(Zandvoort) Carried by the cheers of his “Orange army”, he did it: the Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull) will start Sunday in pole position, at home, for the Grand Prix of the Netherlands, in front of the Ferrari of Monegasque Charles Leclerc.
Posted at 10:53 a.m.
France Media Agency
Under the sun of Zandvoort, seaside resort on the edge of the North Sea, the reigning world champion styled for only 21/1000e the Scuderia driver.
” Unbelievable ! Especially after yesterday, we worked really well overnight to reverse the situation,” the poleman reacted on Saturday after qualifying.
And for good reason: faced with an orange tide – the national color of the Netherlands – all committed to its cause, the local event had so far been more withdrawn than usual, not snatching the slightest best time at the end of the three practice sessions held on Friday and Saturday morning.
If he had suffered from a gearbox problem during the first session on Friday, forcing him to stay in the garage most of the first tests, back on track, he set the third fastest time of the last two sessions before the qualifications.
On home soil, “Mad Max” had already taken pole last year before winning the race the next day – a performance he hopes to repeat this year in front of his home crowd.
The second row goes to the other Ferrari, that of the Spaniard Carlos Sainz and the Briton Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 4e at the end of qualifying briefly interrupted by the presence of a smoke bomb on the track.
The third row goes to Mexican Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) and Briton George Russell (Mercedes).
The third Briton on the grid, Lando Norris (McLaren), German Mick Schumacher (Haas), Japanese Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) and Canadian Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), complete the Top 10.
Before this Dutch round, the 15e of the season (out of 22), Verstappen leads his teammate Sergio Pérez by 93 points in the championship, a gap which rises to 98 points with Leclerc, 3e.
In the constructors’ championship, Red Bull largely dominates the debates in front of the prancing horse team, second and which continues to give ground to its rival: 118 points separate the two teams today.
Visited by F1 between 1952 and 1985 and renovated to regain its place on the calendar last season, the Zandvoort circuit, on the edge of the North Sea, is a challenge with its short, narrow, hilly layout and above all its banked turns taken at high speed.
Knowing that it is difficult to overtake in the race, the positions on the grid and the quality of the starts are likely to be crucial at the start of the race given on Sunday at 13:00 GMT.
Frenchmen Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) and Esteban Ocon (Alpine)–who could run together next season for Alpine, still looking for a 2e pilot to replace Fernando Alonso-will start respectively from the 11e and 12e seats, ahead of Alonso, 13e.