The Saturday in F1 Dutch GP saw Red Bull take spot ahead of Ferrari, with Mercedes also bringing itself in the mix with top half.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen bounced back well on Saturday in F1 Dutch GP but only just where he took pole by 0.021s from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. Teammate Carlos Sainz also did well in third but Sergio Perez’s spin left him fifth.

Considering how the track is, it will depend on strategy for Ferrari to topple Red Bull. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, slotted in fourth with George Russell in sixth where yellow flag affected their laps which left them behind.

Verstappen: “It was a special qualifying, especially after yesterday, you know, it was really tough, and we had to change the car around quite a bit, because we didn’t really have any information. So, basically, this morning was still about learning quite a bit of the car and all about just trying to fine tune it a bit towards qualifying. And yeah, we were quick in qualifying, but it never really showed, because sometimes I went a bit early then didn’t go for another run. Q2 was on a scrubbed tyre only, so yeah, really happy of course with Q3, it was really fine margins. And also the last run was a bit compromised with the out lap because of just getting one extra car in front of me and then I had to slow down a bit too much in the first sector. So when I started my lap, I felt like the tyres were not really switched on, but I managed to recover a bit in Sector 2 and that was just enough for pole. For the race, I think it will be close, but basically for most of the races this year it has been like that, so I’m looking forward to it and I hope that we can have a good race.”

Leclerc: “Obviously you always targeting to be on pole, and in looking at my lap, in Turn 10 I did a mistake but yeah, apart from that, to be honest, looking at the gap with Max today, I did not expect that coming into Q3, after the Q1 and Q2 that we had, which was much more much more tricky… But at the end of Q3 the car felt quite good, I could push. I haven’t been completely at ease with the balance of the car since a few races on the quali runs. But today felt a bit of a step better, so it’s good and now I’m looking forward to tomorrow. On the lap, I don’t really have the explanation yet. We tried different things on the out-laps and at the end it was a little bit better. A bit of a stronger front, which I struggled with understeer since a bit now. So, we need to work on that but for the race instead I felt confident in the last few races. So, I’m a bit more confident for tomorrow.

“Well, I mean, I’m sure nobody did the perfect lap, especially in these conditions. Turn 9 and 10 are two extremely tricky corners with the tailwind there, and they are much more affected than anywhere else on track. So it was very, very tricky and with the balance of my car, I struggled quite a little bit in Turn 10 and, yeah, and I lost the rear and I lost like a tenth or something. So, yeah, looking at it, if you do the perfect lap then you can get pole but on the other hand, I’m sure Max and Carlos didn’t do the perfect lap either. So, the end result is that we are P2 today. For the race, I mean, we haven’t done the strategy meeting yet but for sure we can maybe… well, let’s see after the first few laps, but probably splitting the cars is a good thing to do when we are in this situation, but we’ll have to wait and do obviosly the meeting altogether and speak about it.”

Sainz: “Yeah, very similar to Charles actually, after Q1 and Q2. It looked like we were quite a big chunk behind Max and the Red Bull. They looked like they clearly had the upper hand – but then I was surprised at how much grip we gaining in Q3. Probably that first banker lap in Q3 wasn’t very strong, or should have been a bit stronger to give me better references for the last attempt in Q3, which I was maybe chasing a bit too much. And yeah, I improved a lot. I improved, I think, three-tenths but I’m pretty sure that a better banker lap would have could have given me a bit of a better run for pole at the end. A little bit easier. I think there’s a combination that these cars should be a bit better to follow, compared to last year, plus a couple hundred metres extra DRS, for sure it’s going to be easier than last year. It’s still not going to be easy, because it’s still a very difficult track to overtake. But it’s not going to be as tough as it was last year, hopefully. For the race, we have the strategy meeting in a couple of hours. I think that’s where we’re going to discuss the options available. To be honest, I haven’t looked at all the possibilities completely. Obviously Max with a new set of Soft is going to be strong whenever he uses it because here from a scrubbed to a new, at least for our car, is quite a bit of a difference as the degradation is very high. So, we are going to need to check how we can do it.”

Hamilton: “I generally feel good. I’m really happy that the car has finally felt alive this weekend. And… only being a tenth behind a Red Bull was a great feeling and really gave me a lot of hope that I could fight for the front row, but then obviously the yellow flag at the end was a bit unfortunate, but that’s motor racing. We’ve closed the gap somehow on [a single] lap. I can’t really understand why but anyways. But I am hoping that that means we are closer and even closer in the race and if we are that would be fantastic. If we can fight these guys and have a battle with these three ahead of me, that would be an amazing experience.”

