Dutch Grand Prix talking points: Everyone's becoming a Verstappen fan
After what seemed like an eternity, F1 finally returned after nearly a month off and delivered one action packed race to whet our appetites for the rest of the season.
And while the result was a familiar one, it still doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to talk about. So let’s get back into the F1 talking points to help digest all the action from Zandvoort.
Jump on the Verstappen train
I think most F1 fans right now have become default Max Verstappen fans.
Yes, I know, that might be a stretch, but take a quick journey with me.
We are in the midst of the most dominant F1 season we have ever witnessed. Not only by a team, but by a single driver.
With 13 races in the books, we have seen a driver win 11 of those races, including the last nine in a row. That is a level of dominance never before seen, even in the uber-dominant eras of Schumacher/Ferrari in the early 2000s and Hamilton/Rosberg/Mercedes in the mid 2010s.
Even in 1988 when McLaren won every single race bar one, wins were shared equally between Prost and Senna.
Now why is this something that should make you a Verstappen fan?
Well it’s simple, how could you not be when we’re witnessing an iconic driver create iconic records that will probably never be broken? We live in a golden era of sport where we marvel at witnessing the likes of Messi, Federer, Brady, Williams, Bolt, Phelps and many more create seemingly unbreakable records and then bemoan their retirement as a sad moment in time. So why not Verstappen?
(Photo by Gongora/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
I stand by the fact that if Red Bull achieve the perfect season, it may be the single greatest achievement in sport. Period.
And the fact that Verstappen is at the very forefront of that history only makes the ability to jump on the bandwagon even easier.
Record watch part 13
These records are announced at every round now, but it’s always fun to join in and refresh memories of just where we’re at in this season.
With Verstappen’s win, he joins Sebastian Vettel as the only driver in history to win nine races in a row. Vettel achieved that feat in the final nine races of 2013 and then didn’t even come close to getting ten wins in a row at the beginning of 2014. Verstappen has a week turnaround to become the first ever driver to win a double-digit amount of races in a row. Incredible.
The win also extended Red Bull’s win streak to 14 races in a row, as well as the most ever consecutive races from the beginning of a season to 13. They now have also won 23 out of the last 24 races, with the only race in the last year they have failed to win being the Sao Paulo Grand Prix in November last year.
One interesting stat however that Verstappen has fallen just short of is the most wins in the opening 13 races of a season.
You would think winning 11 out of 13 races would be a record unmatched in history. However in 2004, Michael Schumacher had won an astonishing 12 out of the first 13 races. His only blemish? A DNF at the Monaco Grand Prix. Verstappen finished second in the two races he hasn’t won in those first 13 races.
With ever race that goes on, the records become more and more astonishing.
(Photo by Clive Mason – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)
Rain proves king once again
I become a broken record every time I complain about F1 turning into cricket with the lack of racing happening in wet conditions but to back my point up, look at the excitement we got in the Netherlands over the weekend.
The opening laps of the race were incredible drama, with action aplenty every step of the way.
The closing laps were exactly the same, and for a moment it seemed as though those mysterious full wet/extreme wets would actually be put to use for once.
Alas, modern F1 had to modern F1 and we got a red flag, but for those fleeting glorious moments of wet racing action, it showcased just why rain is so exciting in the sport we love so much.
Here’s hoping that the brief action we were allowed to see showcases to the powers that be that rain isn’t something to be afraid of in Formula 1.
Familiar Ferrari shows up
A Ferrari pit stop bungle. Not exactly new is it? Ferrari dropping back into the pack? Also not exactly new either.
It’s amazing to see just how Ferrari constantly find themselves in familiar territory of the same old mistakes time and time again. Added to that the continued frustrations being expressed by both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, the pain continues to be real for all us Ferrari fans.
A week ahead of their home race in Italy, it’s hard to see just how 2023 can be salvaged into anything sensing a ‘success’ by the Scuderia. Fourth in constructors championship with only three podiums this season, there is very little time to turn it around.
Let’s just hope that they can find some tyres to put on their cars this weekend.
Lawson finally gets his break
While every Aussie (and F1 fan) was sad to see Daniel Ricciardo already having to sit out a race given his recent return to the sport, very few would begrudge Liam Lawson from making his F1 debut on the weekend.
The Kiwi has been there and thereabouts in the F1 fray for several years and finally stepped up to the big time for AlphaTauri in the Netherlands. And considering just how quick he had to get up to speed, he didn’t do too badly.
Qualifying last, Lawson was able to make his way through the field and find himself on the cusp of points early on in the rain induced chaos, before driving a solid race to finish 13th, two spots higher than his teammate Yuki Tsunoda. He even was able to overtake Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari at one point, delivering a highlight that I’m sure he’ll show his grandchildren one day.
Will it be enough to secure him a spot on the grid next year? He’ll have at least one more shot to showcase his skills in Italy this weekend. Considering how much AlphaTauri loved a certain other Monza one off driver last year, it could be a perfect audition for Lawson.
This article was originally written for The Roar. You can read the published version here