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F1: What we learned from practice at the Dutch GP

Friday's practice sessions at the Dutch Grand Prix threw up plenty of questions and were mainly answered by Ferrari, who recorded a one-two in the afternoon.

Charles Leclerc came home ahead of Carlos Sainz in second practice after Mercedes' George Russell had topped the timesheets in the earlier session.

However, it was a different story for home hero Max Verstappen failing to fire in either of his outings and he and Red Bull look to have work to do if he is to win a fourth race on the bounce.

What:Dutch Grand Prix, Qualifying
Where:Zandvoort, Netherlands
When:14:00-15:00, Saturday 3rd September 2022
How to watch:Sky Sports
Odds:Fastest qualifier: Max Verstappen 11/10, Charles Leclerc 15/8, Carlos Sainz 6/1, Lewis Hamilton 8/1, George Russell 10/1

Can Leclerc follow up?

Leclerc has often been the star on Saturday this year, only to lose his grip on the race 24 hours later.

The Monegasque has qualified fastest on seven occasions in 2022 and is 15/8 to do so again at Circuit Zandvoort.

However, his performances have slipped off either side of the break and it is Sainz who has qualified the fastest of the pair at three of the last four meetings.

Sainz was on pole last weekend at Spa by default due to Verstappen's grid penalty and is 6/1 to retain that position on Saturday.

Having been just 0.004 seconds down on Leclerc in second practice and with Red Bull not quite there on Friday, the Spaniard could again find himself at the front of the grid.

Work to do for Verstappen

Despite starting last week's race in Belgium 13th on the grid, Verstappen cruised home to a famous victory and may need a similar performance to claim his 10th win of the season.

The 24-year-old struggled in front of his countrymen, grinding to a halt just 10 minutes into first practice and then only coming home eighth in the afternoon.

Verstappen is 11/10 to be the fastest qualifier on Saturday but he and his Red Bull team have work to do after a frustrating Friday.

Teammate Sergio Perez could only finish 12th fastest in second practice and with the Mexican over a second off the front, Christian Horner's outfit look to be on the back foot.

Perez is 16/1 to qualify on pole and, of course, Friday practice should never be used as an accurate gauge of form. However, there might be an odd bit of panic in Red Bull's part of the paddock.

Error costs Russell

Russell was the man earlier in the day but could only finish fifth in the latter of the two sessions in North Holland.

An error on his fastest lap cost the Brit, who is now 8/1 to qualify fastest. There was better news for Mercedes colleague Lewis Hamilton who showed up well in the afternoon to finish within a 10th of a second of Leclerc.

McLaren's Lando Norris also impressed, coming home an impressive fourth in second practice, while Aston Martin's Lance Stroll was sixth. Alpine's Fernando Alonso was seventh ahead of colleague Esteban Ocon in ninth, with Daniel Ricciardo rounding off the top 10 the second time around in his McLaren.

Piastri to McLaren confirmed

Amongst all the excitement in Zvandvoort, there was also the news that Oscar Piastri will drive for McLaren in 2023.

The Woking outfit had been at odds with his current employers Alpine, who felt they had a valid contract that would see their highly-rated reserve driver replace Alonso for next season.

They even announced his promotion at the start of August, a claim refuted by Piastri and his management, who insisted he had agreed to a deal with McLaren.

A four-person Contract Recognition Board met on Monday for a hearing that lasted until Friday's verdict, which came down on the side of the 21-year-old and his new team.

It has been reported that Alpine's documents did not contain the Australian's signature and he will now drive for McLaren in 2023 and 2024.

The team had been eyeing a replacement for Piastri's compatriot Ricciardo who will depart in the close season and CEO Zak Brown has described the youngster as "one of the up-and-coming talents coming through the feeder series into F1".

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