The rest of the Top 10, McLaren’s Lando Norris made it in after looking lowly in FP3. Crucially, the British team made it in the Top 10 when the Alpine duo couldn’t. Daniel Ricciardo couldn’t too after dirt on track left by other driver.

It was good show from Haas’ Mick Schumacher as well who made it in the Top 10 along with AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll. The trio beat their teammates to make it in, but the Canadian had a hydraulic issue eventually.

Norris: “I mean, after my first lap in Q1, I wasn’t very hopeful because I was a long way off that Alpine and so on and it felt like quite a good lap, so I was a bit like ‘oh no’. So I had to push it a bit more and try and unlock a little bit more from the car, which I think I did and took some good steps forward. And actually by surprise ended up P7 ahead of guys we were expecting definitely to be a bit quicker than us today. So I was happy with my job, a little mistake here and there, even on my final lap but nothing that would have changed the position, so a good day for us. I mean, I don’t want to get confident because [Alpine] are out of position. They’ve been quicker than us all weekend, even yesterday we were just in a different performance mode comparing to them, but they have just been quicker all weekend. Yeah, we will see. I think we will have good opportunities. I’ve given myself and us the best chance of scoring some good points. I expect the top six to just pull away and hopefully leave me a lonely race, which I would actually look forward to tomorrow. But there are a lot of quick cars behind, including Mick [Schumacher in P8]. Haas have looked quick today especially, so not expecting an easy race, but I would love one.”

Schumacher: “It’s great to be in Q3 and obviously we’re very happy with our performance. It’s unexpected as I think we were expecting to go out in Q2 but to get to Q3 and repeat the lap time we did in Q2 was definitely decent, and we now have a good starting position for tomorrow. We haven’t made massive changes, we’ve just been fine-tuning and luckily we started the weekend with a great set-up so we didn’t have to make big changes which always helps. It especially helps builds confidence and hopefully makes you faster.”

Tsunoda: “I’m really happy about our quali performance today. If I’m honest, it was a bit of a surprise to make it through to Q3, considering our pace in FP3, but we made some good changes to the car after practice, I was then able to put it altogether and extract the maximum performance from the car. The hard work from the team has really paid off this afternoon and making it through to Q3 is really positive, so I’m pleased with how we’ve improved today. Now we’ve got to concentrate on the race, we’ve got a lot of strong data to look through, so we need to work hard tonight to allow us to try and finish in the top 10 tomorrow.”

Outside the Top 10, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso rued traffic on quick lap for his situation, while both Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas did not have a good run where the former had a moment on what looked like a strong lap.

Vettel: “On my final Q1 lap I picked up some sand on my left-side wheels on the entry to Turn 13. At that point, you are really focused on the apex kerb on the right – I was not trying anything fancy – and I just drifted off-line and lost the car. I guess you could say that I got caught out by the ‘zand’ in Zandvoort. My pace up until that point had looked very good – that last lap was easily good enough for Q2 – and I think we could probably have got to Q3, too. It is a shame, and it makes things harder for tomorrow because we will basically start last. We will see if we can find a smart strategy solution – but it is probably going to be a long afternoon.”

Alonso: “Unfortunately, it’s not been our day today. It was the traffic in Q2 that cost us from going into Q3, as we were half a second faster and could have been in sixth position. We could not show the true potential of the car, but these things can happen on a track as narrow as Zandvoort. Let’s see if we can use the pace of the car tomorrow and have a better result in the race when it counts. It’s not easy to overtake here as we saw last year, but we will push to score as many points as possible.”

Bottas: “The feeling with the car wasn’t too bad, but we’re still lacking a bit of pace and grip to be higher up on the grid. We tried everything with the setup, but what we could find was not fast enough today. We expected this compound to be a one-lap tyre in qualifying, and that is what we have been focusing on with our run plan today. It’s been quite a tough weekend so far, but there’s still a race ahead of us. It’s going to be a challenge, no doubt, but we will try our best and see what we can find.”

Albon: “Today was okay if you think about the circuit and where we are in our limitations to get into Q2, so I think it’s a really good job. I’m pleased about Q1 as we didn’t expect to make it into Q3, so it’s been a massive effort by everyone. I lost a little bit of the rear in Q2 and we’re fighting small margins out there. Whilst finishing P15 in Q2 is obviously disappointing, I feel like we made some good changes overnight, so can see if we can make up some places tomorrow.”

Here’s how F1 Dutch GP qualifying panned out