Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Zandvoort, 2021

Hamilton pips Verstappen as red flag cuts practice to 22 minutes

2021 Dutch Grand Prix first practice

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Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time in the first practice session for the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort.

However the one-hour session was cut to just 22 minutes of green flag running after Sebastian Vettel’s car came to a stop at at pit lane exit with a power unit failure.

The Aston Martin driver reported a problem with his car early in the session. A possible braking problem had been apparent his race engineer Chris Cronin confirmed a problem with his MGU-K, which is used for regenerative braking as well as electrical delivery to the powertrain.

Vettel headed back into the garage for the team to make repairs and was sent back out, however, his car stopped at the pit lane exit and Vettel got out to ask a marshal for a fire extinguisher. A red flag was called while Vettel’s car was retrieved but the situation rapidly seemed to deteriorate with marshals unable to recover it.

A marshal wearing electrical safety gear eventually was able to secure the car, the ERS light on which indicated it was potentially ‘live’, and it was brought back to the garages after more than 30 minutes of stoppage.

After 38 minutes of stoppage time, drivers were told they could go back out for the final six minutes of running. All drivers went out on soft tyres for their last runs.

Lando Norris had set the quickest time of the session while Vettel was in the pits before the red flag. That pegged back Verstappen’s early effort on medium tyres.

After the session restarted the McLaren driver went off at turn 13 on the session restart, running through the gravel. He got into further difficulties when he returned to the corner later in the session and encountered Esteban Ocon on the short straight before it. The Alpine driver, seemingly preoccupied with Sergio Perez in his mirrors, moved towards the racing line and nearly collided with Norris, forcing him onto the grass.

During the final flurry of laps Hamilton set the quickest time and Verstappen was unable to beat it as he also dodged his way through traffic. The Ferrari pair came next, followed by Valtteri Bottas and the Alpine duo. Antonio Giovinazzi saw the rare heights of eighth in his Alfa Romeo, followed by Lance Stroll who complained about traffic, and Pierre Gasly.

Yuki Tsunoda in the second AlphaTauri was the only driver who failed to set a time. The rookie, who had never driven at Zandvoort before today, had a spin at turn nine on his out-lap while carrying an aero rake on his AT02, though it proved largely harmless.

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2021 Dutch Grand Prix first practice result

Pos.No.DriverCarBest lapGapLaps
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’11.50017
233Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’11.5970.09717
355Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’11.6010.10119
416Charles LeclercFerrari1’11.6230.12318
577Valtteri BottasMercedes1’11.7380.23817
614Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’12.1580.65817
731Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’12.2310.73116
899Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’12.3590.85918
918Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’12.4310.93117
1010Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’12.5151.01518
114Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’12.6791.17917
126Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’12.9071.40716
137Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’13.0531.55319
143Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’13.0811.58117
1563George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’13.1811.68115
1611Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’13.3281.82817
179Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari1’13.5162.01614
1847Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’13.8472.34716
195Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’15.9844.4846
2022Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda3

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2021 Dutch Grand Prix

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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41 comments on “Hamilton pips Verstappen as red flag cuts practice to 22 minutes”

  1. What a farce. Not the best marshaling ever, also the delay in getting 3-4 mechanics on the scene.

    1. This was never seen before footage. Big amateurism. There were 4-5 marshals standing around while Seb had to extinguish the fire by himself. Then they stood around for another half hour doing nothing. I have never seen anything like this. Over half an hour, wasted..

      1. W.m. Bravenboer
        3rd September 2021, 11:56

        There was a light on the car, the car was still ‘active’, so possibly electrically charged. That is why team members came and switched it off. That said, I hope they debrief good and look at the marshals, and fire extinguishers.

      2. @spafrancorchamps The marshals were standing around because the ERS safety light wasn’t green so they weren’t allowed to touch the car.

        Quite why it took so long for some mechanics to be taken to the car to make it safe is something that needs to be asked though as does why it then took another 10+ minutes to recover the car even after it had been made safe.

