Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen took pole position for his home race at the Zandvoort circuit in the Netherlands with a time of 01:08.885s. Speaking following qualifying, Verstappen said:
“It feels great to be on pole position and of course it makes it even more satisfying when it’s at one of your home races. Everyone was going crazy each time I crossed the line and it’s amazing to see people having the time of their lives in the grandstands. I’ve had so much fun already from FP1 driving this track and in qualifying when you’re on low fuel it’s just incredible. Sector two and the banked corners, plus the last corner where you’re flat, it’s a nice sensation and it’s just so enjoyable to drive. It’s an old school track that is flowing and fast like Suzuka where you really feel the grip of a Formula One car, it’s challenging and I enjoy tracks like this. Today we worked really well as a Team and took another good step forward with the car compared to yesterday. Qualifying was quite tricky with the red flags, you could see there was no room for error which is nice and makes it more exciting, but my lap itself was good. There were two occasions where I lost some time, first with a double upshift coming out of Turn 3 where it is very bumpy, and then my DRS didn’t open coming out of the last corner which we need to look into, but fortunately the lap was enough for pole. Of course at this track it’s important to be starting from out in front because it’s very difficult to overtake here so the start will be key and then we need to look after our tyres and be on alert because new tracks can often bring chaos. I expect Mercedes to be strong, you could see the gap was close today, so tomorrow isn’t as straightforward as it seems.”
The result means that Max has closed the gap to two points in the championship to Lewis Hamilton as the pair share the front row of the grid for the sixth time this season.
Hamilton starts the race from second place with a time of 01:08.923s and starts the race just ahead of Valtteri Bottas with a time of 01:09.222s. Speaking following the session Hamilton said:
That was so close. I gave it absolutely everything out there, but Max did a fantastic job and deserved pole position. I’ve been trying to play catch-up after missing most of yesterday’s session, so that made it a bit more of a difficult day. Nevertheless, the car felt good out there and what an amazing track to qualify on. A big thank you to the Dutch fans, I love coming to this country and I really appreciate the welcome I have received. We haven’t seen a crowd like this in a while so hopefully we put on a good show for them tomorrow. It’s going to be tough, because it’s a challenging track to overtake on, but strategy will play a big role. We’ve got two cars at the front, so we’ll both be giving it our all and what a track to go racing on.
Valtteri Bottas commented on his session saying:
That was a fun Qualifying session. It’s a great track to drive, especially in the middle sector where it is so fast, and also the banked corners. There’s a really nice atmosphere here, too. The car has been feeling good, but Red Bull were just a bit out of reach today. We’re still lacking a little bit in the first sector, particularly through Turns 2 and 3. My last lap in Q3 wasn’t the best, I was up on my time until Turn 11 but then got a bit too greedy and braked too late. But we have two cars in the top three and that’s important, so it’s all to play for and we’ll be on the attack tomorrow. It’s a hard track to overtake on but the start and strategy will provide opportunities, so I’m sure we will still see a great race.
Pierre Gasly starts the race from fourth place with a time of 01:09.222s, an identical time to Bottas. Speaking following the action, he said:
“I’m extremely happy getting P4 in Quali today, as it hasn’t been that easy up until this point here, we’ve struggled a bit and lacked some pace in practice. We managed to find some extra time and put a really strong lap together when it counted and it’s great to be able to say we will start tomorrow’s race from the second row. We knew how important Quali was on this track, as it’s going to be quite tricky to overtake during the race, and we were able to do a very good job today. The team gave me a great car and starting tomorrow in such a strong position, I’ll give it all to bring home a good result.”
The Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz start the race from fifth and sixth respectively while Antonio Giovinazzi in the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN machine was the star of qualifying and rolls off from seventh on the grid.
The Alpine F1 Team’s Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso will start in eighth and ninth place respectively while McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo rounds out the top ten and speaking following the session in which he set a Q3 time of 01:10.166s, Ricciardo said:
“75 per cent of quali, in Q1 and Q2, was really good relative to where we thought we were. There were a lot of things that felt good, and the lap times were good. It came to me quite naturally and normally, and I was able to improve a little bit in each corner. I felt comfortable.
“In Q3 I felt like I was lacking grip from Turn One, so it was a bit more of a struggle from then on. We don’t really know why yet. The track might have changed and maybe we just missed something, but we’ll look into that and try to find an answer. It’s frustrating as Q3 dictates the grid and that was our worst run in qualifying. There’re some positives to take from today, but still some unknowns. We’ll keep working at it.
