On Sunday in Zandvoort, the “home” track of this year’s world champion and undisputed overall leader, Dutchman Max Verstappen of the Red Bull team, the race for the Dutch Grand Prix, round 13, will take place. .
The main contender for victory is of course Verstappen. In the 2023 season, out of the 12 races contested so far, the Dutchman has won ten times and his Mexican teammate Sergio Perez has won two. At the last race at Spa-Francorchamps, organizers said, winner Verstappen was cheered on by around 250,000 Dutch fans.
The organizers now expect around 400,000 supporters of the Dutchman. They are counting on Verstappen to improve his record this year, claiming a ninth successive victory, the 11th of the season and the 46th of his F1 career.
Verstappen is 125 points ahead of Perez in the F1 World Championship standings heading into the Dutch round. The second is the Spanish double world champion Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin), but he is already 165 points behind the leader.
Located in the north of the Netherlands, the track was built in the 1940s and the first race was held in 1949. The first round of Formula 1 took place three years later and the best driver turned out to be the ‘Italian Alberto Ascari of Ferrari. The Dutch round of the world championship has returned to the calendar after a long hiatus in 2021. The Dutch GP has not been raced since 1985, when the Zandvoort circuit company went bankrupt. Later, the city-owned facility went unused for many years, and even part of it was sold to a developer.
The track has undergone many changes away from F1. In the summer of 1989 it was shortened to 2.5 km. Ten years later, on the wave of growing interest in motorsport, the facility was modernized and expanded. It currently has a length of 4.259 km and has fourteen bends. Turns 3 and 14 are the hardest to drive, with a 19 degree gradient. So much more than a corner on the Indianapolis oval circuit, which was once used in F1, where the gradient is nine degrees.
The Dutch GP will take place according to the classic calendar, without a sprint on Saturday. There will be three practice sessions on Friday and Saturday, after the third to 15 qualifiers are scheduled. On Sunday, the race will also start at 15. There will be 72 laps to cover, a total of 306,587 kilometers.
So far, however, Verstappen has not spoken to the media about his departure plan for Sunday. He is probably more absorbed by the information published Tuesday by the newspaper “Nice Matin”. The newspaper reveals that the world champion was caught driving an Aston Martin Valkyria hypercar in one of Nice’s tunnels, significantly exceeding the speed limit. It was measured at 124 km/h, while the authorized speed is… 90 km/h.
Verstappen can now be punished by the French police with a hefty fine, although even his maximum size is unlikely to cause budgetary problems for the Dutchman, who is today the highest paid F1 driver.
Even before the holidays, Verstappen, when asked about his “home” race, admitted he would ride it as best he could to please his fans. This assurance can be expected to be fulfilled.
Klasyfikacja generalna MŚ (po 12 z 22 wyścigów): 1. Max Verstappen (Holandia/Red Bull) 314 pkt 2. Sergio Perez (Meksyk/Red Bull) 189 3. Fernando Alonso (Hiszpania/Aston Martin) 149 4. Lewis Hamilton (W. Brytania/Mercedes) 148 5. Charles Leclerc (Monako/Ferrari) 99 6. George Russell (W. Brytania/Mercedes) 99 7. Carlos Sainz Jr. (Hiszpania/Ferrari) 92 8. Lando Norris (W. Brytania/McLaren) 69 9. Lance Stroll (Kanada/Aston Martin) 47 10. Esteban Ocon (Francja/Alpine) 35 Klasyfikacja konstruktorów: 1. Red Bull 503 pkt 2. Mercedes 247 3. Aston Martin 196 4. Ferrari 191 5. McLaren 103 6. Alpine 57
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