Viewers on DStv can look forward to the 13th round of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship, the Dutch Grand Prix, live from Circuit Zandvoort in the Netherlands on the afternoon of Sunday 5th September, 2021. The previous round in Belgium this past weekend sadly proved to be a damp squib (or rather, a very wet one!), as incessant rain prevented a full race from being held.
However, the field did complete more than two laps under safety car conditions, meaning that half points were awarded. Thus, ‘race winner’ Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing-Honda managed to close the gap to Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton at the top of the Drivers’ Championship to three points (202.5 to 199.5), while the Silver Arrows Constructors’ Championship lead is down to seven points (310.5 to 303.5).
“It’s a big shame to not do proper laps, but the conditions were very tricky out there,” said Verstappen. “I said at 3:30pm, like, let’s go. I think the conditions were decent, but the visibility was very low. So I think if we would have started at three o’clock, we had a better chance. But nevertheless, after that it just stayed really wet and kept raining. It’s a win, but not how you want to win.”
He added: “I think for today, you know, big credit goes to all the fans around the track to stay here, you know the whole day in the rain and the cold, windy conditions, I think they are the bigger winners today.”
Verstappen is confident that he can reclaim the lead of the championship in the coming rounds: “We have to keep on pushing, keep on trying, of course, to close it and of course, go ahead,” he added. “We have a few more races to do that. And I’m confident that we have a good car, we just need to keep on trying to get a bit more performance out of it.”
The awarding of half points for just a few laps behind the safety car came as a shock for some drivers, with Renault-Alpine’s Fernando Alonso angered that he was not given the chance to fight for them.
“It was a terrible day to be honest for everyone,” he explained. “Well, for some of them it probably was a little bit of an early Christmas, because there were some gifts given today to some people because we didn’t race, and they still get the position and still they get the points. So it’s a little bit shocking. I was P11, I was one place to the points, I was never allowed to fight for those points, but they still give the points. It’s shocking in a way, but it’s the way it is.”
On the other end of the scale, Williams and George Russell were rewarded with a second-place finish after the British driver’s heroics in qualifying on Saturday. “I have to admit, it was quite a strange feeling because earning this podium without really doing any race laps, I don’t think I’ve had this in my whole career – let alone for a Formula 1 race,” admitted Russell after his first top-three finish.
This coming weekend’s event in Zandvoort will see the return of the Dutch GP to the F1 calendar for the first time since 1985, and naturally Verstappen will receive huge support as the ‘hometown hero’.
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Dutch Grand Prix broadcast details, 4-5 September 2021: All times CAT
Saturday 4 September | 14:50 | Qualifying – LIVE on SuperSport Motorsport and SuperSport Maximo 1
Sunday 5 September |14:55 | Race – LIVE on SuperSport Motorsport and SuperSport Maximo 1