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today is Sep 28, 2021

Max Verstappen, Pierre Gasly and Antonio Giovinazzi were RaceFans’ Star Performers of the Dutch Grand Prix. Here’s why.


Max Verstappen

  • Took pole despite DRS and gear-shift problems costing him time
  • Held his lead at the start and drew away from Hamilton quickly
  • Fast enough to keep ahead of Hamilton despite the Mercedes driver pitting before him twice
  • Kept his cool when he had to pick his way back Bottas and always had a little extra pace in hand when needed

Pierre Gasly

  • Consistently faster than team mate Tsunoda and Red Bull’s Perez across Friday and Saturday
  • Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Zandvoort, 2021 Gasly showed superb pace at Zandvoort
  • Secured a second row start after “on the edge” Q3 lap to sit ahead of both Ferraris
  • Held his place at the start and made an earlier pit stop than the Ferrari drivers to secure his position
  • Blended strong speed with good tyre management in the second stint and never came under threat from Leclerc

Antonio Giovinazzi

  • Secured the joint-best grid slot of his career with seventh after a “mega” lap
  • Was crowded out at the start and fell to 10th
  • Tyre misfortune struck once again this year, forcing an extra pit stop which dropped him out of the points

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Nikita Mazepin

Mazepin lost his cool in qualifying
  • Caused red flags with practice spin
  • Livid at team mate Schumacher for passing him ahead of their final run
  • Investigated, then cleared of impeding Vettel at end of Q1, but qualified last on the grid
  • Swerved at Schumacher when his team mate tried to pass him early on
  • Retired with hydraulic failure

Sebastian Vettel

  • Managed only six laps in first practice before stopping with a power unit failure
  • Had his final Q1 lap ruined by traffic in the final sector, eliminated in 17th
  • Made an early pit stop but spun at turn three

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And the rest

Lewis Hamilton

  • Lost almost an entire session of running after power unit problem in second practice
  • A superb final lap in qualifying left him just 38 thousandths of pole position
  • Gave chase to Verstappen throughout the race but despite decent pace on medium tyres couldn’t make the difference for victory
  • Could have been a bit luckier with the way traffic landed for him at times

Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Zandvoort, 2021 Mercedes deployed Bottas strategically
  • Shored up Mercedes’ workload after Hamilton’s car stopped on Friday
  • Lined up three-tenths behind his team mate
  • Slipped back in the opening stint but ran a long first stint which proved tactically useful for his team
  • Probably couldn’t have reasonably held Verstappen back any longer than he did
  • Took fastest lap when his team told him not to, and though he left ample opportunity for Hamilton to beat it, an untimely yellow flag would have left him very unpopular with the team

Sergio Perez

  • Struggled for pace in practice after
  • Eliminated in Q1 after being caught in traffic while trying to set a late time
  • Started from the pits after the team took the opportunity to fit a new power unit
  • Locked up his tyres while passing Mazepin which forced an early pit stop, further compromising his race
  • Thereafter got his head down and picked off the McLaren drivers
  • Despite picking up damage while passing Norris he caught and passed Ocon for eighth before the end

Lando Norris

  • Knocked out of Q2 in 13th after red flags prevented him from a final run
  • Ran the longest first stint of anyone, on the medium tyres, to jump Russell and Stroll
  • After Ricciardo waved him by he tried to out-run Perez but lost the position after they made contact

Daniel Ricciardo

  • Finished sixth in Q2 but could not match his lap in Q3, taking tenth on the grid
  • Gained a place from Giovinazzi at the start but had to let Norris by and Perez squeezed him out of the points
  • Felt the call to let Norris past “wasn’t executed perfectly”

Lance Stroll

  • Had an uneventful weekend, qualifying and finishing 12th, spending much of his race stuck behind Russell’s Williams

Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Zandvoort, 2021 Ocon finished behind team mate he called “extremely slow”
  • Pipped his team mate to eighth on the grid by two-hundredths of a second
  • Said Alonso was holding him up badly early in the race
  • Fell back later in the stint, so much so that he pitted before Alonso and remained behind him
  • Felt the timing of blue flags contributed to him losing eighth place to Perez with three laps to go

Fernando Alonso

  • A feisty opening lap saw him pass Ocon and Giovinazzi
  • Managed his pace a lot in the opening stint, then ran longer than several of his pursuers
  • Admitted he was fortunate not to crash out while trying to pass Sainz
  • Took the Ferrari driver for fifth place on the final lap

Charles Leclerc

  • Gasly denied him a place on the second row by less than five-hundredths of a second
  • Felt he had the pace to finish ahead of Gasly but couldn’t overhaul the AlphaTauri driver and collected fifth

Carlos Sainz Jnr

Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Zandvoort, 2021 Ferrari had a repair job after Sainz’s practice crash
  • Was fortunate to take part in qualifying after crashing at Hugenholtz in third practice, damaging the rear of his car
  • Said he didn’t enjoy the race and had no pace in the car, admitting he lacked confidence
  • Lost sixth place to Alonso on the final tour

Yuki Tsunoda

  • Could have done without losing yet more time in practice, this time due to a power unit problem
  • Eliminated in last place in Q2, 1.7s slower than his team mate in the same session, which was disrupted by red flags
  • Ran 14th until more power unit trouble put him out

Robert Kubica

Unexpected comeback for Kubica went as well as it could
  • Called up at short notice on Saturday morning as substitute for Kimi Raikkonen
  • Managed to avoid the back row of the grid despite only 28 laps of running prior to qualifying
  • Passed Latifi on the final lap, which along with the retirement of the other Williams promoted him to 15th
  • Was satisfied with his performance on “probably the toughest track physically” after his unexpected return

Mick Schumacher

  • Out-qualified Mazepin as usual, to his team mate’s obvious displeasure
  • Collected front wing damage while trying to re-pass Mazepin on lap two
  • Finished a distant 18th after having to cut his hard tyre stint shorter than he wanted to

George Russell

  • Both Williams drivers crashed in Q2, the car seeming a handful
  • Was running 12th when a gearbox problem ended his day

Nicholas Latifi

  • Comfortably secured passage to Q2 by ending first session in fifth place
  • Had his second Q2 run compromised by red flag cause by team mate Russell
  • Then crashed at turn eight himself, leading to repairs which forced him to start from the pits
  • Passed the Haas drivers and got ahead of Kubica for a while, before the Alfa Romeo driver reclaimed his position at the end

Over to you

Vote for the driver who impressed you most last weekend and find out whether other RaceFans share your view here:

  • Vote for your 2021 Dutch Grand Prix Driver of the Weekend

2021 Dutch Grand Prix

  • 2021 Dutch Grand Prix Star Performers
  • Paddock Diary: Dutch Grand Prix part two
  • Verstappen makes the Netherlands 12th country to produce a home F1 winner
  • Alonso “lucky” after near-miss with barrier plus contact with three rivals on lap one
  • Mercedes believe they didn’t miss a “big opportunity” to win at Zandvoort

Browse all 2021 Dutch Grand Prix articles