Verstappen on pole for home race. Just 0.038s ahead of Hamilton

The Orange Army at Zandvoort loved this! Max Verstappen is on pole position for his home race, beating his title rival Lewis Hamilton with a tiny margin of 0.038 seconds.

The Red Bull Racing driver used his second and final run in Q3 to deliver a lap time of one minute, 08.885 seconds at Zandvoort as Valtteri Bottas and Hamilton crossed the line behind Verstappen.

Bottas was next to complete his flying lap but could only manage a time of one minute, 09.222 seconds to fall over three tenths adrift, while Mercedes teammate Hamilton split the difference.

The seven-time champion completed a time of one minute, 08.923 seconds to join Verstappen as the only other driver to dip under the one minute, 09 seconds barrier, but he would end up a competitive 0.03 seconds.

Verstappen had initially been a full eight tenths clear after the first runs in the final portion of qualifying, his one minute, 09.702 seconds pulling clear of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso.

Bottas managed to beat the Alpines for provisional second before Hamilton nipped ahead of his teammate by 0.04 seconds, but was still seven tenths adrift of FP3 pacesetter Verstappen.

Verstappen swiftly improved down to a one minute, 08.923 seconds on his next flying lap before teeing up his ultimate run for pole position.

Pierre Gasly guided his AlphaTauri to a fine fourth place, his final effort falling shy of Bottas by 0.25 seconds as he completed the second row of the grid.

Charles Leclerc led an all-Ferrari third row as he pipped stablemate Carlos Sainz, resuming after a sizeable shunt in final practice, by just one hundredth of a second.

Antonio Giovinazzi progressed soundly into Q3 and snared seventh as the lead Alfa Romeo, while Ocon squeezed ahead of Alonso and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo completed the top ten.

Russell, after ending Q1 in P11 and while running in the same position in Q2, brought out a red flag when he suffered from a snap of oversteer on the entry into the final corner.

Although he careered through the gravel as he span, and the right-rear biffed into the outside Tecpro barrier, he was able to immediately rejoin the track and recover the car to the pits.

The Williams driver, who scored a maiden podium at Spa, had set personal best first and second sectors but would not take part in the remainder of the session.

A potential decline down the order was prevented by his teammate Nicholas Latifi creating a second red flag shortly after Q2 resumed following the 10-minute delay.

Latifi, sitting in P14, appeared to kiss the grass with his front-left wheel as he reached the entry of the medium-speed Turn 8 right-hander.

As he passed a slowing Hamilton, who was positioned off-line on the inside, Latifi spun across the gravel and headed side-on into the exit barrier with three minutes to go.

The session would not be resumed, which left Verstappen’s one minute, 09.071 seconds to head Leclerc by four tenths as Gasly ran to third on a one minute, 09.541 seconds ahead of Hamilton and Bottas by 0.2 seconds.

All drivers stuck to the softest C3 Pirelli tyre compound, which they will use for the race start, to reduce the risk of being eliminated by the considerable track evolution.

With no further times, Russell was the first driver to be eliminated, but held 11th, as Stroll and 13th-placed Norris could not complete their flying laps to fight their way into the top ten.

AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top 15.

Leclerc had set the pace in Q1, his one minute, 09.829 seconds effort creating a two-tenth cushion over teammate Sainz, while Verstappen’s strong early banker of one minute, 10.036 seconds kept him safe in third.

But his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez and Sebastian Vettel were the major casualties of the opening 18-minute leg, as both were eliminated in part due to traffic on their prep laps.

Late improvements for Lance Stroll and Daniel Ricciardo left Vettel prey, and the Aston Martin driver had to abort his final flying lap when he came across the slow Haas cars.

Nikita Mazepin was on a cool-down lap on the run to Turn 13 and he nipped past his slower teammate Mick Schumacher when Mazepin was informed of Vettel’s approach.

Mazepin had let Schumacher back past and then jumped on the accelerator and pulled to the inside, leading both cars to block Vettel, who would classify P17 as a result.

