The grandstands around the 2.6-mile circuit on the Dutch dunes will fill with seas of orange as the home fans arrive en masse to cheer on local star Max Verstappen. The championship leader has won both races at Zandvoort since its return to Formula 1 in 2021 on his way to both his titles, and there's little to suggest that he won't make it a hat trick of home heroics this year.
What to watch out for in the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix
While all indications point to another Verstappen win, this is the first time the drivers will race in four weeks, and there are plenty of unknowns entering the weekend. Recent qualifying sessions have shown how close the drivers are on single-lap pace, with Verstappen not starting on pole since Silverstone three races ago.
The ten teams had to stop all development or performance-related work for a fortnight over the summer break, but there's no way to stop engineering minds from thinking. The tightness of the field — for 19 of the drivers, at least — means that any eureka moment for an engineer sipping piña coladas on holiday could change the pecking order.
Aston Martin and McLaren have both demonstrated that it's possible to make sizeable gains in Formula One's current era, with the latter enjoying impressive recent form from drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri. Can any other team enjoy the same leap in performance as the season's final ten races begin, and if so, can they close the gap to Red Bull Racing and Verstappen out front?
2023 Dutch Grand Prix Pirelli Tyre Choices
It's the second-hardest trio of rubber for the Dutch GP, with Pirelli bringing the C1, C2, and C3 compounds for the duel in the dunes. The banked corners, including the final DRS-enabled turn, put the tyres through incredible load leading to the Italian manufacturer bringing three resilient tyres to Zandvoort.
Pit stop strategies should mean each driver will make at least two trips to the pits over the race, with last year's Dutch Grand Prix even featuring three stoppers thanks to a late-race safety car. The incredible streak of wet weather might also continue, with forecasts suggesting a 50% chance that rain could hit the track around Saturday's qualifying for some wet-tyre running.
Who could win the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix?
Red Bull Racing took the record for consecutive race wins before the summer break, and the next milestone to beat will be Verstappen breaking the most consecutive wins. Sebastian Vettel holds that title from his final championship-winning year in 2013 when he concluded the season by taking nine victories in a row. Should Verstappen triumph in front of his home crowd, he'll match that number and head to Monza hunting for the outright crown.
As impervious as Verstappen looks, he hasn't had everything go his way in recent races. Norris and Piastri showed that they weren't scared of the two-time champion over the last three races, and Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton were the drivers starting from P1 in Hungary and Belgium. Red Bull might face stiffer competition if any of these drivers' teams, McLaren, Ferrari, or Mercedes, found some summer improvements.