F1 Dutch Grand Prix Qualifying: Max Verstappen takes pole on home turf

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took his first home grand prix pole position after he put in a blistering lap to stop Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton from securing the top spot by 0.038 seconds.

Robert Kubica rejoined the grid this weekend as the Polish driver came in to replace Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen, who tested positive for Covid-19.

Both Williams Racing drivers, George Russell and Nicholas Latifi brought out red flags in Q2 as the duo crashed out in the later stages of the second qualifying session.

Q1

After one minute of being in the pits, after the green light was shown at the exit of the pit lane, Haas’ Mick Schumacher was the first driver to venture out onto the Zandvoort circuit – followed by teammate, Nikita Mazepin.

However, Alpha Tauri’s Yuki Tsunoda set the first representive time to beat, despite both Haas drivers completing their laps first. However, Tsunoda’s lap was quickly beaten by Williams’ Nicholas Latifi who set a 1:11.699.

It wasn’t long until the big teams started to top the timing boards as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen set the fastest lap with a 1:10.036. With eight minutes left, Hamilton cut the gap down to 0.078 seconds behind the Red Bull’s dutchman, in P2 with his Finnish teammate, Valtteri Bottas in P3 – 0.183 second behind Verstappens pace.

With less than five minutes to go, there was less than a second separating Williams’ George Russell, who was sat in 15, to Verstappen’s fastest lap. By the time the chequered flag was flown at the end of the session, Russell had climbed out of the danger zone and into P11 to qualify for Q2.

Eliminated:

20. Nikita Mazepin (Haas)

19. Mick Schumacher (Haas)

18. Robert Kubica (Alfa Romeo)

17. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)

16. Sergio Perez (Red Bull Racing)

Q2

As the light went green to start Q2, Latifi ventured out onto the Dutch circuit followed by Verstappen while the remainder of the grid sat in their garages. Once Verstappen was on his flying lap, everyone started to peel back onto the track.

As usual, Verstappen set the quickest time on the board with a blistering 1:09.071 lap while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly temporarily secured the remainign top 3 places, respectively.

Russell brought out the first red flag of qualifying as his FW43 rotated around through oversteer, skipped over the gravel and collided with the barrier, at turn 11. Fortunately, he was able to remove his car from the gravel trap and get it back to the pit lane for inspection. However, the young Briton had sustained too much suspension damage and could not return to the track to complete Q2.

However, Q2 was suddenly brought to a halt after Latifi oversteered, skimmed over the gravel – similar to his teammate Russell – and smashed into the barrier, on the exit of turn seven. This brought out the second red flag of the session, which was not continued.

Eliminated:

15. Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri)

14. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)

13. Lando Norris (McLaren)

12. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)

11. George Russell (Williams)

Q3

In the shootout for pole position, McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo led Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi out onto the Zandvoort cirtcuit. But, it wasn’t long before Verstappen smashed the Alfa Romeo’s and McLaren’s time out of the water with a blistering hot lap of 1:08.923. Both Mercedes could not beat that time as Bottas secured second (+0.299) and Hamilton in third (+0.345) behind the flying Dutch driver.

Despite Hamilton and Bottas’ best efforts, the Mercedes duo was unable to topple Verstappen from securing a pole position at his home grand prix. Although Hamilton was only 0.038 seconds behind the Red Bull driver.

Top 10:

10. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)

9. Fernando Alonso (Alpine)

8. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)

7. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)

6. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

4. Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri)

3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)

2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 1:08.885

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