Max Verstappen snatched pole position – his 17th in Formula 1 – for the Dutch Grand Prix to send his home fans delirious at Zandvoort.
The huge, orange-clad crowd had arrived in the hope of seeing Verstappen claim pole followed by a race win for the second consecutive year on Sunday, and he did not let them down in getting the first part of the job done.
Despite original fears of damp weather, the sun shone over the seaside circuit on the North Sea coast and the track ramped up as Q1 progressed,
although Verstappen’s early benchmark of a 1:11.317 – over a second faster than anyone at the time – stood the test.
That was certainly too much for the five eliminated drivers to cope with, they being from five different teams – Nicholas Latifi (Williams) slowest of all in 20th,
Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) in 19th after running into the gravel on his final effort, Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) in 18th, Kevin Magnussen (Haas) in 17th and Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) in 16th.
Q2 was briefly red-flagged, with only Alex Albon on track, due to a (banned) orange flare being thrown onto the circuit, although the Williams driver was more concerned with “a ton of pigeons” that were chased away by a marshal during the hiatus.
Of the top teams, it was Ferrari whose pace was initially the most disconcerting and their drivers were seventh and ninth going into the final runs.
But they leaped up the leaderboard as both Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso, AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, Albon and Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu were knocked out.
That meant Q3 appearances for Lance Stroll, Mick Schumacher, and Yuki Tsunoda, perhaps exceeding expectations in some if not all of those cases.
Sadly for Stroll, a problem with his car meant he could not run in the top-10 shootout
Verstappen set the initial standard with a 1:10.515 despite going a touch wide in Turn 3 but that was then eclipsed by Leclerc who took provisional pole position.
The Ferrari man clipped another tenth off that time on his final go but was beaten by Verstappen – whose team-mate Sergio Perez spun to bring out yellow flags and confirm the Dutchman on a pole on home soil.
Check out our full report for Dutch Grand Prix qualifying.
Classification 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:10.342 2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +0.021 3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari +0.092 4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.306
5 Sergio Perez Red Bull +0.735 6 George Russell Mercedes +0.805 7 Lando Norris McLaren +0.832 8 Mick Schumacher Haas +1.100
9 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri +2.214 10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin No time (Q3) 11 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri +0.698 (Q2) 12 Esteban Ocon Alpine +0.7918 Mick Schumacher Haas +1.100
13 Fernando Alonso Alpine +0.799 14 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo +0.890 15 Alex Albon Williams +0.988 16 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Racing +0.644 (Q1)r Haas +1.100
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas +0.724 18 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren +0.764 19 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin +1.074 20 Nicholas Latifi Williams +2.036
“I’m Still a Virgin”: 24-Year-Old Max Verstappen Sends F1 World Into a Frenzy Over ‘Innocent’ Confession