The much-coveted pole position on the home circuit came for Max Verstappen, who was able to celebrate together with all the Dutch public in the stands. Compared to the forecasts on the eve, however, Zandvoort’s qualifications were more balanced than expected, with Lewis Hamilton able to touch the bang, stopping the clock at the end of his lap just 38 thousandths from the time set by the direct rival in the race for the world title. The Red Bull driver, still able to set his best time in Q3 on the last attempt, had to face several difficulties in his last run, which certainly affected his chronometric performance.
“There have been two occasions where I have wasted some time – commented the Dutch poleman at the end of the day – first with a double shift that I made out of turn 3, where the asphalt is very uneven. Then my DRS didn’t open out of the last corner. This is something we need to check, but luckily the lap was enough for pole. Of course, on this track it is important to start from the front because it is very difficult to overtake. The start will be the key, then we need to take care of our tires and stay alert, because new tracks can often lead to chaos. I expect Mercedes to be strong, you could see the gap was narrow today, so tomorrow won’t be as simple as it seems“.
Describing the circuit, Verstappen – as well as many other drivers – used words of great praise. “It’s an old school track that’s as smooth and fast as Suzuka – explained the Dutchman – where you really feel the grip of a Formula 1 car. It’s challenging and I like tracks like this. Today we worked really well as a team. We have made another good step forward with the car compared to yesterday. Qualifying was rather difficult with the many red flags – he concluded – you can see that there was no room for mistakes. This makes everything more exciting“.
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