In a high-stakes, high-drama final 10 minutes of practice, Max Verstappen clinched the top spot, taking advantage of a drying track after morning showers had finally let up. He fired off a sequence of blazing laps, showing that not even wet conditions could water down his ambition.
Earlier in the session, Lando Norris had set the pace, going wheel-to-wheel with his McLaren teammate Oscar Piastri. With roughly 20 minutes left on the clock, Norris had edged ahead, but not for long. Verstappen answered back with a 1m22.758s lap time, claiming the top position.
George Russell made a valiant effort to unseat Verstappen but came up a razor-thin 0.02s short. Undeterred, Verstappen solidified his lead with a subsequent 1m21.631s lap.
An additional lap attempt by Verstappen turned out to be a non-event, as he slid into the gravel at the notorious Turn 11. But that was irrelevant; his earlier times were unbeaten.
The session wasn’t without its dramatics, featuring multiple red flag interruptions due to mishaps from Kevin Magnussen, Zhou Guanyu, and F1 rookie Liam Lawson. These drivers found themselves wrestling with a track that remained slippery long after the morning rainfall.
Magnussen was the first to cause a stoppage, spinning out at Turn 3 and slamming his Haas into the wall. Following a brief pause to clear the wreckage, Charles Leclerc leapfrogged to first place, only to narrowly escape a collision with the Turn 1 wall moments later.
Despite the ongoing drizzle, intermediate tires became the choice du jour. Norris, reclaiming his mojo, posted a lap time half a second faster than Leclerc’s. But Verstappen annihilated Norris’s time by a staggering 1.5 seconds.
The drama wasn’t over, as Zhou lost control at Turn 13, beaching his Alfa Romeo and prompting yet another red flag. The session resumed, but with little improvement in track conditions.
Norris and Piastri continued their McLaren intra-team duel, with Norris eventually going a full second faster. Piastri didn’t let him have the last word, however, nipping at his heels with a time that was only 0.097s slower.
Substitute driver Liam Lawson, filling in for an injured Daniel Ricciardo, caused the third red flag after spinning out on the sloping Turn 14. He managed to recover and limp back to the pitlane.
In the waning moments, Verstappen dashed any McLaren hopes by maintaining his lead as the track conditions continued to improve. George Russell wrapped up the session in second place, trailing by 0.379s, while Sergio Perez finished third, a full second behind his Red Bull teammate.
The rest of the grid lined up as follows: Fernando Alonso took fourth, beating Lewis Hamilton, while Alex Albon edged out Piastri for sixth. Valtteri Bottas, Charles Leclerc, and Lando Norris rounded out the top 10.
- Max Verstappen remained unchallenged with a best lap time of 1m21.631s.
- George Russell narrowly missed out on first, finishing just 0.379s behind Verstappen.
- Sergio Perez lagged a full second behind his Red Bull teammate.
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing): 18 laps, 1m21.631s
- George Russell (Mercedes): 18 laps, +0.379s
- Sergio Perez (Red Bull Racing): 18 laps, +1.000s
- Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin Racing): 14 laps, +1.003s
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes): 18 laps, +1.092s
- Alex Albon (Williams): 19 laps, +1.119s
- Oscar Piastri (McLaren): 20 laps, +1.261s
- Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo F1 Team KICK): 25 laps, +1.334s
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari): 12 laps, +1.462s
- Lando Norris (McLaren): 24 laps, +1.527s
And there you have it, folks. Another day in the Formula 1 circus, where the line between triumph and tragedy is as thin as a tire’s tread on a rain-soaked track.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Dutch GP Practice Drama
What happened in the final practice session of the Dutch Grand Prix?
How did Max Verstappen perform during the practice session?
Max Verstappen showcased exceptional skill in the practice session. He dominated the track, setting a blistering pace despite challenging weather conditions and frequent red flag interruptions.
Were there any incidents during the session?
Yes, the session was marred by several incidents. Drivers like Kevin Magnussen, Zhou Guanyu, and Liam Lawson encountered difficulties due to treacherous track conditions, resulting in red flag stoppages.
How did other drivers fare?
George Russell put up a strong fight, coming close to challenging Verstappen’s lead. Sergio Perez also showed his mettle, although he trailed behind his Red Bull teammate. Notably, McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri engaged in a captivating battle for supremacy.
What were the track conditions like?
The track conditions were challenging due to heavy rain and wet surfaces. This led to several spins, slides, and ultimately, red flags. Despite the difficulties, drivers showcased their skills in adapting to the changing conditions.
What were the main takeaways from the session?
The main takeaway was Verstappen’s dominant performance in adverse conditions. The session highlighted the unpredictability of racing, as lead changes, near misses, and red flags kept everyone on the edge of their seats.
How did the substitutes perform?
Liam Lawson, standing in for the injured Daniel Ricciardo, faced a challenging situation when he spun out. Despite the incident, he managed to recover and return to the pitlane.
Which drivers made it to the top 10?
The top 10 included Max Verstappen, George Russell, Sergio Perez, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Alex Albon, Oscar Piastri, Valtteri Bottas, Charles Leclerc, and Lando Norris.
What can we expect in the upcoming race?
The intense practice session hints at an exciting race ahead. With unpredictable weather and track conditions, the Dutch Grand Prix promises to be a roller-coaster ride of racing action and suspense.