The 2023 Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix proved to be a complicated race for Scuderia Ferrari, the team leaving Zandvoort with a fifth place courtesy of Carlos Sainz, who put in a solid and gritty performance in extremely difficult track conditions. Unfortunately, Charles Leclerc had to retire following a first-lap collision with Oscar Piastri.
The race. The weather made life difficult, with the formation lap being dry before the rain came down really hard as the lights went out at Zandvoort. Charles pitted at the end of the opening lap to switch from Soft to Intermediate tyres, while Carlos came in the next time round. After every one, with the exception of Alex Albon, had pitted, the Ferraris found themselves in fifth and seventh places. However, it was immediately clear that Leclerc’s SF-23 had sustained damage in the collision with Piastri. The front wing was changed, but the floor was also damaged. Nevertheless, Charles continued at a much slower pace, a second a lap off his team-mate, but as the problem got progressively worse, the decision was taken to retire the car.
Middle stints. Sainz’s race continued without much change, and when the track dried, he twice pitted for Softs. He made no mistakes and put in solid stints, getting as high as third, partly thanks to a slow stop from Fernando Alonso, who later got ahead of Carlos again. Eventually, he dropped to fifth as he was also passed by Pierre Gasly. With nine laps remaining, it started to rain very heavily, and two laps later, the race was red-flagged as Guanyu Zhou crashed. The race resumed 35 minutes later with seven laps remaining. Conditions were very tricky on Intermediate tyres on a very slippery track, but none of the front runners made any mistakes, so although Carlos was now running with very old tyres, he was able to take the chequered flag in fifth place.
Heading home. The World Championship is back on track in a matter of days with what is the most special race for the Scuderia, the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, where the team can expect a warm welcome from its “Tifosi.”
Carlos Sainz #55
We had a good race execution overall, with no mistakes in these difficult conditions. For the last stint, we had to fit a very used set of Intermediates from yesterday, and it was all about defending. I gave absolutely everything from the first lap to the last, but unfortunately, P5 was the maximum we could achieve this weekend.
It’s good points, and we have gained ground over Mercedes and McLaren on a difficult weekend for the team. We obviously want more, and we will keep pushing. Now I’m looking forward to our home race at Monza next weekend.
Charles Leclerc #16
It was a tricky race on my side. When I arrived at the last corner on lap 1, I saw how much rain was coming down and decided to call for a pit stop. I knew it was a late one, but at the same time, I also knew that it would be worth it in the end because we had more to gain than to lose there.
Unfortunately, after Oscar (Piastri) and I touched, I had damage on my floor, and the issue got worse over the course of the race, ultimately leading to our retirement. It’s not been the weekend we wished for overall, but I’m already looking forward to our home race in Monza next week.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
It was definitely a busy weekend, run in very difficult conditions. Carlos drove a great race, managing to match the pace of those ahead up until the rain returned. At that point, he had to deal with the handicap of running Intermediates that had done more laps than those of the drivers around him, and he did well to keep two strong competitors, Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris, behind him, thus bringing home the best result possible in these circumstances.
Charles’ race was compromised on the opening lap when there was a collision with Oscar Piastri, which caused damage to his SF-23. We felt it would be enough to change the front wing, but unfortunately, the floor was also damaged, and that got worse with every passing lap, to the point that we decided to retire him.
Now we focus on Monza, our home race, where we want to execute the weekend perfectly from every point of view so that the drivers can get everything there is to be had out of our package.