It’s been 36 years that Formula 1 has raced in the Netherlands and with Max Verstappen now having a car that can challenge Lewis Hamilton for the World Championship, it was about time that Formula 1 would return.
Safe to say that even if it had not been the most interesting race, it would have still been amazing to see Verstappen fans in action, having seen them on TV at tracks like Spa or Spielberg.
This was not only my first time watching an F1 race in the Netherlands, but also my first ever F1 race that I have seen live in general. Since that is pretty special, here is my little summary of the Dutch Grand Prix in Zandvoort 2021.
Location of the Zandvoort Formula 1 Circuit
The circuit is located in Zandvoort, which is a small town right by the ocean and about a 30-minute trip away from Amsterdam. It is probably one of the few F1 circuits that is reachable by train. During the race weekend, the trains would run 12 times an hour throughout the whole day.
From the Zandvoort train station, it is only around a 15-minute walk to the circuit. But then depending of course on what entrance you need to go to, where your seats are located and how many people are trying to get to the same place, that walk will most likely take you much longer on a race weekend.
One thing to point out is that during the Dutch Grand Prix weekend, Zandvoort and the surrounding areas were not accessible by car. So if you did not want to travel by train, there were options of renting bikes.
Overall, the location is great, easily accessible and everything was really well organised: from finding the right track at the train station to following the crowd to the entrance of the Zandvoort Circuit.
Summary of the Race
It could have not been a more perfect race for the Dutch fans. Max Verstappen was on pole and ended up winning his home Grand Prix. Even the Dutch king was at the track to watch him win the race.
The podium in the end definitely was not anything we had never seen before. Verstappen won the race, Hamilton came in second and Bottas finished third. Gasly came in fourth and hasn’t really been challenged for most of the race, definitely an amazing race for him. Perez got the crowd cheering with some overtakes, but he also started from the pit lane after he did not make it into Q2 and had been given a new engine.
Räikkönen had been tested positive for Corona and therefore did not participate, with Kubica taking his place instead. And then there was this whole thing about the fastest lap with Bottas going for fastest lap, having to abort the attempt in the last sector and then the extra point going to Hamilton in the end.
It has to be said, it certainly was not the most interesting race. The driver that started on pole position ended up winning the Dutch Grand Prix 2021 as well, and there wasn’t much overtaking, apart from the two Haas cars getting lapped. However, if the race seemed boring on TV, it for sure was not boring watching the race at the track yourself.
The Orange Army
Now, I had actually booked tickets for the Verstappen fan block that were not sold through the F1 site, but through the Verstappen shop instead. With the ticket I got an orange Max T-shirt but turned out it definitely did not matter through what page you booked or in which block you were sitting, everything ended up being orange anyway.
I don’t think I have ever seen that many people wearing orange at the same time, not even on Kingsday. There was a lot of orange smoke throughout the weekend, but nothing compared to that moment when Verstappen crossed the finish line.
From all the Formula 1 podcasts and YouTube channels that I listen to, I heard that the atmosphere in Zandvoort was more comparable to a football game rather than a usual Formula 1 race. Since this was my first race I can’t really compare it with other races but either way, the atmosphere was great. From lots of waves through the stadium to singing songs like “Super Max” or “Ik ga zwemmen.”
Around the racing track
When there was no Formula 1 race, there were also other racing competitions throughout the weekend, such as: Formula 3, W series and Porsche cup. And if you weren’t at the racetrack, there were some other activities such as the pit stop challenge, getting nice views from on top of the Ferris wheel or getting a virtual picture taking with your favourite Formula 1 drivers.
Once the racing activities were finished, you could also enjoy some nice views of the beach, which was around a 5-minute walk away. But that also could be 30 minutes if you had to go to an entrance on the other side.
Things to know before going to the Dutch Grand Prix
- The best way to get there is by train: Like mentioned earlier, it was not possible to get to Zandvoort or the surrounding areas by car, so train definitely was the best option. It is also possible to get there with the bike, if you live close enough. But good luck trying to find your bike again later on.
- Bring ear plugs. This might be obvious to you if you have been to a Formula 1 race before, but I didn’t really think of that and ended up buying ear plugs on the second day.
- Nothing wrong with not wearing orange, but just know you will be one of the very few people not wearing orange, if you choose not to.
- If there are smoke flares going up next to you, make sure you have something to cover any valuable clothing etc. I had a hole burned in my flag, which I was a bit upset about.
- And lastly, plan enough time to get there and arrive early. While it might not seem far to get from the train station to the track, it can take its time depending on how many people are doing the same. Make sure to arrive early, so you don’t spend too much time queuing on the way, and you also get to see some other races held on that weekend.
Overall, it was a really amazing experience watching a Formula One race live for the first time. Also, I am super happy I ended up going to the Dutch Grand Prix in Zandvoort, as I was deciding between Spa and Zandvoort at the beginning. The Spa tickets were a little cheaper, but then again, Zandvoort is only about an hour away from where I live. And thanks to the weather, the Spa race didn’t even really happen in the end.
I would love to go to another race again next year if I manage to get tickets, so I will definitely be keeping an eye out on the ticket sales.
Have you been to a Formula 1 race before?
Talk to you later x
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