The arrival of Red Bull to the fight for the title has opened the door to the dimension of strategy, one of the elements that makes Formula 1 a discipline different from many others. Until now, the superiority of Mercedes was so brutal that the Silver Arrows, especially that of Lewis Hamilton, could face the races bareback, without their engineers having the need to break the coconut to develop the most efficient plan. It was basically starting and whizzing away without anyone even considering bothering them. However, the situation that has entered the scene this year, marked by the budget limit and the reformulation of the regulations scheduled for 2022, has offered the energy team a golden opportunity to enjoy Max Verstappen, a caged lion who carries more six-year-old waiting for his moment. Watching him drive this season, it seems that time has come.
In Zandvoort (Netherlands), before a legion of fans devoted to his enormous talent, the Dutchman was able to escape the ambush that Mercedes stopped him, who used his two cars to try to make him a sandwich. But the play did not go well for the star’s brand, who rushed to launch his attack early and left a crack that Verstappen slipped through. The German constructor’s bet was based on forcing the second visit to the Mad Max workshops to place him between Bottas, provisional leader, and Hamilton. But the strategists called the Briton very soon (lap 40) and shot themselves in the foot to the luck of the local hero, a real ruthless steamroller since Friday, reinforced on Saturday with the pole and finished off on Sunday with his seventh victory of this 2021. A triumph that allows the boy from Hasselt to regain the leadership of the general table, although with a minimum margin of only three points, over the current champion, Hamilton. The Stevenage runner has known for days that this exercise will not be like the last ones, and that he will have to sweat more than usual. Proof of this was the third stop in the workshops, a risk if one takes into account that the only thing at stake was the point that the author of the fastest lap takes. “It does not seem that we have taken too much advantage. We have used our trump card too soon ”, lamented Hamilton on the radio, conscious of having wasted the only wild card that he had within reach.
The podium was completed by Bottas, unable at all times to keep up with the first two and who is already starting to pack the bag to move, presumably to Alfa Romeo, thus leaving his steering wheel for the arrival of George Russell. Fernando Alonso finished sixth, just ahead of Carlos Sainz.
“The expectations were very high before the weekend and it was not easy to meet them, as everyone can imagine. Mercedes made things very difficult for us, but we countered them very well ”, summed up Verstappen, wrapped in the Dutch flag and amid a thick orange fog.
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