The Red Bull-Porsche deal isn’t the certainty most of us thought

It had been likely to be announced at the Austrian GP in early July, however the FIA delayed approving the 2026 power unit regulations. Then Moroccan legal documents revealed a 4 August date for the tie-up to go public. However, that day came and went with nothing being revealed. Then Audi, against early expectation, leapfrogged its sister manufacturer to confirming its F1 participation. And today, it seems as if the Red Bull-Porsche collaboration may not happen at all.

Team boss Christian Horner has spoken previously about how exactly important it really is that any Red Bull partner aligns with the Milton Keynes squad’s ‘philosophy’. While Porsche offered a reassuring 10-year deal to guard the continuing future of the team as Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz approaches his eighties, the partnership appears to be hanging in the total amount because of culture clash.

Porsche, it seems, wants to be more practical than Red Bull want – with the most well-liked option surely to take the an incredible number of euros and Porsche stickers plus headed note paper, but to keep as an extremely successful autonomous operation. Consequently, for a union that has been once assumed to be only a poorly kept secret, it now seems as if Porsche is a apt to be jilted since it is usually to be wedded.

The resin surface protected the gravel from pervading the track

The resin surface protected the gravel from pervading the track

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

9. A resin resolution to track limits could possibly be planned

Amid the fallout of the CRB ruling and the tiny matter of Max Verstappen landing victory before a capacity home crowd, a detail that may have already been missed was Zandvoort’s new undertake policing track limits.

In a bid to preserve the historic venue’s nature and stop drivers from taking liberties, circuit chiefs were loathed to bin off punishing gravel traps towards acres of asphalt run-off. However, the issue then lies with cars skating out wide and dragging lots of gravel back onto the circuit if they rejoin.

Therefore, in order to avoid repeated red and slippery surface flags, Zandvoort debuted a one-metre strip of resin run-off, whereby the gravel has been effectively glued set up. The section is bumpy and slippery so remains a deterrent for drivers wanting to push their luck, however the surface isn’t susceptible to being torn apart and deposited on the right track.

That the race wasn’t red flagged when drivers missed the chicane, and that new technique was not a significant talking point on the weekends suggests it at the very least wasn’t a retrograde step. Circuit chiefs are prepared to let other tracks adopt the resin resolution.

AlphaTauri wants Colton Herta for 2023, and a failure to sign him could stop Gasly moving to Alpine

AlphaTauri wants Colton Herta for 2023, and failing to sign him could stop Gasly moving to Alpine

Photo by: Gavin Baker / Motorsport Images

10. F1 has cracked America, but won’t let America crack F1

A sold-out race in Texas, the blockbuster inaugural round in Miami and the statement NEVADA Grand Prix to arrive 2023 demonstrates F1 is currently finally a smash hit in the usa. It had doubled down on its booming Netflix-induced American audience. There could therefore be an expectation for the championship to create hay as the sun shines by doing everything it realistically can to support an American team and/or driver, too. But no.

Michael Andretti’s bid to get his way in to the paddock has faced widespread resistance from teams and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali. And the big boss has also cast doubt over AlphaTauri’s plans to court IndyCar driver Colton Herta in case of Pierre Gasly switching to Alpine.

With only 32 of the mandatory 40 points to his name, Herta isn’t qualified to receive a superlicence. Asked at Zandvoort if there have been grounds to create an exception, Domenicali said: “The activity must respect the guidelines. There exists a ladder to check out, there exists a protocol to respect, which is the problem. So, it is what I really believe is to do. I don’t believe it’s to change something retrospectively, I believe the right move to make would be to apply the guidelines.”

Could Gasly be staying put at AlphaTauri after all?

Could Gasly be staying put at AlphaTauri in the end?

Photo by: Erik Junius

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