To the delight of the gigantic ‘orange sea’ of fans spread across the stands of Zandvoort, Max Verstappen shone, confirmed his favoritism and conquered the pole-position of the Dutch GP. Entitled to a devastating lap, the Dutchman, vice-leader of the Drivers’ World Championship in the 2021 season, secured his tenth pole in his career by scoring 1:08s885, starting as a favorite to win this Sunday in his home race.
But it wasn’t an easy pole, by the way. That’s because Lewis Hamilton, on his final lap, was just 0.038 behind Verstappen. It was enough for the seven-times champion to secure a place in the front row of the grid, while Valtteri Bottas will start in third, followed by Pierre Gasly, on another flawless journey with AlphaTauri this season. The Frenchman will share the second row of the grid with the second Mercedes driver.
The third row will have the Ferrari duo: Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. Antonio Giovinazzi, the most surprising name of the weekend, will start in seventh place with Alfa Romeo, alongside Esteban Ocon’s Alpine. Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo complete the list of the top ten on the grid.
Watch now the BRIEFING, live program on the BIG PRIZE on YouTube, which dissects everything about the Netherlands GP standings.
Formula 1 accelerates this Sunday, at 10 am (GMT-3), for the start of the Dutch GP. An hour before, the BIG PRIZE presents the BRIEFING pre-race with the preview of the stage in Zandvoort and the latest information before the start.
Find out how the F1 Netherlands GP classification went
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Q1: Pérez and Vettel out; Giovinazzi and Latifi fly
With open skies and zero chance of rain, according to the weather forecast for Saturday’s sequence, Formula 1 accelerated with a fundamental classification in the Netherlands. Due to the characteristics of the track and the expected difficulty to overcome, the position on the grid is essential to obtain a great result this Sunday at Zandvoort.
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Räikkönen tests positive for Covid-19 and misses Alfa Romeo. Kubica runs
The session began with the presence of Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard hit the TL3 hard and had his Ferrari badly damaged. After hours of work to get the car in order — and without the need to change gears, for example — it all worked out, and the driver accelerated into Zandvoort this afternoon.
It took some time for the favorites to leave the pits in Q1. Yuki Tsunoda, Nicholas Latifi, Robert Kubica — replacement for Kimi Räikkönen, sidelined after testing positive for Covid-19 —, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin won the track in the opening minutes.
But soon the protagonists really accelerated in Zandvoort. Sergio Pérez was the first of the top team drivers to turn time: 1min10s700. But all attention was on Max Verstappen. The home owner crushed his teammate’s mark in 0s664 to turn 1min10s036. Both Red Bull cars were on soft tires.
Mercedes sent its two drivers to the track on medium tires. Lewis Hamilton passed in second, while Valtteri Bottas was fifth in the first released lap. Pierre Gasly appeared well in third, followed by Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari. Fernando Alonso was sixth, two positions ahead of Esteban Ocon. Among them was Perez on the timesheet.
Still on medium tyres, Hamilton improved his time a little more on the second lap and was 0.078 behind Verstappen, while Bottas appeared in third, followed by Gasly and Leclerc. Pérez was still in seventh place.
In a great phase and driven by the achievement of an unprecedented podium in his career, George Russell made an excellent lap, with the best time in the first sector, and went from P15 to fifth place in the timesheet. Williams were also doing well with Nicholas Latifi, who was in tenth place with 2 minutes left in Q1.
The best times were left for the end of the segment. Ferrari put its two cars back in a double, with Charles Leclerc in first and Carlos Sainz in second. The Monegasque clocked 1min09s829 on his fast lap, leaving Verstappen in third. Another one who surprised was Antonio Giovinazzi, who placed Alfa Romeo in fourth, while Latifi improved his time even more and finished fifth.
On the other hand, Q1 saw the downfall of two big names from the grid: Pérez was eliminated and will start in 16th, one position ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who was blocked on his quick lap by the Haas of Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher, who they were also out of the session, as was Robert Kubica.