The late improvements of Ricciardo, Ocon and Stroll also meant Perez was bumped out at the first opportunity, his one minute, 10.530 seconds lap missing the cut off by 0.07 seconds behind Tsunoda.

As Giovinazzi ended Q1 fourth fastest, his stand-in teammate Robert Kubica was P18 as he replaced Kimi Raikkonen at Alfa Romeo after the Finn’s positive COVID test.

Kubica, as in FP3, shipped several tenths into Turn 1 and struggled with tyre temperatures on his final run.

Schumacher found 0.5 seconds over Mazepin as the pair of Haas machines formed the back row of the grid. Both drivers have been summoned by the stewards.

So congratulations to Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing in securing pole position at Zandvoort. Overtaking is going to be tricky as the circuit is narrow so getting a top grid slot in qualifying is half the battle won. Can Lewis Hamilton spoil the Orange Army party on Sunday? Let’s wait and see.

Dutch Grand Prix, qualifying positions:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1:08.885
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:08.923
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1:09.222
4 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1:09.478
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:09.527
6 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 1:09.537
7 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:09.590
8 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1:09.933
9 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1:09.956
10 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1:10.166
11 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1:10.332
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1:10.367
13 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1:10.406
14 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1:11.161
15 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 1:11.314
16 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda 1:10.530
17 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 1:10.731
18 Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1:11.301
19 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1:11.387
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari 1:11.875

5 thoughts to “Verstappen on pole for home race. Just 0.038s ahead of Hamilton”

  1. Dutch Grand Prix qualifying review as reported by

    Sixty-five thousand fans were on their feet and euphoric as they watched their home hero Max Verstappen fend off title rival Lewis Hamilton to snatch pole position for the returning Dutch Grand Prix.

    Verstappen looked in control throughout qualifying and cruised through the opening two segments with what appeared to be plenty left in the tank. And he unleashed that pace when it mattered to take provisional pole – and improved again on his second run leading to an eruption in the grandstands.

    Hamilton improved on his final lap – finding two tenths on Verstappen in the final sector – but it wasn’t quite enough as he leapfrogged Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas, 0.038s adrift from Dutchman Verstappen who took his sixth pole position in seven Grands Prix.

    AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly took a superb fourth – equalling his starting spot in Azerbaijan – where incidentally he went on to finish on the podium in third with Charles Leclerc, who was quickest in Q1, the leading Ferrari in fifth.

    Carlos Sainz recovered from a crash in FP3, with the team able to repair the car without the need to replace his gearbox – which would have incurred a grid penalty – to take sixth, while contender for driver of the day Antonio Giovinazzi equalled his best-ever qualifying performance with seventh.

    Esteban Ocon outqualified Alpine team mate Fernando Alonso to take the lead in the head-to-head 7-6, though he pipped the double world champion by just 0.023s, while Daniel Ricciardo completed the top 10, finishing ahead of Lando Norris on a Saturday for the second successive Grand Prix weekend.

    But the day belonged to Verstappen, who rode high on the immense support from his orange-clad army that have been in party mood from the moment the gates to Zandvoort opened on Saturday morning. Can he convert pole, on a track where overtaking could be difficult, into victory to finish the job? We’ll find out tomorrow…

    Q1 – Perez and Vettel the big scalps as traffic causes problems

    Mercedes took a different path to the rest of the field as they sent their drivers out on the mediums, while everyone else went soft. It proved a good decision, as they coasted through to Q2. But it wasn’t so smooth for others.

    Lando Norris scraped through in 15th, but that pushed Sergio Perez into the drop zone and out of qualifying having had his final run compromised when he got stuck in traffic in the pit lane.

    He was joined in an early exit by Sebastian Vettel, who got baulked heavily by Nikita Mazepin in the final sector, which forced him to react quickly to avoid an accident and ended hopes of taking any further part.

