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Dutch Grand Prix 2023

Stoddie Straight: Williams doing a better job than Mercedes and Ferrari

RacingNews365's expert columnist and former Formula 1 Team Principal Paul Stoddart discusses all the key talking points after an eventful Dutch Grand Prix.

Rain Zandvoort race
To news overview © XPBimages

To start with Friday and Daniel Ricciardo breaking his hands, he should know better than to hang on to his steering wheel during a crash.

It's hard for AlphaTauri and with Daniel breaking his hand, that was certainly not on their radar. I thought Liam Lawson did quite a good job, he should come away pretty proud of that.

But still, as a team they are still struggling. They still have that problem with the lower two or three teams where, despite good performances from time to time, they're still going to be fighting towards the rear sadly.

That was the take out from Friday's practice and the fact that McLaren was up there. Big time.

Both Lando and Oscar had done a fantastic job. I felt there was a big improvement with the Aston Martin, showing more on Fernando obviously than Lance who seemed to just struggle weekend.

			© RN365/Michael Potts
	© RN365/Michael Potts

Ferrari and Mercedes in trouble

But the other side of the coin is that both Mercedes were nowhere and also Ferrari. I don't know what Ferrari are going to do, but it goes from bad to worse. Then the next race, of course, is their home race.

Ferrari, from 1979 to 2000, they went through this between Jody Scheckter and Michael Schumacher. But they just seem to not be making the progress they should be making.

Mercedes is not the same team that won all those championships from 2014 to 2020, they really are struggling and I can't see them getting on top of it this year.

There's enough time for anybody to pick up, but I just don't see Mercedes or Ferrari recovering. We're into the second half of the season and they're still making the same mistakes that they were making at the start of the season.

Despite the advancement that Mercedes made with those upgrades, I feel that both McLaren and Aston Martin have come out of the winter break with a slightly better car and than they went into it. I think we're going to see some interesting races for second in the constructors and further down.

			© Red Bull Content Pool
	© Red Bull Content Pool

Verstappen untouchable

Max Verstappen was obviously untouchable and it was great for the Dutch fans. The city of Orange was there and I thought it was a fantastic Grand Prix that was well organised.

André Rieu who did the national anthem was really well done and the way the Dutch flag was represented in the crowd, they really put some effort in and it was a real pleasure to watch.

It was a little bit of a question mark over the Red Bull call to bring Max into the pits first where he could undercut Sergio Perez, but it is what it is.

For Sergio to finish up where he did from seventh, he was the first one to go onto the Intermediates, it was a clear strategy winner, and it took him up to what was the lead of the race.

Max was going to win it for reasons we know, but the Sergio certainly did a good job. He repaid - as he's had to do too many times this year - on a Sunday what he loses on a Saturday.

Williams sublime

I thought Alex Albon in particular had a fantastic weekend starting from fourth position, his equal highest position. It's pretty good credit to Williams, they're also a team that's come forward.

They're struggling a little bit with Logan Sargent, but if you put two really quality drivers into that car, I think it's going to be quite a force next year or even in the latter half of this year. Frankly, they're doing a better job than the big teams in Mercedes and Ferrari.

I think they got the right Team Principal with James Vowles, brought with him a lot of talent from Mercedes. It's just seeing that a slow, methodical, changing a few people here and there, but not too much and getting the right sort of upgrades focusing in the right direction.

Especially with the cost cap, they've got to spend the money they spend wisely. It's knowing where to spend that money that's going to see the teams come through. We've seen it with Aston Martin, we've seen it with Williams, and who we have really seen it with this year is McLaren.

McLaren got their upgrades right, they've got two good drivers in a perfect position. Most of the time they're in a perfect position to be challenging for second or third, outstripping Mercedes and Ferrari in terms of being able to challenge for a podium. So I think they've done really well.

F1 2023 Dutch Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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