By: Sam Donsig
Wow, what a spectacle that was. For the first time since 1985, the Circuit de Zandvoort hosted an F1 race. It will be a day for Dutch fans that many will remember as their favourite driver snagged the race win quickly. There was quite a shift in the rankings this week, so here are my driver power rankings for the Dutch Grand Prix.
1. Max Verstappen - (9.5/10)
There wasn’t much doubt that Max Verstappen wouldn’t win the Dutch Grand Prix from start to finish. But, as with thousands of adoring fans by his sides, he was able to cruise to victory. Verstappen and Red Bull did a great job covering Mercedes when Sir Lewis Hamilton came into the pit early to switch to a two-stop strategy. From there, he was able to make light work of Valtteri Bottas and keep the seven-time champ at bay.
2. Fernando Alonso - (9.0/10)
Now you’re probably wondering why Fernando Alonso is so high up in the rankings. Alonso, from start to finish, had an excellent race. He overtook three cars on the opening laps of the race and managed his tires perfectly. As well, on the second last lap. He overtook Carlos Sainz Jr. to finish 6th place. He deserves to be up here this high because of his strong performance at the Dutch Grand Prix.
3. Sir Lewis Hamilton - (8.8/10)
Lewis Hamilton gave it his all on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to beat Max Verstappen. Hamilton didn’t have the pace of the Red Bull car. It also didn’t help that Verstappen ran a set of new hard tyres after the first pit stop compared to Hamilton, who ran a set of medium used tyres. Verstappen passed Bottas later in the race and zoomed off into the distance leaving Hamilton and Bottas in the dust. It then became crystal clear to everyone that Hamilton wasn’t going to beat Verstappen. Overall, he did get the fastest lap which could become a crucial single point later this season.
4. Pierre Gasly - (8.6/10)
From beginning to end, you couldn’t have asked for a better weekend performance from Pierre Gasly. Him qualifying fourth on Saturday and following it up on Sunday with a perfect drive to come home fourth. It’s a shame that Gasly won’t be in a better car next season when you consider how well he’s done this season for Alpha Tauri. Overall, it was an incredible drive from the Frenchman, and it will be interesting to see how he does at Monza.
5. Charles Leclerc - (8.4/10)
For Charles Leclerc and Ferrari, this weekend was a significant moment in their fight for third with McLaren. Leclerc was able to have a solid qualifying session and follow through with it on Sunday. Even though he finished fifth, he finished above his teammate and fellow rival Lando Norris. Leclerc seemed to have a good feeling of the track and was able to find the sweet spot to maintain his track position from beginning to end.
6. Valtteri Bottas - (8.0/10)
For Valtteri Bottas it wasn’t a terrible weekend. He managed to lead a few laps around the Circuit de Zandvoort. However, he failed to hold up Max Verstappen. This led to Verstappen getting past Bottas quickly and not allowing Hamilton to get close to Verstappen and overtake him. Regardless, Valtteri did set the fastest lap even though his race engineer James told him to abort the lap. It was great to see Bottas stand up to Mercedes once again and defy team orders.
7. Carlos Sainz Jr. - (7.9/10)
For Carlos Sainz Jr., his weekend was great. He qualified sixth on the grid and held that position for the majority of the race. That was until Fernando Alonso passed him with two laps to go in the race. Regardless, he still managed his tyres quite well and scored some significant points for Ferrari. So even though we are 13 rounds into the F1 season, Ferrari still made the right choice with Carlos Sainz Jr., and it’s good for him to get some credit finally.
8. Sergio Perez - (7.5/10)
Even though Sergio Perez made a big climb up from the pitlane to finish P8, Perez still shouldn’t have been in the situation in the first place. We have seen multiple times this season where he has a poor qualifying session and pulls off a decent result in the race. However, if Red Bull wants to have any chance at beating Mercedes for the Constructors Championship, Perez needs to start qualifying up with his teammate.
9. Esteban Ocon - (7.3/10)
Esteban Ocon, similar to his teammate Fernando Alonso had a good weekend from start to finish. Ocon managed his tyres well, and other than some close calls with his teammate at the beginning of the race, he was able to have a clean race. Ocon showed some strong pace throughout the race but wasn’t able to overtake much. As he finished one position lower than where he qualified from.
