This Friday, the Formula 1 started the activities of the Netherlands GP, 13th stage of the 2021 season and which marks the return of Zandvoort to the Worlds calendar for the first time since 1985. And in the first free practice of the weekend, hampered by a red flag nearly 30 minutes long, the lead was left with Lewis Hamilton, surpassing the owner of the house, Max Verstappen.
After having his return canceled last year due to the impact of the pandemic Covid-19, this year’s Dutch GP managed to be taken forward and with the presence of the public in the stands, causing Max Verstappen could run for the first time at home in front of his orange army.
The pilots are already preparing for a weekend that must have its share of challenges. Zandvoort is the second smallest track of the year, just ahead of monaco, in addition to being very narrow, which should provide a difficult test for overtaking. But the biggest highlight of the stage is, without a doubt, the steep curves, the first in F1 since Indianapolis.
It didn’t take long for the yellow flag to be raised for the first time. Yuki Tsunoda spun the AlphaTauri around turn 10, losing control of the car while making his recon loop at low speed. The first minutes also counted with other rounds and pilot errors in their first exits from the pits.
After the first 15 minutes of the session, Verstappen led, scoring 01min12s755, followed by the Mercedes duo, with Bottas in second, 0s024 and Hamilton at 0s107, all on hard tyres.
Vettel, who had already entered the pits complaining of engine problems, caused a 17-minute yellow flag. He parked his Aston Martin at the pit exit and smoke was pouring out of the car. He quickly grabbed a fire extinguisher from the inspectors to try to put out the fire. This forced the race direction to stop the session.
At the time of the interruption, the lead was from Norris. With midfielders, the McLaren driver scored 01min12s679, with Verstappen, Bottas, Hamilton and Gasly completing the top five.
With inspectors a little confused about the correct procedure to be taken, the removal of Vettel’s car took longer than expected, with the 60-minute regressive following despite the stoppage, as required by regulation. The TL1 was finally restarted with just six minutes left on the clock.
Drivers quickly got back on track and most of them on soft compounds looking to improve their time, but Zandvoort’s setup didn’t favor anyone, with traffic preventing clear laps.
But in the end we had fast laps. Lewis Hamilton ended the session at the front by scoring 01min11s500 when he found a relatively clean track. Max Verstappen was second at 0s097 and Carlos Sainz was third at 0s101. Completed the top 10: Charles Leclerc, Valtteri Bottas, Fernando Alonso, Esteban Ocon, Antonio Giovinazzi, Lance Stroll and Pierre Gasly.
Formula 1 returns to the Zandvoort track this Friday for the second free practice for the Netherlands GP, 13th stage of the 2021 season. bandsports. And as soon as the TL2 finishes, there’s Free Friday live on the channel Motorsport.com on YouTube, with a full analysis of the first day of activities. Don’t miss it!
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