Williams Racing had an extremely disappointing qualifying despite getting both George Russell and Nicholas Latifi in Q2 as both drivers crashed heavily meaning that the Grove-based outfit will have a lot of work to do overnight. Russell is due to start the race from eleventh place on the grid and speaking following the session he said;
Unfortunately, I made a mistake on my final run. I was pushing to my maximum and I was on a really good lap but the rear tyres were right on the limit. I just attacked the final corner too hard and lost the rear of the car, as I knew it would be tight for getting into Q3. We picked up a little bit of damage on the rear suspension but thankfully the gearbox is fine, and it’s nothing that the guys and girls won’t be able to fix overnight. At that point, the lap would have been good enough to promote me into the top-10 so apologies to the team as that is not how I wanted to finish my qualifying session. It’s a circuit that everyone is really going to struggle to overtake at and nobody knows how the tyres are going to react, so it will be interesting to see how the race pans out tomorrow.
Lance Stroll starts the race from 12th place for the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team and speaking following the action the Canadian said:
“It is a real shame that the red flags prevented us from making Q3. We were on for a much better lap and I think it would have been enough. We had pace in the car, so it is a shame not to be able to fully show it. While it is not the result we wanted today, I am already looking forward to qualifying here next year – it is such a fun circuit to drive. From P12 on the grid, I know we can fight for points. I do not expect a lot of overtaking in the race, so making a good start and executing a good strategy will be crucial. Our focus is already on tomorrow and coming back stronger.”
Lando Norris in his McLaren starts the race from 13th place on the grid and speaking following the qualifying session he commented saying;
“Not the day I wanted or that we were expecting – I just didn’t do the best job. I didn’t feel too confident in qualifying to hook it all up and put it together. It’s probably the closest qualifying we’ve had all year. It’s a shame as this is the race we really needed to be strong, but we just didn’t manage it. We also didn’t get that last opportunity to try again because of the red flag. It’s going to make our day tomorrow very tricky, but I think we’re definitely quicker than a few other cars ahead of us, so hopefully we can still score some points.”
Williams Racing’s Nicholas Latifi starts the race from 14th place respectively but his team will have a lot of work to do overnight to repair his car for Sunday’s race. The Canadian, who set a time of 01:11.161s commented saying:
Having seen the replay of my incident in Q2, I think I slightly misjudged the turning point and caught the grass. It’s such a high-speed corner that you can’t really recover from that. We were compromised a bit with the first red flag, but even on used tyres I could see that I was improving my time and so I was pushing hard. It was a big impact, but these cars are very safe and I feel fine. There was a quite a lot of damage caused, so apologies to the guys and girls who will be working hard to fix that for tomorrow.
Yuki Tsunoda starts the race from 15th place with a time of 01:11.314s and speaking following the session he said:
“I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made this weekend, I’ve been building up the lap steadily and this approach has worked really well for me. This is a really fun track to drive and I really enjoyed the Qualifying session, I was feeling confident in the car and it was good to make it through to Q2. It’s unfortunate that there was no opportunity to put a lap altogether in the end with my new tyre, due to the red flag, but it is what it is. The pace is definitely there, I think it might’ve been possible to make it through to Q3, so there are mixed feelings about this afternoon, but overall I am happy with how today went from my side.”
Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Perez will have his work cut out for him as he starts the race from 16th place after setting a time of 01:10.530s and speaking following the action he said:
“I’m really disappointed today because we had such a fantastic car going into qualifying. We were making great progress and could have had two cars up there tomorrow, possibly locking out the front row and so we really didn’t expect to be in this position. We were just so unlucky at the end, people were going so slow in the pit lane and I didn’t manage to get my second lap in, I missed it by just one second and a half. We’ll discuss today together as a group and see what we can learn for the next race as this is how we get stronger as a Team. We know tomorrow will be really difficult to overtake, but this is an unpredictable track, no one knows what to expect and so of course I will try and minimise the damage and score something for the Team.”
Sebastian Vettel starts the race from 17th following a disappointing qualifying for the German who set a 01:10.731s and speaking following the action he said:
“It is a disappointing result and there are lessons to learn today. I think a place in Q2 was achievable with a clear run and I felt good in the car, but there was a lot of traffic that prevented me from getting the chance to complete a push lap and maximise the track evolution. Regardless, we were not able to make a big enough step forward from our encouraging practice pace, so we need to understand why that was the case. It is difficult to overtake here, but anything can happen tomorrow, especially on such a challenging track. We will try to make up ground in the race and take advantage of any opportunities.”
Robert Kubica who is driving in place of Kimi Raikkonen at Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN starts the race from 18th place while the Haas F1 Team’s Mick Schumacher and Nikiti Mazepin round out the order in 19th and 20th place respectively.