The first day of the Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix 2021 did not quite go as per the plan for Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton was only able to complete 3 laps before his car broke down in Friday’s Practice 2.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc came out to be the fastest on the grid. He was followed by his Ferrari teammate, Carlos Sainz. Sainz lost out on P1 by just 0.154 seconds. Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was the third fastest on the grid after the hour-long session ended.
Ocon was followed by Mercedes’ Bottas, Max Verstappen and his teammate Fernando Alonso respectively. This was Mercedes’ second engine issue of the day. Mercedes engine in Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin ended up causing a 40-minute delay in Practice 1.
Mercedes have assured that the two problems were not related to one another. They added that the problems were also not circuit related.
This was the second Mercedes engine breakdown this weekend
Max Verstappen, who was the fastest driver on the grid in Practice 1 was looking fast in Practice 2 as well. However, Max was unable to find a hot-lap without any interruptions. His 1st hot-lap was interrupted by Lewis’ break-down and the 2nd by Mazepin’s spin.
Red Bull appeared to be the fastest car on the first day. As a result, Verstappen might find himself in Pole position on Sunday. Hamilton was only able to put in 3 laps in the session. As a result, Lewis was 11th fastest.
The track will be difficult to overtake due to fast corners. As a result, Qualifying performance will matter a lot in Sunday’s race. Sebastian Vettel was able to race in Practice 2 after the oil system issues in FP1. Vettel was the 10th fastest on the grid in FP2.
Max’s ‘Orange Army’ roared in the fellow Dutchman’s support as he soared down the track at lightning-fast speeds. The waves of orange also cheered as Lewis Hamilton was forced to take a lift from the Medical car after his session was halted.
How the rest of the grid fared in the Practice sessions?
Esteban Ocon’s pace looked promising as the Frenchman recorded the third fastest lap timings in the session. Behind him was Valtteri Bottas in 4th, who was 0.230 seconds off the leader Leclerc’s pace.
Max Verstappen was in 5th place as Alonso was hot on his tail in the 6th spot. Pierre Gasly looked extremely confident in his AlphaTauri, as he finished 7th above Lando Norris who was not having a great session.
Lando’s teammate Ricciardo was 14th, 15th and 11th in FP1, FP2 and FP3. Ricciardo was struggling to find the right pace on Friday. However, he might end up outdoing himself just like at Spa-Francorchamps.
Sergio Perez was also unable to find his pace as he was out of the top 10 both times on Friday. He did put on a show in FP3 however, as he finished 4th behind Verstappen, Hamilton and Bottas respectively.