Dutch F1 GP: Ferrari’s Comical Mistakes Lead To Another Red Bull, Verstappen Win
Ferrari only brought three tires to a pitstop. Last I checked, they need four tires.
All eyes were on Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc at the start of the 2022 F1 Dutch Grand Prix. Verstappen's commanding lead over the second place Leclerc in the driver's standings seems insurmountable. Despite Leclerc's impressive driving this season, his car's lack of reliability and Ferrari's almost impressively poor management has kept him far behind Verstappen. Unsurprisingly, those mistakes continued in the Netherlands.
Ferrari told Carlos Sainz to pit in lap 15 but there was some confusion between the engineers and the mechanics, the latter of whom didn't even bring out a rear left tire. That isn't a typo, nor is it a joke. The actual professional Formula 1 Ferrari pit crew only brought three tires for Sainz's pit stop. Not only did that cause a glacial 12.7 second pit stop but one of the Ferrari mechanics added insult to injury by leaving their wheel gun in the pit lane, which was run over by Red Bull's Sergio Perez. Following the race, former F1 champion Nico Rosberg told Sky TV that Formula 2 and 3 teams do a better job than Ferrari. Team principal Mattia Binotto needs to make a change and quickly.
If misery loves company, then Ferrari was ecstatic. AlphaTauri made some confusing decisions of its own, with driver Yuki Tsunoda, who stopped and pulled over almost immediately after a pitstop in lap 45, telling his team "tires not fitted, tires not fitted!" over the radio. Clearly, he felt something was wrong but the team responded over the radio that everything was fine and instructed him to keep going. Tsunoda listened and went back on track, but drove slowly into the pits because he still felt something unusual. While in the pits, his team seemed to check his seatbelts for some reason and then sent him back out. Afterwards, something was still wrong with his car and he was forced to stop again, causing a virtual safety car, which kicked off a series of events that had a massive impact on the outcome of the race.
During the virtual safety, Verstappen and both Mercedes drivers pitted for fresh tires. However, almost immediately afterward, Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas stopped in the middle of the main straight, causing an actual safety car in lap 56. During that time, Verstappen stopped again for fresh soft tires, as did Ferrari's Charles Leclerc. Mercedes told Lewis Hamilton to stay out on his fresh medium tires, so that he would lead the race once it restarted. That proved to be unwise, as Verstappen immediately overtook Hamilton after the race restarted. But Hamilton's day got even worse, as he was then overtaken by his teammate George Russell and Leclerc, pushing him off the podium. Hamilton was furious over the radio, saying "I can't believe you guys!" Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff defended the decision after the race, saying that Verstappen's car would be too fast on equal tires, so keeping Hamilton ahead was his best chance. It just didn't work out in the end.
Verstappen then easily cruised to a win in his home country, with Russell behind him in second, and Leclerc finally getting back on the podium, for the first time in weeks, in third place. Verstappen is now 109 points ahead of Leclerc in the driver's standings, after his fourth GP win in a row, and looks primed to take his second world championship. Next week, F1 heads to Monza for the Italian Grand Prix.