10. Lando Norris - (7.0/10)
Lando Norris didn’t have the best of weekends, and it started with qualifying. Norris could not get one last lap in before the checkered flag was waved to mark the end of the session. That inevitably led to his poor performance on Sunday, as with Zandvoort, there aren’t many overtaking opportunities. Norris seems to be in a bit of a slump the last few races. Hopefully, at Monza, he can get out of it.
11. Daniel Ricciardo - (6.8/10)
Similar to his teammate, Daniel Ricciardo struggled all weekend to find a strong pace at Zandvoort. Unfortunately, Ricciardo, who qualified 10th, couldn’t convert it into points for McLaren, who lost their lead against Ferrari for third place in the Constructors standings. He struggled to find a groove, and it seemed that he wasn’t getting everything out of the car that he could’ve. Overall, it wasn’t a good weekend for the honey badger, but hopefully, he can bounce back at Monza.
12. Lance Stroll - (6.4/10)
For Lance Stroll and the Aston Martin team, it wasn’t the best of weekends. First, stroll struggled in qualifying and wasn’t able to crack the top ten. This led to his poor performance on Sunday as he struggled to find a solid pace throughout the race. Overall, Stroll didn’t seem to have a good understanding of the circuit, which makes sense when you consider that F1 hasn’t raced there since 1985.
13. Sebastian Vettel - (6.0/10)
Sebastian Vettel did not have a good race or weekend in general. First, Vettel ended up spinning during the race, which dropped him back multiple positions. From there, nothing else really mattered as Vettel struggled to find a strong pace around the Circuit de Zandvoort. Vettel seems to be in a bit of a slump over the past few races and can’t seem to catch a break. Hopefully, this upcoming weekend at Monza, Vettel can bounce back a bit.
14. Antonio Giovinazzi - (5.8/10)
Antonio Giovinazzi’s weekend started great, qualifying seventh on the grid for Sunday’s race. However, things went downhill from there. He dropped right back to 14th in a matter of a few laps. He was unable to make his way back up the grid. It makes sense. Alfa Romeo’s race pace is nowhere near the speed of Ferrari, Red Bull or Mercedes race pace. All in all, it was a good weekend for Antonio Giovinazzi, and it will be interesting to see how he does at Monza.
15. Robert Kubica - (5.5/10)
The man the myth the legend, Robert Kubica, made his return to F1 this Sunday. Unfortunately, he was unable to make much of it. The 36-year-old former F1 driver didn’t seem to make much noise this past weekend and was just there to fill in for Kimi Räikkönen. In terms of his race, not much to say. He went out there and gave it his all and had fun.
16. Nicholas Latifi - (5.2/10)
Nicholas Latifi struggled to find a solid pace around Zandvoort and didn’t threaten other drivers much. However, Latifi is at a point where he needs to start to pick up the pace, considering his teammate took the same car to second place at Spa-Francorchamps. Yes, they are two different drivers with complete skillsets. Regardless, Latifi has been just racing at each track and not improving. Overall, Latifi had an okay race, but he seriously needs to start to pick up the pace.
17. George Russell - (4.9/10)
For George Russell, he’s had some good performances in the last few races. However, at Zandvoort, he was unable to continue on any further. Russell struggled a bit with finding the pace and wasn’t able to maintain his starting position. As a result, he dropped back quite a few places and couldn’t make his way back up the grid.
18. Mick Schumacher - (4.7/10)
For Mick Schumacher, he seems to be getting more and more comfortable with the car each weekend. However, this weekend was no different than the last couple. Schumacher was unable to find any pace around Zandvoort and struggled throughout the race.
19. Yuki Tsunoda - (4.5/10)
There is not much to say about Yuki Tsunoda’s race as he retired early on due to a power unit issue. Regardless, it seems that Tsunoda still has a lot to learn, and it’s good for him to have these retirements early in his career. That way, he can learn to understand things better and have a better understanding of the car. Overall, not a great weekend for Yuki Tsunoda, but I am sure he will bounce back next weekend at Monza.
20. Nikita Mazepin - (4.2/10)
Similar to Yuki Tsunoda, not much to say about Nikita Mazepin’s race. He retired early as well and wasn’t able to fully experience the Zandvoort circuit. However, we did learn that his relationship between himself and his teammate Schumacher seems to be slightly damaged. As during qualifying, they were very close to crashing and nearly causing a major accident. Regardless of who is at fault, the team needs to fix it quickly, or it could turn into a Magnussen and Grosjean situation all over again.