    Robert Kubica, standing in for Kimi Raikkonen who tested positive for Covid-19, was a respectable 18th – having had just one hour of practice to get acquainted with this new circuit, with the Haas duo of Mick Schumacher and Mazepin taking the bottom two places.

    Ferrari did a tremendous job to repair Carlos Sainz’s car after his FP3 crash – and he shot through in second, two tenths of a second behind behind team mate Charles Leclerc with Verstappen third. Antonio Giovinazzi impressed to go a brilliant fourth, while Nicholas Latifi made it another Q2 on the bounce with the fifth fastest time, as the duo made the most of the track ramping up in terms of grip.

    Knocked out: Perez, Vettel, Kubica, Schumacher, Mazepin

    Q2 – Norris knocked out as Russell and Latifi crash

    Mercedes headed out on a used set of softs – the tyres they used for a lap at the end of Q1 – but they still wouldn’t have expected to be around seven tenths of a second slower than Verstappen’s stellar lap on fresh boots.

    Ricciardo put in a very tidy lap to go sixth, but his team mate Norris continued to struggle for pace and was in the drop zone with Russell, Stroll, Latifi and Tsunoda after the first runs were ticked off.

    The session was then red-flagged when George Russell crashed at Turn 13 on his second run, the Williams driver admitting he “pushed too hard”. He managed to get going and retreat to the pits, but the damage was enough for his team to call time on his session.

    Just a couple of minutes had passed when qualifying got back under way when the other Williams of Latifi crashed heavily at Turn 8 when he put a wheel on the dirt on entry. It took him some time to get out of the car, but fortunately he was able to climb out unaided. With less than two minutes to go, the F1 Race Director Michael Masi chose not to restart.

    That meant Norris, Stroll and Tsunoda were robbed of the opportunity to complete their laps and try and progress into Q3. Verstappen ended up quickest, ahead of Leclerc, Gasly, Hamilton and Bottas.

    Knocked out: Russell, Stroll, Norris, Latifi, Tsunoda

    Q3 – Verstappen sends crowd wild as he sweeps to pole

    Verstappen set the pace right out of the blocks, clocking the fastest lap of the weekend, with Bottas slotting into second 0.3s off, with Hamilton just a fraction behind, as Gasly provided the sternest challenge from elsewhere.

    By this point, the crowd had built to fever pitch and were up on their feet cheering each car that went by, Verstappen getting the loudest support, with music blaring out to maintain the festival atmosphere that has been ever-present since the weekend kicked off on Thursday.

    Next time around, Verstappen went even quicker, with Hamilton’s strong final sector enough to lift him one place to second, but just off pole. Gasly maintained fourth, while Giovinazzi improved to go one place higher, behind the Ferrari duo and ahead of the Alpine pair.

  2. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen unaware of DRS failure on Dutch Grand Prix pole lap. has the full details.

    Max Verstappen did not know his DRS failed on his pole lap ahead of Formula 1’s 2021 Dutch Grand Prix, which combined with a “double shift” to cost him 0.25s.

    The Red Bull driver snared his 10th pole position, seven of which have arrived this season, at his home circuit of Zandvoort ahead of Mercedes rivals Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

    Verstappen, who had set the pace in Q2, delivered three flying laps in the final part of qualifying and remained at the top of the times after each effort.

    But on his last and quickest run, setting a 1m08.885s effort to find a 0.038s cushion over Hamilton,

    Verstappen crossed the timing line on the main straight without DRS assistance.

    The Dutch racer had activated the aid through the first half of his lap, on the run from Turn 10 to 11, before it remained shut out of the banked Turn 14 and on the run to the line.

    While Verstappen was initially unaware of the flap staying closed, he did cite a double shift earlier in the lap as already having cost him over a tenth of a second.

    Asked by if the DRS flap had remained shut deliberately or as a result of a late fault aboard his RB16B, Verstappen replied: “Is that so? I don’t know.

