Zandvoort exploded as Verstappen took a home pole position ahead of championship rival Hamilton. The session suffered two red flags caused by both of the williams and there were numerous surprises up and down the grid.
There was drama before the session began as Sainz’s Ferrari was facing a race against time following his crash in P3. The tension was high at Mercedes also, with several last minute changes being made to Hamilton’s car. But, the mechanics performed incredibly, getting both cars out at the start of Q1.
As the green flag fell, Alfa Romeo stand-in Kubica was one of the first on track, having been announced to replace the COVID-19 suffering Raikkonen.
The first runs put Verstappen in front, just ahead of the two Mercedes and Perez. Russell jumped up to 5th with 3 minutes to go, yet again impressing after his maiden podium last week.
As expected, there was a huge queue before the final laps, Giovinazzi stormed to 4th on his last lap and Latifi jumped to 5th. All of this last minute action on track dumped Perez out in 16th place. Norris just scraped through in 15th while Vettel was significantly held up by Mazepin and Schumacher through the final corner.
At the front, Ferrari jumped into the top 2 spaces, with Leclerc leading Sainz. This wasn’t the first time this result had happened this weekend and the scarlet team were now looking for a solid result.
While he was eliminated, it is of note that Kubica was able to out-qualify the 2 Haas cars after only his second session this weekend.
- 16th Perez
- 17th Vettel
- 18th Kubica
- 19th Schumacher
- 20th Mazepin
Q2 was set to be an interesting session as the Red Bull was expected to be able to pull out a gap on the soft compound tyre. The Mercedes were incredibly close on the medium, but the intial laps left them over half a second behind Verstappen’s time. Furthermore, their times were beaten by Leclerc and Gasly.
With 5 minutes to go and with a decent lap time developing, Russell bought out the red flags as he lost his car throughout the penultimate turn. The Williams spun a full 180 degrees and the rear of the car hit the barrier. Although the shunt looked significant, Russell was able to drive his car back to the garage.
After a short break the cars started to queue at the end of the pitlane to squeeze in a final lap. Latifi was first out and, like his team-mate, bought out the red flags, but much more significant this time around. The Williams lost the back end and slammed into the barriers at a much higher speed than Russell. Thankfully Latifi immediately responded on the radio and was quickly out of the car.
The session was not resumed and several drivers were caught out, including Norris who wasn’t able to make Q3 for the first time this season. Encouragingly, his team-mate Ricciardo finished 6th.
- 11th Russell
- 12th Stroll
- 13th Norris
- 14th Latifi
- 15th Tsunoda
After the red flags of the previous session, all drivers were out early to set a banker lap, just in case of a late session incident. Going into the session, Verstappen was regarded as the favourite and the sea of orange fans were willing their driver on.
His first lap was the fastest of the weekend so far and purple in every sector. Bottas was the closest competitor, ahead of Hamilton and the storming Gasly.
Yet again, the drivers queued before the final laps, rapidly closing the time for some drivers to make it around.
On his last lap, Verstappen managed to improve his time by the slimmest of margins and the Mercedes behind were not able to challenge. Hamilton leapfrogged Bottas on his final lap, despite looking on the backfoot the entire session. Gasly mantained his incredible 4th ahead of the two Ferraris, with Leclerc leading. Giovinazzi recorded an incredible 7th placed finish while the Alpines line up in 8th and 9th, Ocon ahead of Alonso. Despite outqualifying his team-mate, 10th was a bit of a disappointing result for Ricciardo.
The crowd were absolutely wild during the post-race interviews as their man took a solid pole position. Hamilton behind will pose a significant threat especially when the cars switch onto the medium tyres. The last time the pair lines up in this position was Silverstone and I’m sure we all remember what happened there.
Race starts at 2:00 GMT.
Featured Image Credit: @F1 Official Twitter