2021 Dutch Grand Prix: Scuderia Ferrari Race Report

2021 Dutch Grand Prix: Scuderia Ferrari Race Report

After a good qualifying for Charles and Carlos in Zandvoort in fifth and sixth, they were looking for a positive start when the light went out. 

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Photos: Scuderia Ferrari.

Opening Laps 

As the race got underway, Max Verstappen easily held onto the lead off the line, as both Charles and Carlos held onto their positions as the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi fell back from seventh. Further back, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez struggled on the start, and had to opt for an early pit stop after flat spotting his hard compound tyres. 

By lap 13, drivers were already considering pit stops and moving into a two-stop strategy, the first being Sebastian Vettel. Upfront, Verstappen continued to lead and was pulling away from the two Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.  

Perez started to move through the field on his set of medium compound tyres and passed Robert Kubica, standing in for Kimi Raikkonen for 15th, as Hamilton pitted on the same lap. Verstappen also pitted from the lead on the following lap, lap 22. 

Middle Stints 

The first Ferrari pitted on lap 32, as Carlos came in for a set of hard compund tyres, re-joining the race in seventh position. Despite Mercedes keeping Bottas out longer, Verstappen was able to pass Bottas and regain the lead from the Finnish driver. Hamilton was then allowed past by Bottas, but was still unable to catch the leading Red Bull. 

Geroge Russell was handed a five-second stop-and-go penalty for his next pit stop, after being found guilty of speeding in the pit lane during his first stop. On lap 35, Charles pitted, coming out and holding on to fifth position. A stop for Fernando Alonso also allowed Carlos to move back into sixth position. 

Hamilton went for a surprise second stop on lap 40, for a second set of Medium compound tyres, but re-joined in a clutter of cars a lap behind. Verstappen responded a lap later, but went for the hard compound tyres instead.  

Closing Laps 

Nikita Mazepin was the first retirement, ending the day in the pit lane on lap 43, with Yuki Tsunoda retiring also on lap 51. As the race reached the final 20 laps, Hamilton was unable to keep with the pace of the Red Bull ahead, worried about how much he was using his tyres. 

Ten laps remaining, and the two Ferraris of Charles and Carlos were still sitting strong in fifth and sixth, Charles looking for a late attack on Pierre Gasly’s fourth place. Behind Carlos, Alonso in the Alpine was closing the gap to the Ferrari, looking to steal sixth off his companion.

Despite Mercedes warning Bottas not to take fastest lap from Hamilton after stopping towards the end, the Finn quickly went fastest, while Russell was forced to pit on lap 70. Max Verstappen was usurped and came home to win ahead of Bottas and Hamilton, who retook the fastest lap on the final lap. 

Carlos unfortunately lost sixth to Alonso on the final lap but came home seventh, as Charles took the chequered flag in fifth position. 

Written by Cóilín Higgins. 

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