      3. you are not allowed to go on track as marshal until the red flag is waved! please learn the rules before giving such a dumb comment! And than the car was not clear so the marshals are not allowed to touch it. Same rules.

        Reply moderated
      4. Memories of dutch marshalls with extinguishers standing still doing nothing come to mind.

      5. They are briefed not to touch a live car so not spraying fluids on it is here the problem. Sebastian wanted to cool it. as @roger-ayles said.

        As they aren’t very experienced they keep there hands of it!.

  2. Tsunoda needs to go IMO, he never seems to learn.

    Another shot in the foot by F1 today, 33 mins to remove a vehicle from the road. Ridicuous.

    1. Both him and perez seem subpar for their respective roles, I’d take alonso in red bull and send perez to alfa tauri, he’s performing at that level anyway.

      1. Agree. In fact, I’d dump Perez and Tsonuda after this weekend altogether. Have Albon and Gasly in Toro Rosso and Alonso and Verstappen at Red Bull. Despite the mid season change, both Alonso and Albon will score more points for their teams this season than Perez and Albon.

        Mercedes has gotten it’s act together with it’s driver line up for next season. Hamilton and Russell together will crush Red Bull if they have a tier 2 or tier 3 driver in that 2nd seat.

        1. I don’t think Alonso is going anywhere. My guess is that he is now building a career: after retirement he aims at leadership role at Alpine and in the horizon he sees FIA presidency.

  3. That is NOT a GP track. Way too narrow for the current formula. Red flag weekend ahead

    1. I think the problem is not the track, but the size of the current cars

      1. @wachuwey Current cars are longer yes but they are no wider than they were the last time they raced at Zandvoort.

        1. W.m. Bravenboer
          3rd September 2021, 12:23

          Yes, they are, in 1985 it was 1.80 m wide, now it is 2.0 m, that and length and the enormous front wing makes a lot of older tracks narrower.

      2. I think it’s both. The track would not have been suitable for F1 racing in 2007 either. It surely is a challenge to the drivers though.

      3. That’s like your trousers not fitting you and you suggesting that it’s your legs’ fault rather than the trousers!

        If it’s too narrow for modern F1 cars then it shouldn’t be part of the Championship.

        1. Some can argue that is your fault to let your legs get fat.
          You know, your legs were slender not so long ago, but some changes made it worst than before

          1. Yeah, but in the meantime you find alternative trousers that fit you!

            Anyway, I think we’ve stretched the analogy too far! 😜

  4. Really enjoyed the first 20 minutes or so, but the 30 minute delay has me worried about the rest of the weekend … Will every stuck car be like this?

    1. Seb’s car was supposedly electrified, so that didn’t help.

      On the other hand, some people are saying marshalls can’t enter the track without red flags. This, however, is false, so that was on them and Masi.

      1. Oh snap, another “attack ad” on Masi. Titled “What’s Taking So Long?“.

  5. A driver with a fire extinguisher at Zandwoort while the marshalls are stand about idle? Not a great image.

  6. Hamilton looking mega dint see Max’s lap but Lewis had to go offline big time for gasly so must not have helped the tyres and he still did p1 with 1 attempt. The merc is looking a beast since silverstone we have still not seen redbull vs Merc yet tho since in proper race trim. I for sure think RedBull have on balance been the best car this season certianly not a diva seems to work everywhere look at the gaps in Austria for example. Baku they domoinated and Monaco. So game on and maybe just maybe we will know see no mistakes from Lewis if he as the best car all the Max has done less mistakes it is far easier when ya car is more planted.

    There is zero to choose between these 2 and if one car pulls ahead you will see that Lewis just like Max will always win in the faster car. Max was not winning in the 2nd best car.

    Reply moderated
  7. To those arguing that this track is too narrow or not suitable for F1, I completely disagree & think it’s a breath of fresh air to see a circuit that will actually challenge cars & drivers added to the calendar rather than these boring modern circuits that all share the same characteristics, Are a mile wide with a sea of tarmac that don’t offer that much of a challenge.