    “Out of Turn 3, it was quite bumpy, and I had a double shift. So, I was two tenths up on my lap and I lost like one-and-a-half tenths all the way to Turn 7.

    “You also use more energy because you’re a gear higher. So I derated as well. I don’t know, I need to check.”

    The time lost by the double shift, coupled with Red Bull team principal Christian Horner’s estimate over the DRS penalty, meant up to a quarter of a second had been spurned.

    Horner explained: “We saw a lack of straightline speed down that straight and it looks like the DRS hasn’t opened properly.

    “So, he’s probably given away a tenth, a tenth-and-a-half. But an amazing performance by him and under massive pressure. Really happy with that.”

    Verstappen added that Zandvoort had felt “incredible” during his low-fuel qualifying laps and credited his home fans for having made his pole “very satisfying”.

    He said: “[The track] was already a lot of fun, I have to say, from FP1. But in qualifying, of course, when you go very low fuel, it was incredible.

    “Especially sector two was really enjoyable to drive. Even the banked corners. OK, the last one is flat. Still, it’s a nice sensation. It’s been really incredible.

    “And then of course, driving at home with all these fans, they were going crazy every time I was crossing the line. So to have a pole position here is very satisfying.”

  3. With Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in P2 and P3, Mercedes can split their Dutch Grand Prix race strategies to topple Max Verstappen. has the news story.

    Mercedes says it is ready to split strategies with its cars in Formula 1’s Dutch Grand Prix in a bid to stop Max Verstappen winning on home ground.

    While Verstappen grabbed pole position for his home race, the Dutchman is left in an exposed position strategy wise by having two Mercedes cars right behind him.

    That was caused by teammate Sergio Perez failing to make it out of Q1 when he was released too late from the pits for his final run and failed to make it across the line to complete a final flyer.

    With it looking marginal as to whether a one-stop or two-stop strategy will be the best way to go on Sunday, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says his team is ready to cover both options – which would leave Verstappen in a potentially tricky spot of having to choose which way to go.

    Speaking to Sky, Wolff said: “I think if we’re able to have the same pace in the race, again it’s going to be about survival on a one-stop.

    “Max needs to make a decision. Is he going for a one-stop, or is he going for a two-stop?

    “I think we can play both strategies tomorrow. We’ve seen that you can have two cars that can actually go totally different, and certainly, pitting one, undercutting, with massive pressure, then leaving the other out, can help you finish one and two.”

    Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was well aware of the potential advantage that Mercedes could have, but said it would be silly to focus on anything other than beating main title rival Lewis Hamilton.

    “We’ve just got to get our head down and get on with our own race,” he said. “In a perfect world, we would drive away at the front. I just somehow think it’s not going to be that simple.

    “They have got two guys that they can split their options with. But the key guy we have to beat obviously is Lewis, so you have got to pick your fights.”

    Although Mercedes has two cars near the front, Wolff is mindful that Verstappen may not be completely without an ally – thanks to AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly ending up fourth on the grid.

    “They have Gasly, so they have a shadow car,” he said. “I think we need to be satisfied with where we ended up. Lewis missed out a lot yesterday on running, and at the end he put one lap together. So P2, P3, that’s a good starting point.”

  4. This was another challenging qualifying session for Checo Perez. The Red Bull driver said that the Q1 exit at Zandvoort was “really hard to digest”. has the details.

    Sergio Perez says his Zandvoort Q1 exit is “really hard to digest” after a few factors combined to leave him 16th in Formula 1 qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix.

    Perez was the first driver to take the chequered flag in Q1, initially going eighth, but significant track evolution meant he was shuffled down to 16th and eliminated in the opening stage of qualifying.

    It marked a major setback for Perez and Red Bull. Overtaking is set to be difficult at Zandvoort on Sunday due to the track layout, and polesitter Max Verstappen is left alone at the front against the two Mercedes cars without the support of his teammate.

    Perez explained after qualifying that a combination of misjudging the likely cut-off time, the track evolution and traffic ahead of his final lap led to “a bit of a mess”.

