Verstappen claims pole position for home Dutch Grand Prix

Ahead of Hamilton, Bottas

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By Olivier Ferret

4 September 2021 - 16:27
Verstappen claims pole position for (...)

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen beat Formula 1 championship rival Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes by just three hundredths of a second to claim pole position for his home race the 2021 FIA Formula 1 Dutch Grand Prix. Valtteri Bottas finished third for Mercedes, while AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly put in an impressive performance to claim fourth place on the grid.

At the start of the Q1 Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez set the early benchmark with a lap of 1:10.700. Verstappen was close behind on track, however, and he powered past his team-mate’s time to reset the bar at 1:10.036.

Mercedes, meanwhile, sent both its drivers out on medium tyres and Pérez dropped to fourth place as as Hamilton took second place ahead of Bottas. Pérez extended his run, but despite getting down to 1:10.530 he dropped to P7 as better times came in. And the Mexican’s failure to set a secure time early in the session ended up being his undoing.

Knowing that the track was ramping up massively, Red Bull readied the Mexican for a final run. However, seeking a workable gap on the short track, drivers began to form a solid queue at the end of pit lane and Pérez’s exit was slowed. Thus he failed to make it across the line before the chequered flag and as rivals posted improvements the Mexican fell down the order and he was eliminated in P16 ahead of Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, Alfa Romeo’s Robert Kubica and the Haas cars of Mick Schumacher and Nikia Mazepin.

Verstappen was straight into action at the start of Q2 and he posted a tough target at the top of the timesheet with a lap of 1:09.071. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc got closest to that time ahead of the final runs, with the Monegasque setting a time of 1:09.437 to take P2 ahead of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, Hamilton and Bottas.

Williams’ George Russell was one of the first out on track for the final runs of the second segment but at the end of his flying lap he carried too much speed into the penultimate corners and slid off into the barriers. The red flags were quickly displayed and the clock was stopped with just under four minutes remaining.

However, when the session eventually resumed it lasted less than two minutes as on his flying lap Nichola Latifi lost control in Turn 8 and the second Williams went into the barriers hard. The red flags were again shown and Race Control quickly indicated that the session would not be resumed. It meant that eliminated after the middle segment were Russell in 11th place followed Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, Norris, Latifi and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda.

In Q3 Verstappen again went out early to stake his claim to pole and he claimed provisional pole with an impressive lap of 1:08.923. Neither Mercedes driver had an initial response and Bottas took P2 0.099s behind the Red Bull, with Hamilton just under five hundredths of a second further back in third place.

In the final runs Verstappen proved unbeatable. Hamilton found more time but in the end it was only enough to match the Red Bull driver’s earlier lap and Verstappen secured pole for his home grand prix with a stunning lap of 1:08.885.

Bottas was left with third place, while Gasly shone in claiming fourth spot on the grid ahead of the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. Giovinazzi was seventh, while Esteban Ocon took eighth place ahead of Alpine team-mate Fernando Alonso and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo.

Pos.DriverTeamQ1 timeQ2 timeQ3 time
01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:10.036 1:09.071 1:08.885
02 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W12 1:10.114 1:09.726 1:08.923
03 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W12 1:10.219 1:09.769 1:09.222
04 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:10.274 1:09.541 1:09.478
05 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF21 1:09.829 1:09.437 1:09.527
06 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF21 1:10.022 1:09.870 1:09.537
07 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:10.050 1:10.033 1:09.590
08 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A521 1:10.179 1:09.919 1:09.933
09 Fernando Alonso Alpine Renault A521 1:10.435 1:10.020 1:09.956
10 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:10.255 1:09.865 1:10.166
---------------- --------------- ---------- ---------- ----------
11 George Russell Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:10.382 1:10.332
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:10.438 1:10.367
13 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL35M 1:10.489 1:10.406
14 Nicholas Latifi Williams Mercedes FW43B 1:10.093 1:11.161
15 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda AT02 1:10.462 1:11.314
---------------- --------------- ---------- ---------- ----------
16 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RB16B 1:10.530
17 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Mercedes AMR21 1:10.731
18 Robert Kubica Alfa Romeo Ferrari C41 1:11.301
19 Mick Schumacher Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:11.387
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas Ferrari VF-21 1:11.875

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