    I think it’s a shame that newer/younger fans have gotten so used to the boring, samey, mile wide, sea of tarmac modern circuits that they think proper race tracks aren’t that good.

    I personally would much rather see F1 cars at Zandvoort than at most of the more modern circuits or even some of the classics that have been butched to look/feel the same as the modern circuits. Zandvoort been brought back is a welcome breath of fresh air as far as i’m concerned & I hope it remains part of the F1 calendar for many more years to come!

    1. @roger-ayles – I agree although I worry that it won’t be long before the demands start flying in to remove the gravel, widen parts of the track and so on…..

    2. “I think it’s a shame that newer/younger fans have gotten so used to the boring, samey, mile wide, sea of tarmac modern circuits that they think proper race tracks aren’t that good”

      The Tilke generation?

    3. Yes, I completely agree. Mugello is equally tight, except for the start/finish-straight, but I didn’t hear anyone complaining about that circuit last year.
      I’d also take Zandvoort anytime over tracks like Paul Ricard, Sochi or Abu Dhabi.

      And let’s not forget, without Zandvoort there wouldn’t be Suzuka, because John Hugenholtz’s design was heavily influenced by Zandvoort.

  8. Reminds me of that time when Ralf Schumacher did a demo in Zandvoort in a Williams – must’ve been in 1999. Remarkably, his engine expired at Scheivlak and he parked his car on track, after which a Marshall came running down the graveltrap with his fireproof overalls tied around his waist, carrying a half-eaten popsicle, only remembering he should’ve brought his fire extinguisher instead of his popsicle when he was already halfway between the barrier and the car. Nothing has changed since I’m afraid.. 😬

  9. I’m slightly more worried. There might be a lot of stoppages. The track is unforgiving, I like that. But the downside is more red flags. I also had high hopes for Hugenholz (3) that we would see a lot of different lines. But it seems the formula cars can’t use the lower part at the inside of the corner limiting options. And during the race someone will eventually go for the inside just to end up in the barrier on the outside of the corner. Another red flag.. I hope I’m wrong

    1. I’m slightly more worried. There might be a lot of stoppages. The track is unforgiving, I like that. But the downside is more red flags.

      Same as Suzuka where it’s not unheard of for us to see a lot of red flags through practice & qualifying.

  10. Very clever to blame it on the marshalls! I’m sure you armchair experts would do a much better job than them. Remember, without these brave men and women there wouldn’t be a GP at all!

    They weren’t allowed to touch the car, because it was still electrically charged. It would’ve been far too dangerous to move it, not being 100% certain, if it was safe enough for the marshalls.

    These people aren’t professionals, they are regular fans who volunteer on their free time to make the race possible. Show them some respect!

    1. Surely a sport that deals with billions of euro a year could afford some professional marshalls?

      1. @esploratore1 I don’t think there’s such things as “professional marshalls”. The only option would be for the FIA to train a group of marshalls and have the same marshalls in every race, but as far as local marshalls go, there’s just no way to have somebody that lives of being a track marshall.

  11. The commentators here are not reading the article before commenting it seems. It is clearly mentioned the car was live

  12. I think most of the people working (marshals) there, this is their first time working with F1. It will take some time to get used to the hectic pace of F1 weekend. I hope they can cope this well. They don’t have to be at Monaco level but looking at the situation it took a lot of time.

  13. This track is so obviously not designed for modern F1, but that’s precisely why I love it. I’m so delighted that bringing it up to F1’s current standards hasn’t robbed it of it’s character, in the same way the similarly-revived Mexico GP has.

    It’s fast, narrow, unforgiving, and with all the new banking, completely unique for F1. I doubt this will translate to any wheel to wheel action, but these cars look spectacular blasting around this little track by themselves. Can’t wait to see them qualify.

  14. Use of type of fire extinguishers is dependent on the fact if the car is on power or not. They did exactly what they had to do. So which one did they have to use immediately keyboard pro’s?

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