Having finished second to Charles Leclerc at Austria (Red Bull's home track) but winning at his birth country's track at Belgium, Max Verstappen looks to grab another victory at a "home" track in 2022 as Formula 1 returns to Circuit Zandvoort for the Dutch Grand Prix.
To say that the atmosphere will be "carnival like" will be an understatement. Expect the Dutch driver's Orange Army to be out in force and providing the defending series champion with a tremendous amount of positive energy, not that he may need any of those good vibrations considering his master-class performance at Spa-Francorchamps.
There is a feeling that if Verstappen were to put on another performance such as the one at Spa, his momentum may become unstoppable. Certainly there are plenty of races left on the calendar — nine, to be exact, if we include Zandvoort on Sunday — but there was something that was demoralizing in the way Verstappen and Red Bull Racing went about business at the Belgium Grand Prix -- and the way the rest of the field did not.
As a famous sports philosopher once said, "it ain't over 'til it's over." But one gets the feeling that "over" is just around the corner, and coming up fast.
How to watch the Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix
- Date: Sunday, Sept. 4
- Location: 2.646-mile (4.259km), 14-turn Circuit Zandvoort, North Holland, The Netherlands
- Time: 9 a.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
What to expect
Undulating snake-like through the sand dunes of its beachside location some 30 miles outside of Amsterdam, historic Zandvoort has been likened to a 72-lap rollercoaster ride.
Back on the F1 calendar in 2021 for the first time in 36 years, drivers were introduced to a track that was heavily reworked to have little resemblance to the circuit greats such as Niki Lauda, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna raced at, yet what remains the same is that there is little room for error at Zandvoort due to its lack of run-off areas and gravel traps, making the track a little bit old school.
Another way it is old school are the Tarzanboct ("Tarzan turns"). They have been modified for today's cars and is now wider and has an asphalt run-off in the first section, keeping its limited run-off and gravel trap for the second part of the turn ahead of its exit that also now includes the exit of pit lane. By the way, the banking at "Tarzan" is the highest in F1 at 18-degrees (slightly less than the original Monza's full 10km configuration with its 21-degree banking). F1 fans like to point out that Zandvoort's turn banking is nearly twice that of Indianapolis (9.2-degrees), but as the Brickyard is considered a "flat oval" in the U.S., let's just smile politely, nod "yes," and try to avoid any eye-rolling.
It was a two-stop strategy that carried Verstappen to victory in 2021, with first stops coming between Lap 20-25 for a switch from soft compounds to medium for a short stint until pitting again for hards around Lap 40. There is little reason to expect things to be much different, save for what compounds the teams will roll the dice with at the end.