Sunday’s 2023 Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort was a real treat of a race in the middle of an absurdly dominant season from Max Verstappen. Despite him clinching another victory (his record-equaling ninth in a row), some early rains made things interesting with extremely changeable conditions and several drivers out of place. A round of pit stops in response triggered the perfect conditions for another record to fall: The most overtakes in a single F1 race with an astounding 186 passes.
Normally, Zandvoort is a tough circuit to overtake on because of how narrow and sweeping it is. It’s a track that's conducive to high-speed, downforce-dependent cornering with effectively two hard braking zones where modern F1 cars can pass. This rulebook was thrown out of the window because of the wet conditions. With cars on slicks at the start of the race and heavy rain beginning on lap two, the mix of confident drivers, teams timing pit stops, and dynamic conditions resulted in an overtaking paradise.
According to an analysis by Reddit user catchingisonething on r/formula1, the 186 overtakes are bona fide passes on track, not counting position changes due to pit stops. In the third lap, right after the rain started coming down more heavily, no less than 63 overtakes were completed in a single lap, beating the previous record of 45. It's worth noting that the record is classified as unofficial because it's not technically verified by F1 race control or the FIA. However, the number is accurate and is easily compared against previous races.
Alpine's Esteban Ocon did the most overtakes with 14, while Fernando Alonso and Lando Norris completed 13 overtakes each. Almost everyone completed an overtake except for Logan Sargeant. Valtteri Bottas was overtaken 21 times—more than anyone else. While most overtakes were done early in the race, the distribution of passes was fairly even throughout the race. Those who watched know there was plenty of action to go around.
While it does take a surprise rain shower to make things interesting this season, we must appreciate the good ones as they come. And the 2023 Dutch GP was a good one.
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