On at 16:59 CEST
The forecasts have been fulfilled. Max Verstappen will start from pole position this Sunday at Zandvoort (3pm), in front of a fans absolutely devoted to the Dutch driver. Lewis Hamilton, leader of the World-wide by three points of advantage, has not made it easy. After missing the free seconds on Friday due to a failure in his Mercedes, the Briton hid for much of the time, but in the end he improved by almost 8 tenths on his last lap of the track, to finish at just 38 thousandths of Verstappen’s time (1.08.885). The Red Bull driver will open the grid tomorrow ahead of the two Mercedes of Hamilton and Bottas, from French Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri) and the two Ferraris from Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, while Fernando Alonso will start ninth, behind his partner Or with, on another good day for Alpine.
A trap circuit
Zandvoort, an ‘old school’ circuit although it has been completely renovated to host the return of Formula 1 to the Netherlands 36 years later, does not forgive mistakes. And so it has been revealed in a ‘high voltage’ classification in which the Williams drivers George Russell and Nicholas Latifi crashes have marked the development of the session before the decisive Q3.
In Q1, Max Verstappen has already started at the head of the times table (1’10 “036), but the Dutchman has been overtaken by the two Ferraris from Charles Leclerc (1.09.829) and Carlos Sainz (0.193), with Fernando Alonso surpassing the cut in 12th position. Sainz was not only able to get out without problems with his Ferrari SF21 after the very hard accident in the morning free practice, but he also repeated his second place on Friday. In this first screen there have been surprises and they have been eliminated Sergio ‘Checo’ Pérez (Red Bull) and Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), in addition to Robert Kubica, emergency replacement for Kimi Raikkonen at Alfa Romeo after confirming his positive for Covid this morning, and the two Haas of Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin. Precisely these two pilots have been responsible for the debacle of Vettel, which has been found slowing down and in parallel when attempting his last fastest lap. A dangerous situation and good punishable insurance.
In Q2 Verstappen has lowered his previous time by one second, to climb to the first position (1’09 “071), with Hamilton to more than 6 tenths. The session was closed early after two consecutive red flags caused by two accidents by the Williams. The first has been George Russell, which has managed to get the car out cleanly. The session has resumed minutes later, but as soon as we go out on the track Latifi has repeated the fright. This time the impact was much stronger and the Canadian had to be transferred to the medical center as a precaution. The stewards have canceled the batch, which has allowed access to Q3 to Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso, in seventh and ninth position, respectively. In addition to the Williams, they have been left out Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri), Stroll (Aston Martin) and Lando Norris (McLaren).
In the ultimate battle of the top ten, pole has been for Verstappen. The orange-tinted stands of Zandvoort have ‘roared’ to celebrate the success of their hero and have forgotten the boos to Hamilton after the great lap with which the English seven-time champion was fired, who was about to ruin the ‘orange’ party.
NETHERLANDS GP. GRILLE OUTPUT:
1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1’08 “885
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1’08 “923
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 1’09 “222
4. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) 1’09 “478
5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 1’09 “527
6. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) 1’09 “537
7. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) 1’09 “590
8. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) 1’09 “933
9. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) 1’09 “956
10. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) 1’10 “166
11. George Russell (Williams) 1’10 “332 (* Q2)
12. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) 1’10 “367
13. Lando Norris (McLaren) at 1’10 “406
14. Nicholas Latifi (Williams) at 1’11 “161
15. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) 1’11 “314
16. Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) 1’10 “530 (* Q1)
17. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) 1’10 “731
18. Robert Kubica (Alfa Romeo) 1’11 “301
19. Mick Schumacher (Haas) 1’11 “387
20. Nikita Mazepin (Haas) 1’11 “875