    “We didn’t manage to complete the lap, I think we missed out by 1.5 seconds, or something like that,” Perez said.

    “It’s extremely frustrating, because we definitely had the pace today to lock the front row. I think I was progressing well, I was feeling more comfortable as the run was progressing.

    “Tomorrow is going to be a very hard one, but I look forward to try and score something, minimise the damage tomorrow.”

    Perez said the processes with his engineers to keep him updated on the on-track scenario would be “something I’d like to discuss internally”, and that he wouldn’t put blame on anyone for the Q1 drop-out.

    “I think we are all to blame for [it],” Perez said. “That’s how we approach, and that’s why we are a strong team.”

    It marked the second weekend in a row where Perez has failed to qualify near the front of the field, having slumped to seventh place in wet conditions at Spa last week.

    “Obviously we are a new group of people in the team, so we’re just getting on top of things,” Perez said.

    “I think Belgium and here were two examples that things we could have done better, and we’re just learning, and I think with time, making sure that we learn from our mistakes. It’s how we will get stronger as a team.

    “It hurts, it hurts really badly. Really, really hard to digest, this one, knowing the level of car that we have underneath us.

    “There’s nothing I can do now. I am certain we will learn from it, and just move on.”

    Perez revealed that Red Bull was considering taking a grid penalty to gain an additional engine after losing one in his Hungary crash, meaning a grid drop was inevitable at some point this year.

    With overtaking coming at a premium from 16th on the grid, it would appear to be a sensible place for the team to take the additional engine and trigger a penalty.

    “We are thinking about it,” Perez said. “We will consider all the possibilities.”

  5. Nikita Mazepin says Haas Formula 1 teammate Mick Schumacher deliberately ruined his final lap in qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix, leaving him “really annoyed” and “f***** off”.

    Mazepin was passed by Schumacher as both drivers came to prepare for their final laps in Q1 at Zandvoort, bunching up near the final corner.

    Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel was completing a flying lap as he approached the Haas cars, and was forced to back out, resulting in the stewards investigating the incident.

    The FIA ultimately took no action, saying that while Vettel was impeded, there were six cars at the final corner going slowly, meaning it was not “unnecessary impeding” as written in the regulations.

    Schumacher and Mazepin qualified 19th and 20th, respectively, but Mazepin was left angry after qualifying that Schumacher had overtaken him, saying the German driver ruined his lap on purpose.

    “I’m really annoyed, to be honest, because it should have not been that difficult with traffic,” Mazepin said.

    “As you know [how] the rules in an F1 team work, one weekend you are the first car, the next weekend, you’re the second car. This weekend was my turn to be the first car, and I once in Imola overtook the first car, when I was the second, and I got a bollocking from the team.

    “Now this has happened to me the second time when my teammate overtakes me and then bumps me into the traffic, and then f**** my last attempt in qualifying on purpose.

    “So I’m not happy because if you do it once, and you didn’t know about it, that’s fine, but when you keep doing it twice, that’s deliberate.

    “There shouldn’t be tension like that in the team, so I’m f***** off.”

    Asked if he had spoken to the team about it, Mazepin said: “I already told the team what I think and I agree, but I don’t know what the other party says.”

    But Schumacher claimed after the session that he had asked Haas over team radio if he was allowed to pass Mazepin, and had been given the go ahead to.

    Speaking to Sky Germany about Mazepin’s comments, Schumacher said: “I don’t quite know what he’s talking about.

    “I don’t know if his crew put it through to him, but I asked if I could overtake him because my tyres were quite cold and he usually does a lap slower than mine.

    “I got the OK and accordingly passed him early enough and then also had Lando [Norris] between us.

    “So there was no reason to make a drama out of it, because his lap wasn’t ruined because of that.

    “I believe that we will discuss this internally with the team and Gunther will then also comment on it. But from my side, I don’t think we did anything wrong.”


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