Max Verstappen claims pole position ahead of home Dutch Grand Prix

04-09-2021 15:25
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Max Verstappen claims pole position ahead of home Dutch Grand Prix

Max Verstappen has claimed pole position ahead of tomorrow's Dutch Grand Prix, beating out Lewis Hamilton in second by 0.038 seconds and Valtteri Bottas in third place. The Red Bull driver has claimed six out of last seven pole positions. The Dutchman took pole with a lap time of 1:08.885, which was the fastest lap of the weekend. 

Pierre Gasly followed the Mercedes duo, ahead of the Ferrari duo. Charles Leclerc qualified in P5, with Carlos Sainz in P6. However, it was a shocking qualifying from Antonio Giovinazzi who qualified in P7, ahead of the Alpine duo of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo.

Traffic highlights close Q1 battle

The small circuit of Zandvoort was highlighted majorly in Q1 and a tight battle started to form within the top 10. For the first time this weekend as well, no red flag occurred, but it was only an 18 minute qualifying session. However, this didn't take away from the fact it was action-packed. Verstappen took an early lead with his first attempted lap and held the lead for the majority of Q1 with a lap time of 1:10.036. Hamilton and Bottas then followed suit and sat in second and third, but behind them, it was forever changing.

George Russell found himself fifth after a superb lap, towards the end of the session and only 0.346 seconds off Verstappen. As we entered the final minutes of Q1, it started to heat up properly. Leclerc and Sainz both beat Verstappen's time and moved ahead of the Red Bull driver, with the Monegasque finishing on top. A major queue caused Sergio Perez to miss out on completing another lap and this resulted in the Mexican dropping into the elimination zone and missing out on a Q2 appearance. Lando Norris almost joined Perez but was able to find four one-hundredths of a second to eliminate the Mexican. The Williams' duo of Nicholas Latifi and Russell both found themselves in Q2.

Nikita Mazepin was once again at fault as he blocked a fast lap from Sebastian Vettel, causing the German to miss out on a chance at Q2.

OUT IN Q1 - Mazepin, Schumacher, Kubica, Vettel, Perez

Red flag's for Russell and Latifi red in Q2

The drivers were informed of the track speed increasing and it was clearly on show at the start of Q2. Verstappen set a 1:09.071 lap with his first lap of the session, with Bottas and Hamilton, once again, following behind. Both Mercedes drivers were sixth-tenths down on the Dutchman after their first runs. The Ferrari of Leclerc found himself in second throughout the session but was still 0.366 seconds down on Verstappen, after his blistering opening lap.

Russell found himself pushing too hard into the final corner of the lap and spun into the gravel and barriers. The Williams' driver was able to get the car running and back to the pits. The session was red-flagged, allowing the team to work on the car when returned to the pit lane. After looking at the car, Russell had to retire the car and was unable to complete another lap.

A minute later and Latifi was in the barrier and caused another red flag. The Canadian's rear-left wheel dipped into the dirt and sent the Williams car spinning into turn eight. The session was red-flagged and stopped, resulting in five drivers being eliminated early, including Norris.

OUT IN Q2 - Tsunoda, Latifi, Norris, Stroll, Russell

Intense midfield battle in Q3

Verstappen stormed into P1 again, this team reaching the 1:08's for the first time this weekend. Both Hamilton and Bottas were unable to match the Dutchman and were 0.3 seconds down. Gasly followed the Mercedes duo but sat 0.4 seconds behind Hamilton. The Ferrari duo of Leclerc and Sainz were next, with Alonso following his compatriot in seventh. However, the track speed was been improving at the end of each session, meaning that the final laps of Q3 were the most important. Alonso continued the backing-up tricks as he held a large number of drivers back at the pitlane before running for their final laps.

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