Red Bull’s Max Verstappen clinched pole position for 2021 Dutch Grand Prix in front of his home fans at Zandvoort, as title rival – Lewis Hamilton joins him on the front row.
Verstappen dominated FP3 and blitzed Qualifying with exception of Q1 as he eased to pole position relatively unchallenged, as Hamilton fought off Valtteri Bottas to secure second on the grid as the Brit finished 0.038 seconds off Verstappen.
Elsewhere, Antonio Giovinazzi secured a shock seventh place for Alfa Romeo despite experiencing a teammate change, as Kimi Raikkonen tested positive for Coronavirus prior to FP3 which meant that Robert Kubica took his seat for remainder of the weekend.
Now here is a full roundup of Saturday’s action across FP3 and Qualifying.
A quiet start saw Kubica head straight out on track to acclimatise himself with Circuit Zandvoort, having stepped into Raikkonen’s car for rest of this weekend.
Hamilton set the initial benchmark of 1m 12.010 ahead of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo until Fernando Alonso went top by 0.014 seconds, only for the Spaniard to further lower his time to 1m 11.705 ahead of Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez come the end of the opening 20 minutes of this session.
Carlos Sainz brought the session to a 12 minute halt after he lost control of his Ferrari out of Gerlachbocht and spun into the entry of Hugenholtzboch, heavily damaging his Ferrari despite the barriers absorbing the impact to prevent him sliding back onto the racing track.
Once the session resumed, Valtteri Bottas went top with 1m 11.217 on soft tyres ahead of Max Verstappen by 0.008s, only for the latter to improve by 0.515s on his second medium tyre flier.
Attention soon afterwards switched to soft tyre Qualifying simulations with Bottas improving to 1m 10.179 as Hamilton found himself 0.228s slower than his Mercedes teammate, yet Verstappen was able to maximise a tow from Perez to post a session-topping 1m 09.623.
Bottas, Hamilton and Perez rounded out the top four as Alonso, Norris, Lance Stroll, Sebastian Vettel, Leclerc and Pierre Gasly completed the top ten.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1m 09.623|
|2||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 0.556|
|3||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.794|
|4||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+ 0.903|
|5||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||+ 1.047|
|6||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 1.158|
|7||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 1.219|
|8||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+ 1.249|
|9||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 1.273|
|10||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 1.382|
|11||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+ 1.390|
|12||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 1.460|
|13||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 1.557|
|14||George Russell||Williams||+ 1.651|
|15||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 1.676|
|16||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 2.317|
|17||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 2.357|
|18||Nikita Mazepin||Haas||+ 2.513|
|19||Robert Kubica||Alfa Romeo||+ 2.539|
|20||Mick Schumacher||Haas||+ 2.743|
Everyone except for Hamilton and Bottas opted for soft tyres throughout Q1 as both Mercedes drivers ventured out on medium tyres, which left them sixth and eighth fastest come the end of session.
Verstappen set the initial pace on 1m 10.036 as Yuki Tsunoda, Sainz, Nikita Mazepin, Schumacher and Kubica found themselves in the elimination zone, after the opening ten minutes as the track soon afterwards began to rapidly evolve.
Traffic consequently became a serious issue which proved costly as Perez found out to his cost after missing out on a final flier, having missed the line as the checkered flag begun to wave which left the Mexican knocked out in Q1 in 16th position.
Vettel was 17th quickest as Kubica outqualified Schumacher and Mazepin in 18th position in his first Qualifying session since the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Leclerc meanwhile topped Q1 with 1m 09.829 ahead of Ferrari teammate, Sainz.
Q2 saw everyone opt for soft tyres as Verstappen quickly set an ultimate Q2 topping benchmark of 1m 09.071 after opening runs, as George Russell, Stroll, Norris, Nicholas Latifi and Tsunoda occupied the five elimination spots after opening runs.
Williams opted to send Russell and Latifi early for banker second fliers but Russell unfortunately pushed too hard into Kumhobocht and spun on entry, with his right rear tyre luckily absorbing the impact as just an advertising hoarder was blown off the barriers.
Stewards however swiftly threw a red flag just as Russell regained control and slowly returned to the pits, with the stoppage lasting ten minutes as marshals pounced on the chance to ensure track was swept whilst the barriers were checked over.
Once the session resumed, Latifi led the pack except for Russell out for their final fliers but lost control on entry into Scheivlak and smashed sideways into the barriers at heavy speeds, leaving the Canadian winded but otherwise fine.
Stewards opted to not resume the session despite there being 1m 38s left on the clock, which meant that Russell, Stroll, Norris, Latifi and Tsunoda were all knocked out, as Russell sustained minor suspension to his rear suspension but no penalty is expected to be incurred for repairs.
Following a 19 minute delay until the start of Q3 due to barrier repairs, all ten drivers held back in the pits until Verstappen was sent out first to bank an early flier, in case of red flags during final runs towards the end of this session.
Verstappen proceeded to set the early benchmark of 1m 08.923 as Bottas found himself 0.299s slower in second place ahead of Hamilton, as Gasly produced a stunning lap to go fourth ahead of Leclerc by 0.182s upon completion of the opening runs.
Leclerc though was first out with several drivers opting to crawl out of the pit-lane to create gaps for their final fliers, which irked Verstappen who complained of near stalling over his team radio.
Come the checkered flag, Verstappen improved further to deliver a 1m 08.885 to secure pole position in front of his home fans, as Hamilton knocked Bottas off the front-row as he matched Verstappen’s first provisional pole time.
Bottas settled for third ahead of Gasly, Leclerc and Sainz as Antonio Giovinazzi qualified a surprise seventh ahead of Esteban Ocon, Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo.
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1m 08.885|
|2||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+ 0.038|
|3||Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+ 0.337|
|4||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+ 0.593|
|5||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+ 0.642|
|6||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+ 0.652|
|7||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+ 0.705|
|8||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+ 1.048|
|9||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||+ 1.071|
|10||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+ 1.281|
|11||George Russell||Williams||1m 10.332|
|12||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+ 0.035|
|13||Lando Norris||McLaren||+ 0.074|
|14||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+ 0.829|
|15||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+ 0.982|
|16||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||1m 10.530|
|17||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+ 0.201|
|18||Robert Kubica||Alfa Romeo||+ 0.771|
|19||Mick Schumacher||Haas||+ 0.857|
|20||Nikita Mazepin||Haas||+ 1.345|