Max Verstappen on top with home advantage

September 4, 2021

The Dutchman takes pole from the Mercedes pair.

Max Verstappen made sure the Dutch fans at the Zandvoort grandstands had something to cheer for as he took a sensational pole position while fending off a strong Mercedes challenge.

The Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas start behind the Dutchman, with AlphaTauri‘s Pierre Gasly making another start on the second row after putting in another brilliant Q3 lap.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz locked out the third row, with Alfa Romeo‘s Antonio Giovinazzi qualifying a brilliant seventh ahead of the Alpine duo of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso, with Daniel Ricciardo rounding off the top 10.

Given the twisty and narrow structure of the track, position will be key as it is going to be extremely difficult to pass, but given that Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Pérez will be starting P16, Mercedes will feel all’s not lost after qualifying as they can use both cars to put maximum pressure on the homeboy.

The Dutch Grand Prix will also see Robert Kubica make his first Grand Prix start since the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, after Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Räikkönen was ruled out of the race on Saturday morning as he tested positive for Covid-19.

Also Read - Dutch Grand Prix: Race Preview

Qualifying Session 1 – Eliminated – Sergio Pérez, Sebastian Vettel, Robert Kubica, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin

Williams’ Nicholas Latifi was first on the timing sheets with a 1:11.699s but was quickly disposed from his top spot once Max Verstappen finished his flying lap going 1:10.036s with his championship rival Lewis Hamilton a tenth behind.

With just under five minutes to go, Verstappen still held his top spot, while both the Aston Martins were in the bottom five. As the final flying laps came through, Charles Leclerc displaced Verstappen with a 1:09.829s but it was Sergio Pérez and Sebastian Vettel who were the two shock eliminations of the session, as the German failed to put in a final flying lap after being impeded by the Haas of Nikita Mazepin.


Qualifying Session 2 – Eliminated – George Russell, Lance Stroll, Lando Norris, Nicholas Latifi and Yuki Tsunoda

With his teammate failing to reach the chequered flag and costing him a place in Q2, Max Verstappen didn’t take any risks as he set out first to make sure he had no cars in his way. The home hero set the benchmark with a 1:09.071s. Charles Leclerc came closest to the Dutchman, three hundredths behind, with Hamilton a further three hundredths down.

As George Russell was on his second flying lap, he spun off at the entry into the final corner going into the barriers, bringing out the session’s first red flag. After an 11-minute delay, the cars were back on track with just under four minutes on the clock left.

Russell’s Williams was ruled out of the session, as his collision with the barriers sustained too much damage to get back out on the track. Within minutes of the session’s resumption, Russell’s teammate Nicholas Latifi spun off at Turn 8, bringing out the red flag once again and effectively finishing the session. McLaren’s Lando Norris failed to put in his final flying lap and was the shock elimination of the session.


Qualifying Session 3 – Lots to cheer for the Orange Army

The session got underway with McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi leading the way.  Ricciardo was first on the timing sheets for the top 10 shootout but was dislodged from his top spot when Max Verstappen finished his first flying lap with a 1:08.923s, taking provisional pole.

Verstappen went even quicker in his final flying lap, going 1:08.885s, and that was enough for a pole position as Lewis Hamilton was three hundredths down on the Red Bull.


The Starting Grid

Max Verstappen
Lewis Hamilton
Valtteri Bottas
Pierre Gasly
Charles Leclerc
Carlos Sainz
Antonio Giovinazzi
Esteban Ocon
Fernando Alonso
Daniel Ricciardo
George Russell
Lance Stroll
Lando Norris
Nicholas Latifi*
Yuki Tsunoda
Sergio Pérez
Sebastian Vettel
Robert Kubica
Mick Schumacher
Nikita Mazepin^

*subject to gearbox penalties
^ awaiting incident investigation

Aditya Chaudhuri

Hailing from the City of Joy, the things that bring me joy are cricket, a good non-tilt CS:GO session, F1 and movies.

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