Round 15 of the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship takes place this weekend at the Netherlands’ Circuit Zandvoort, a historic site located among the dunes of the country’s North Sea coast.

The Dutch Grand Prix returned to the F1 calendar in 2021 after more than three decades, and proved to be a hit, not least because of the tricky nature of Circuit Zandvoort. The circuit is popular for its significant changes in altitude and banked corners, which add to the theater.

The track measures a short 2.64 miles in length, and because of its proximity to the sea, strong onshore winds tend to upset the handling of the cars while also covering the track in sand, making grip an issue. It’s also narrow and twisty, so overtaking is not straightforward. This means decent qualifying is vital.

The straights aren’t long, so power units take a breather here. Many of the corners are flowing, so tires don’t wear as much as at other tracks. Pirelli has nominated its C1 compound as the White hard, C2 as the Yellow medium, and C3 as the Red soft choices for the teams to use.

Circuit Zandvoort, home of the Formula 1 Dutch Grand PrixCircuit Zandvoort, home of the Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix

Cars tend to run a high-downforce setup. In fact, only the races in Hungary and Monaco see higher downforce setups. The track has two Drag Reduction System (DRS) zones, between turns 10 and 11 and on the main straight, where drivers can adjust their cars’ aerodynamics to make them slipperier for overtaking.

The weather forecast calls for clear conditions during both Saturday’s qualifying session and Sunday’s race.

Mercedes-Benz AMG’s George Russell was the fastest after an initial practice session on Friday, edging out teammate Lewis Hamilton. Meanwhile, local favorite and reigning world champion Max Verstappen was the fastest early on, but his Red Bull came to a stop while on the track with a suspected gearbox issue.

Going into the weekend, Verstappen leads the 2022 Drivers’ Championship with 284 points. Fellow Red Bull driver Sergio Perez is second with 191 points, and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is third with 186 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull leads with 475 points, versus the 357 of Ferrari and 316 of Mercedes. Last year’s winner of the Dutch Grand Prix was Verstappen driving for Red Bull.

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