This weekend was meant to see the return of the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort following a 35-year absence but the ongoing coronavirus crisis put pay to those plans. 

The Dutch Grand Prix would have marked the fifth round of the 2020 F1 season and the start of the European leg of the campaign. While there are hopes to slot the event into a later stage in the rescheduled calendar once racing can resume, we’ve taken a look at some great moments from the race over the course of its history. 

There have been some special grands prix and magic moments over the years at Zandvoort, so here’s a brief look back at some of the best…

Hesketh shocks Ferrari as Hunt claims maiden F1 win (1975) 

The 1975 Dutch Grand Prix is memorable for being one of the great underdog victories in F1 as James Hunt, who would go on to claim the world championship the following year, sealed his maiden grand prix victory. 

Driving for the Hesketh team which was regarded as a playboy outfit thanks to its flamboyant nature, Hunt called conditions to perfection as he gambled to pit for slick tyres with the track drying seven laps into the race. 

He gained an immediate advantage and led the field ahead of championship Niki Lauda, who was looking to record his fourth straight win for Ferrari that season. Despite Lauda’s best efforts, Hunt kept the faster Ferrari behind to score a memorable victory by a margin of just one second. 

The race provided small privateer operation Hesketh with the standout highlight of its six-year tenure in F1, marking its first and only win. 

Rivals Hunt and Andretti clash (1977) 

A year after triumphing to his first world drivers’ title, reigning world champion Hunt was back to try and claim another win at Zandvoort driving for McLaren. This time, his main rival proved to be American Mario Andretti

At the start, Hunt jumped the front-row starters of Jacques Laffite and Andretti, who had taken his fifth pole position of the season, but immediately came under pressure from Andretti before the end of the first lap. 

Some aggressive defending from Hunt preserved his lead and saw Andretti lose momentum as he briefly slipped to third, before beginning another pursuit on Hunt. The pair went wheel-to-wheel again at Tarzan but this time neither driver backed out, leading to the pair colliding.  

Hunt retired on the spot while Andretti recovered to fourth as Lauda took full advantage to mop up the spoils en route to his second world title.

Villeneuve three-wheels it into retirement (1979) 

Having brilliantly fought his way into the lead with a stunning around-the-outside pass on Alan Jones at Tarzan, Gilles Villeneuve handed the lead back to Jones with a costly spin on Lap 47. 

The Canadian’s left-rear tyre dramatically exploded just after passing the pits four laps later and he once again found himself spinning into the gravel. Villeneuve was undeterred in his efforts to rejoin the race and somehow got himself out of the gravel and began one of the wildest and craziest laps in history. 

Despite his left-rear sparking along the tarmac as he shed rubber across the track, Villeneuve three-wheeled his Ferrari back to the pits at full speed but severe suspension damage ultimately forced him into retirement.  

While the decision was not the smartest he ever made, you have to hand it to Villeneuve for his stubborn determination. 

Title rivals Prost and Piquet crash out (1983)

In the middle of a championship battle, Alain Prost and Nelson Piquet found themselves dicing for the lead mid-way through the 1983 Dutch Grand Prix. 

Prost made a move for the lead on Lap 41 with a late-braking effort into Tarzan but locked up and ran into the side of Piquet’s Brabham, sending the Brazilian into the tyre wall and out of the race on the spot. 

Prost continued for half a lap until his Renault slid off track into the barriers, forcing him into retirement as well. Prost ended the race with a 14-point buffer over Piquet but two consecutive victories and a third-place finish in the final three rounds helped the latter prevail to his second world championship crown. 

Lauda wins for the final time in last Dutch GP (1985) 

The last time the Dutch Grand Prix was held saw a nail-biting scrap between McLaren teammates Niki Lauda and Alain Prost for victory over 70 laps around the old 4.252km Zandvoort track.

Starting 10th on the grid, reigning world champion Lauda was up to fifth by the end of the opening lap. The Austrian pitted earlier than the majority of his key rivals, and found himself in the lead when Prost lost time with a slow pit stop.

With no number one driver rule employed at McLaren, both Lauda and Prost were free to dice it out fair and square for victory, with Prost keen to make the most of the opportunity to pull further clear of title rival and Ferrari driver Michele Alboreto in the championship standings.

Lauda kept the determined Prost at bay in the closing stages and crossed the line just two-tenths clear of the Frenchman as he triumphed to victory with a vintage performance, sealing his 25th and final Grand Prix win in the process.

 

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