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Dutch Grand Prix 2022 F1 preview: Racing between the dunes

Round 15 of the 2022 Formula One World Championship takes place this weekend at the Netherlands’ Zandvoort Circuit, a historic site nestled among the sand dunes on the country’s North Sea coast.

The Dutch Grand Prix returns to the F1 calendar in 2021 after more than three decades, and proves to be a success, not least because of the complex nature of Circuit Zandvoort. The circuit is famous for its dramatic changes in pitch and grooved corners, which add to the beauty of the theater.

The track has a short length of 2.64 miles and due to its proximity to the sea, strong winds on the shore tend to make handling difficult while also covering the track in sand, making traction difficult. It’s also narrow and zigzag, so overtaking isn’t easy. This means that qualifying is very important.

Straight lines aren’t long, so power units let off some steam here. Many bends are melted so the tires do not wear as much as other roads. Pirelli has specified its compound C1 as hard white, C2 as medium yellow, and C3 as the soft red option for teams to use.

Circuit Zandvoort, the venue for the Dutch Formula 1 Grand Prix

Circuit Zandvoort, the venue for the Dutch Formula 1 Grand Prix

Cars tend to run on high downforce settings. In fact, only the races in Hungary and Monaco are likely to set the force down higher. The track has two Traction Reduction System (DRS) zones, between turns 10 and 11 and on the main road, where drivers can tweak the aerodynamics of cars to make them slide faster when overtaking. .

The weather forecast calls for clear conditions during both Saturday’s qualifying session and Sunday’s race.

Mercedes-Benz AMG’s George Russell was the fastest after Friday’s first training session, trailing teammate Lewis Hamilton. Meanwhile, local favorite and reigning world champion Max Verstappen was the fastest of the earliest, but his Red Bull stopped while on track with a suspected transmission problem.

Entering the weekend, Verstappen leads the 2022 Drivers’ Championship with 284 points. Red Bull driver Sergio Perez is second with 191 points, and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is third with 186 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull led with 475 points, compared with Ferrari’s 357 and Mercedes’ 316. Last year’s Dutch Grand Prix winner was Verstappen driving for Red Bull.

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