The race once again takes place at Circuit Zandvoort, a historic site located among the dunes of the Netherlands’ North Sea coast.
The Dutch Grand Prix returned to the F1 calendar in 2021 after more than three decades, and proved to be a hit, not least because of the tricky nature of Circuit Zandvoort. The circuit is popular for its significant changes in altitude and banked corners, which add to the theater.
After tackling the longest track of the season in the previous round in Belgium, teams now face the second shortest: Zandvoort clocks in at just 2.64 miles. Traits that make it tricky include its close proximity to the sea, with strong onshore winds tending to upset the handling of the cars while also covering the track in sand, making grip an issue. The track is also narrow and twisty, so overtaking is not straightforward. This means a good performance in qualifying is vital.
The straights aren’t long, so power units take a breather here. Many of the corners are flowing, so tires don’t wear as much as at other tracks. Pirelli has nominated its C1 compound as the White hard, C2 as the Yellow medium, and C3 as the Red soft, the same combination as last year.
Cars tend to run a high-downforce setup. In fact, only the races in Hungary and Monaco see higher downforce setups. The track has two Drag Reduction System (DRS) zones, between turns 10 and 11 and on the main straight, where drivers can adjust their cars’ aerodynamics to make them slipperier for overtaking.
The weather forecast calls for stormy conditions during both Saturday’s qualifying session and Sunday’s race.
After an initial practice session on Friday, Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen was the fastest, ahead of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and Mercedes-Benz AMG’s Lewis Hamilton. The session was interrupted when Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg crashed into the barriers at turn 14.
Going into the weekend, Verstappen leads the 2023 Drivers’ Championship with 314 points. Fellow Red Bull driver Sergio Perez is a distant second with 189 points, and Alonso is third with 149 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull leads with 503 points, versus the 247 points of second-placed Mercedes and 196 points of third-placed Aston Martin. Last year’s winner at Zandvoort was Verstappen driving for Red Bull.
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