FP1: Lewis P1; Vettel’s power unit robs rivals

Michelle Foster
Dutch Grand Prix fans flares. Netherlands September 2021

The fans at the Dutch Grand Prix dressed in orange and setting off flares. Netherlands September 2021

Lewis Hamilton topped FP1 for the Dutch GP as Sebastian Vettel’s stricken Aston Martin caused a 30-minute red flag.

As Formula 1 returned to the Netherlands after a 36-year hiatus, Carlos Sainz completed the first lap, Yuki Tsunoda the first spin, Esteban Ocon the first trip up an escape road, Vettel the first with car troubles, and Pierre Gasly the first P1 as all 20 drivers set a time and he sat top of the pile with a 1:15.301. All that with six minutes!

And then came the roar, that one expected as Max Verstappen hit the front with a 1:13.045.

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As the drivers continued to lay down the laps, learning the circuit, Lance Stroll complained about “so much traffic”. His Aston Martin engineer: “Yes, the whole circuit is traffic.”

Gasly almost became the first crasher as he had a hairy moment through Turn 3 with a big snap of oversteer that sent him up the banked corner. Almost “lost the left mirror” he said. He was able to control his AT02, safely back down on his way.

Vettel’s session came to an end after 17 minutes, the Aston Martin driver stopping on the side of the track. “I’ve got an engine failure, engine failure,” he said before jumping out of his car and racing to grab a fire extinguisher. The German was left trying to get it to work while a marshal watched on. The session was red flagged because of the positioning of the car.

Lando Norris was topped the table at the time, his fastest time a 1:12.679, putting him 0.076s up on Verstappen. Valtteri Bottas was P3, 0.024s down.

The session was red flagged for over 30 minutes as Vettel’s car was deemed unsafe, the green light staying on to say the car was still electrically live – “ERS State Alpha” as Aston describe it. Rubber mats and gloves for the one brave soul sent out to ensure the car was safe to be moved.

The session went green with just six minutes remaining, Race Control restarting at 12:24 local time. Kimi Raikkonen was the first out for what a mad dash to put in final lap or three with all 20 drivers on the soft tyres, and traffic causing issues – the back of the field catching the front as the latter completed their first flying lap.

Hamilton clocked a 1:11.500 to beat Verstappen by 0.097s with Carlos Sainz a further 0.004s down. Charles Leclerc was P4 ahead of Bottas and Fernando Alonso. Norris and Ocon had a late near-miss.


1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:11.500 17 laps
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.097s 18 laps
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 0.101s 19 laps
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.123s 18 laps
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.238s 18 laps
6 Fernando Alonso Alpine 0.658s 18 laps
7 Esteban Ocon Alpine 0.731s 17 laps
8 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 0.859s 18 laps
9 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 0.931s 18 laps
10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1.015s 19 laps
11 Lando Norris McLaren 1.179s 18 laps
12 Nicholas Latifi Williams 1.407s 16 laps
13 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 1.553s 20 laps
14 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1.581s 18 laps
15 George Russell Williams 1.681s 15 laps
16 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1.828s 18 laps
17 Nikita Mazepin Haas 2.016s 14 laps
18 Mick Schumacher Haas 2.347s 17 laps
19 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 4.484s 6 laps
20 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 3 laps