If there was one qualifying that mattered outside of the Monaco Saturday, Zandvoort might be that one. The redeveloped circuit has been designed to encourage overtaking but punishing gravel traps mean overtaking will be tough making qualifying crucial. George ‘Mr Saturday’ Russell would be a good pick then. The Williams driver had something of an anyonymous Friday but always turns up the wick in qualifying. Expect him to move forward and up the order in FP3.
Ferrari finished Friday’s running top of the charts with a one-two headed up by Charles Leclerc. Carlos Sainz was a whisker away in P2, but the Scuderia will be hoping the medium to high speed corners of Zandvoort don’t aid McLaren as engines start to get turned up. Keep an eye on FP3 times but so far, it appears as though either driver in red is a good option.
Ones to avoid
Mercedes had the measure of Red Bull in Hungary courtesy of track conditions and temperatures falling in its favour, helped by its rival struggling to identify an ideal set-up window. Spa did little to help us figure out which of the two teams have the advantage in the dry, but a high-rake philosophy will be less competitive in Zandvoort than in Belgium one week ago. Priced at 37.1m, it’s an expensive asset you will want to avoid.
Daniel Ricciardo’s qualifying exploits at Spa were probably the high-point in his first season with McLaren. The Australian secured fourth in the wet which meant six points after the rewards were halved on Sunday, but his qualifying form overall has been disappointing. Around a track that will be difficult to overtake, he is one driver that you’ll want to avoid should his usual form prevail on Saturday afternoon.
Zandvoort has caught a few drivers out already during both Friday practice sessions. Yuki Tsunoda and Nikita Mazepin were two to suffer spins as the F1 rookies got to grips with a brand new venue to the 2021 calendar. The AlphaTauri driver has said he’ll be working overnight to address his issues while Mazepin is stuck in a Haas so expect no miracles. Either driver would be a risky option for this weekend based on the evidence so far.
Dutch Grand Prix picks
Max Verstappen (25.7m)
Lando Norris (14.1m)
Charles Leclerc (17.5m)
Fernando Alonso (14.9m)
George Russell (5.8m)
Red Bull (26.7m)