Red Bull’s Max Verstappen ended up on pole in F1 Dutch GP ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas despite the red flag stoppages.
The first part of F1 Dutch GP saw Mercedes on the medium tyres in a different strategy to everyone else. They were second and third with Lewis Hamilton ahead of Valtteri Bottas, while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen led the way in Q1 early on.
However, the track evolution worked its magic as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc ended up on top with a 1m09.829s lap ahead of teammate Carlos Sainz, who made it on time on track after his FP3 shunt. The late improvements pushed Verstappen to third in the order.
The times in general were pretty close as the Top 17 ended up within a second of Leclerc’s time, as late surge from others, not only knocked out Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel (1m10.731s) in 17th, but also Red Bull’s Sergio Perez (1m10.530s) in 16th.
The traffic was a huge problem as Vettel nearly had a collision with Haas’ Nikita Mazepin (1m11.875s), with the incident put under investigation. The Russian was 20th behind Haas’ Alfa Romeo’s Robert Kubica (1m11.301s, P18) and Haas’ Mick Schumacher (1m11.387s, P19).
The second part in F1 Dutch GP qualifying saw no medium runners in terms of strategy, with everyone banking on the soft tyres. The early running saw Verstappen lead the way from Leclerc and AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly in the Top 3.
The session was first red-flagged for an off for Williams’ George Russell on his hot lap at Turn 8. He lost the rear into the right-hander to hit the barrier but managed to make it in the pits. It took a while to get the session to get going, but not for long.
After Russell’s off, his teammate Nicholas Latifi went off in the same corner but much before the Brit. He hit the barrier hard with his rear wing broken, as he was taken to the medical center due to higher G-force impact in the incident.
The session was adjudged as finished, with Russell (1m10.332s) in 11th from Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll (1m10.367s), while McLaren’s Lando Norris (1m10.406s) was 13th from Latifi (1m11.161s) and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda (1m11.314s).
After a lengthy delay, the third part in F1 Dutch GP kick-started with Verstappen in provisional pole after a 1m08.923s lap, quicker than both Mercedes, where Bottas was second and Hamilton third, while Gasly managed to get ahead of the Ferrari drivers.
It was close in the end between the two F1 title contenders with only 0.038s separating Verstappen (1m08.885s) and Hamilton (1m08.923s), where the Dutchman secured pole in Dutch GP, with Bottas (1m09.222s) ending up third.
Gasly (1m09.478s) was fourth ahead of Ferrari duo of Leclerc (1m09.527s) and Sainz (1m09.537s), with Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi (1m09.590s) in seventh ahead of the Alpine duo and a McLaren.
It was Esteban Ocon (1m09.933s) in front of Fernando Alonso (1m09.956s) in eighth and ninth, as McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo (1m10.166s) rounded out the Top 10.
UPDATE: The stewards cleared Mazepin and Schumacher of any wrong doing post their meet in F1 Dutch GP as they stated that while Vettel was impeded, there were too many cars in the end, which could have troubled anyone.
“The Stewards heard from the driver of car 5 (Sebastian Vettel), the driver of car 9 (Nikita Mazepin), the driver of car 47 (Mick Schumacher) and team representatives,” started the stewards. “The Stewards having reviewed video, radio calls to the drivers of Cars 9 and 47 and positioning/marshalling system data. There is no doubt that the lap of Car 5 was compromised however we note in particular the comment of the driver of Car 5 (VET) that “there were too many cars in the one place”.
“There were at least 6 cars in line, preparing for a fast lap, and all of these were travelling at slow speed (some at less than 50 km/h) whereas Car 5 was approaching at up to 240 km/h. Although Car 5 was impeded, in the circumstances this was not “unnecessary impeding” (cf Article 31.5). The drivers and team representatives present, agreed.”