Q2: Williams duo raises red flags; Norris is eliminated
The owner of the house was the one who opened the queue in the second part of the classification. The Dutchman clocked 1min09s071 on soft tires and raised the orange sea in the stands at Zandvoort. This time, the two Mercedes drivers took to the track with the red compounds. On the first pass, Hamilton was 0s655 slower than Max, while Bottas was 0.043 behind his teammate.
The Mercedes duo was surpassed by Leclerc, with a Ferrari going very well throughout the weekend, and also by Gasly, in a great performance throughout the entire season. Daniel Ricciardo appeared with a good performance in Q2 and occupied sixth place.
The Williams duo, who performed great in Q1, were still out of the Q3 qualifying zone. Russell made a mistake entering turn 13, spun past the gravel pit, stopping only at the tire protection barrier. The incident caused the test direction to raise the red flag, the fifth of the weekend. The clock was stopped at 3:54 to the end of Q2.
Even after hitting the protective barrier, Russell managed to get the car to the pits and was ready to get back on track after resuming practice.
The session resumed with virtually all cars back on track for the final quick lap attempts to secure a spot in the final qualifying round. But there wasn’t even time to warm up properly. Latifi came fast at turn 7, escaped from the rear and crashed into the barrier. New red flag, which made the race direction anticipate the end of Q2.
Moved to Q3: Verstappen, Leclerc, Gasly, Hamilton, Bottas, Ricciardo, Sainz, Ocon, Alonso and Antonio Giovinazzi, confirming the great weekend in Zandvoort. And fell in Q2 Russell, Lance Stroll, Lando Norris — out of Q3 for the first time this season — Nicholas Latifi and Yuki Tsunoda.
During the stoppage, Jonathan Wheatley, sporting director for Red Bull, told Michael Masi that Mercedes used the tire blankets on Hamilton and Bottas’ cars longer than allowed. Promise of more controversy in sight
Q3: Verstappen puts on a show and guarantees pole at home. But Hamilton is very close
Verstappen avoided wasting time and hit the track right after the start of Q3. Assaulting, the Red Bull driver turned 1min08s923 and practically secured the pole-position at home. Bottas was second fastest, but 0s299 slower than the Dutchman, while Hamilton was third, 0s345 behind Max.
Also highlighted, in the first lap, for Gasly, who managed the feat of overcoming the Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz. Alonso was seventh, followed by Giovinazzi, who made a big comeback and positioned himself ahead of Ricciardo and Ocon.
Mercedes’ only hope of ousting the weekend’s favorite was in the last attempt at a quick lap in Q3.
Alonso held the peloton at the exit of the pit-lane to have more room when opening his lap. But the fact is that the time for others to make it to the finish line was very restricted.
Verstappen managed to open his fast lap and had a clear lane ahead to try to improve his time even more. The first sector was bad, but the Dutchman was faster in the second part of the track and confirmed his great performance with 1min08s885, a time that confirmed his achievement of pole in front of the public in Zandvoort. But it was very close, as Hamilton made an exceptional lap and was just 0s038 behind the host.
Also highlights for Gasly, who confirmed fourth place on the grid in Zandvoort, and Antonio Giovinazzi, who equaled his best grid in his career and will open the Dutch GP Sunday in seventh position.
F1 2021, Netherlands GP, Zandvoort, Start Grid:
|1||M VERSTAPPEN||Red Bull Honda||1:08,885|
|4||P GASLY||AlphaTauri Honda||1:09,478||+0.593|
|7||THE GIOVINAZZI||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:09,590||+0.705|
|10||D RICCIARDO||McLaren Mercedes||1:10.166||+1,281|
|11||G RUSSELL||Williams Mercedes||1:10.332||+1,447|
|12||L STROLL||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:10.367||+1,482|
|14||NO LATIFI||Williams Mercedes||1:11.161||+2,276|
|15||Y TSUNODA||AlphaTauri Honda||1:11.314||+2,429|
|16||S PEREZ||Red Bull Honda||1:10.530||+1,645|
|17||S VETTEL||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:10.731||+1,846|
|18||R KUBICA||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:11,301||+2,416|
|19||M SCHUMACHER||Haas Ferrari||1:11.387||+2,502|
|20||N MAZEPIN||Haas Ferrari||1:11,875||+2,990|