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Verstappen's strategic advantage heading into Dutch GP

Pirelli have revealed some potential race strategies for the Dutch Grand Prix - with Max Verstappen already having a crucial advantage over the other big six drivers.

Pirelli believe that a variations of a two-stop Dutch Grand Prix Formula 1 race strategy could be the best way to run the race at Zandvoort. Home favourite Max Verstappen starts on pole position, having nudged Charles Leclerc by just 0.021s in qualifying, with Carlos Sainz Jr and Lewis Hamilton sharing the second row. It's the second Dutch GP since it returned last year - where Verstappen's margin of victory was inflated to 20.932s over Hamilton. The Dutchman used a simple one-stop strategy, while Hamilton pitted twice in order to make sure he picked up the bonus point for fastest lap after then teammate Valtteri Bottas accidentally took it.

Which type of two-stop?

Using the hardest compounds in their range, Pirelli have predicted that most, if not all, drivers will begin on the red-walled C3 Soft tyres. The absolute quickest way to lap Zandvoort 72 times, and hopefully get to the line first, will be to start on Softs, and go to Lap 18-23 before switching to a set of C2 yellow Mediums. These then go to the Lap 43-49 range, before the driver pits for another set of Mediums, with most of the field having at least one new set of them. However, to create a tyre off-set, and if one is feeling particularly race-y, the first stint on Softs can be extended to Laps 22-28. The middle Medium stint ends somewhere between Laps 46-52, where the driver then fits another set of Softs for the final blast. Alternatively, a one-stopper is possible, exchanging those Softs for Mediums around the Lap 27 to 35 period, but this is predicted to be marginal on tyre life by the end - especially given Zandvoort's high-speed banking. The final strategy offered by Pirelli is for someone to go on the white Hard tyres between Lap 20 to 25 - although the Hard is not expected to feature during the race.

Verstappen's advantage

In qualifying, Verstappen was able to earn himself an advantage by saving a brand-new set of the Soft compound tyre. He did this by using a scrubbed set in Q2, while the other members of the Big Six, went through their entire allocation in trying to catch him. They all have three used sets of Softs, but are otherwise equal with the Red Bull in terms of tyres available - with two new Mediums and a fresh set of Hards to choose from. Of the field, Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel have the most new Softs available - three apiece - as both were knocked out in Q1. Ricciardo blamed gravel on the track at Turn 12 while Vettel got caught out by a dirty surface and went for a trip through the Turn 13 gravel trap on a lap good enough to have seen him through to Q2.

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