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Dutch Grand Prix 2023

Does Red Bull face a credible threat at Zandvoort?

Will we see Max Verstappen toppled at one of his most successful circuits? We take a look at the long runs from FP2.

Eight different teams were inside the fastest top 10 times at the end of FP2 for the Dutch Grand Prix, all separated by just over half a second.

Out of those it was only Ferrari - who has turned up without any updates to the SF-23 - and Haas who failed to get a car inside the top 10.

Given the close rate of development between the teams behind Red Bull, could we finally see one topple Max Verstappen at one of his most successful circuits in front of his home crowd?

Norris fastest over one lap

Lando Norris provided a glimmer of hope for Formula 1 fans after the long summer break with his lap time in FP2, which was 0.023s faster than Verstappen's effort.

It was not a straightforward afternoon session for Red Bull, as Sergio Perez only managed seventh fastest while Verstappen was blocked on a few of his Soft tyre attempts early on - one of the main problems at this 4.2km circuit.

The Dutchman's quickest effort was then hampered by a poor exit coming out of the Turn 3 banking, which forfeited around 6kph of speed to Lando Norris on the run through to Turn 7.

Mercedes also showed threatening one-lap pace with Lewis Hamilton, who eventually set a lap time that was good enough for fourth quickest. Williams looked like the outliers, with Alex Albon getting to within three tenths of Norris' best time on the Softs.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Red Bull comes alive in race spec

After the stoppage caused by Daniel Ricciardo and Oscar Piastri many teams used the opportunity in the final 30 minutes to complete their long runs.

On the face of it, the Medium tyre is around two tenths quicker than the Hard in race trim, while the Soft holds up over the course of a seven lap stint.

Verstappen completed 21 laps on the Soft tyre with times ranging from the low-1:16s to high-1m15s, while Norris and Fernando Alonso - using the new Aston Martin floor - were in the mid-1m16s during their Soft tyre runs.

Pirelli Chief Engineer, Simone Berra, expects this tyre to be key in the race: "The relatively cooler temperatures could make the softest compound, the C3, a more plausible race tyre."

Hamilton completed his long runs on the Mediums, with his fastest lap dipping into a 1m15.881s in between consistently lapping in the mid- and low-1m16s.

FP2 long run analysis

Lap VER (Soft) NOR (Soft) ALO (Soft) HAM (Medium) PER (Medium)
1 15.8 16.1 17.9 16.3 16.2
2 16.1 16.5 16.5 16.1 16.2
3 - 16.9 16.3 15.8 16.3
4 15.8 16.2 17.9 17.5 16.4
5 16.3 16.2 16.3 16.5 16.1
6 15.8 16.4 16.5 16.5 16.2
7 15.9 16.2 16.4 16.4 16.1

Qualifying to be critical

It's clear the Red Bull has four tenths extra over a race stint on Norris, with the differing fuel loads ran in practice also being a factor. The Dutchman also complained about balance issues at the rear of the RB19, suggesting they have still not found the optimal setup.

The Zandvoort circuit is notorious for being one of the hardest to overtake on in the last two years, with just 23 on-track moves in 2022 and 24 in 2021. This means qualifying positions will be crucial and will likely be influenced by traffic around the short lap.

With the track being close to a nearby beach, it means a lot of sand tends to drift in and affect grip levels. This makes track evolution a key element that will impact lap times in qualifying, meaning teams like AlphaTauri and Williams have a chance of disrupting the front runners.

F1 2023 Dutch Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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