Why Verstappen’s subdued Dutch GP practice times hide a major shot at a famous home win
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Why Verstappen’s subdued Dutch GP practice times hide a major shot at a famous home win

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Max Verstappen may not have grabbed the headlines during Friday practice on Formula 1’s return to Zandvoort, but there was no hiding the Red Bull driver's pace ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix. The home favourite will now face the test of delivering on a few more critical calls to give the Orange Army a race to remember

Were it not for Max Verstappen’s rise to race-winning prominence at Red Bull, the Dutch Grand Prix simply wouldn’t be making its long-awaited return to the Formula 1 calendar this weekend. He has engaged the passionate ‘Orange Army’ to justify a visit to Zandvoort for the first time since 1985.

The drive into the circuit - past the enormous but tasteful houses nestled in leafy Haarlem and through the small eponymous province on the sea front, which is every bit the doppelganger of Eastbourne - leaves you in no doubt as to who the home hero is. Just about every flat balcony is sporting a flag of some kind, some chequered, while many display the number ‘33’. Fans lined the perimeter roads throughout the humdrum Thursday media day hoping to clap eyes on one driver.

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