As we begin the lap, we immediately notice a factor that could be useful in the race, but as we’ve extensively seen in the performance analysis, it was detrimental in qualifying. We’re talking about the higher speed that Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari achieves at the braking point for the first corner. We can see that Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris braked near the same point, while Verstappen managed to brake much deeper. Midway through the corner, the comparison has improved compared to yesterday, with the Ferrari managing to match the RB19’s minimum speed.
On exit from the first corner, we observe that Carlos Sainz has to modulate the throttle significantly, a sign of an unstable rear on exit. As explained in the performance analysis, the SF-23 suffered from understeer on entry and then experienced oversteer on exit due to the greater steering angle. In essence, there is a considerable lack of front-end grip.
The front-end is too weak, and on the High Downforce track, the aerodynamic package of the Ferrari complicates the search for optimal performance. The comparison becomes notably harsher in corner 2, where Carlos Sainz loses 10 km/h to Max Verstappen. The fastest in these early corners was Lando Norris himself, who set the best sector time, a tenth quicker than Max. With that said, the SF-23 continues to demonstrate good traction capabilities.
Dutch GP 2023/S2: Ferrari Slightly Improves but Still Lacks Minimum Speed
Moving on to the second sector, corners 4, 5, and 6 are taken flat out. The first challenging corner for the cars is number 7, where Norris lost a lot of time mid-corner. He called it an error, but he mentioned struggling to find good mid-corner feeling. The Ferrari performs well in corner 8, remaining only 2 km/h behind the Red Bull, which established a gap in this sector, pulling 3 tenths ahead of McLaren.
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Next, we reach corners 9 and 10, where the Ferrari struggled throughout the entire weekend. Corner 9 proved to be very challenging again, with a loss of around 10 km/h. In corner 10, they manage to stay closer to the top performers. However, in each of these corners, they require corrections on exit and are the last to reach 100% throttle upon exiting.
Dutch GP 2023/S3: Sainz Minimizes Damage in the Third Sector
Finally, we arrive at the third sector, comprising only four corners, with one taken flat out. It’s no coincidence that here the Ferrari manages to stay closer to the competition. After a slight acceleration, we come to corner 11. Here, the Ferrari gains a slight advantage in top speed, reaching 290 km/h. The Red Bull isn’t far behind, indicating exceptional efficiency as they are running a highly loaded rear wing specification.
In corner 12, they lose 3 km/h of minimum speed compared to the Red Bull, and again, the Ferrari driver has to modulate the throttle on exit. In corner 13, which is of medium speed, they lose an additional 6 km/h compared to the RB19. However, they manage to gain ground on the straight leading to the finish line.