At his local race track, the Dutch Grand Prix, Max Verstappen delivered an impressive pole-setting lap of 1m10.567s. Despite the competitive Q3 session, no other driver could better his time which secured him his third consecutive pole position at this event, much to his fans joy.
Adding a twist to the qualifying proceedings, the Mclarens led the qualifying session before a red flag interruption resulting from Charles Leclerc‘s mishap. However, unfazed by the situation, Verstappen took it as an opportunity and set an unrivaled benchmark with a brilliant single-lap performance.
Lando Norris managed to create pressure on Verstappen during the initial stages of the session and was even ahead of him at the end of the first sector. However, he lost valuable time in the middle of his lap, thereby dwindling his chances of securing the pole position.
The Q3 session was quite dramatic with a drying circuit and multiple red flags that left the drivers with just a four-minute window to set their hot laps. Logan Sargeant‘s heavy crash at Turn 2, which resulted in a red flag, was the highlight of the session, occurring just after he matched his team-mate Alex Albon to secure a position at the top.
With the clock showing eight minutes left, the race restarted. Albon seemed to be on course for improving his time but decided to return to the pits instead, giving George Russell an opportunity to lead the pack. However, the McLaren pair had other plans, with Norris setting a time of 1m12.049s, barely beating team-mate Piastri. Verstappen then came in third.
Leclerc had a run-in with the barrier after slipping at Turn 9, causing another red flag interruption, leaving only four minutes on the clock. Even so, no one could eclipse Verstappen’s lap, while Russell managed to grab a provisional third place from Albon in the last moments of the qualifying session.
Alonso exceeded expectations, finishing fifth, beating Carlos Sainz and leaving Sergio Perez a distant 7th, 1.3s behind Verstappen’s pole time. Oscar Piastri finished 8th, ahead of Leclerc and Sargeant.
In a surprising turn of events, Lewis Hamilton was ousted from Q2 because of gains made by Norris and Sainz towards the end of the second part of qualifying. His final attempts at a lap were unsuccessful, and he thus hovered dangerously close to elimination. The situation got worse when Sainz, equipped with a fresh set of intermediate tyres, secured a position in Q3.
Adding to Hamilton’s plight, Norris improved his lap time even more, relegating Hamilton further, who seemed held back by Yuki Tsunoda while attempting to complete a lap. Lance Stroll appeared to have secured a place in Q2, but Sargeant’s final effort relegated Stroll to 11th place.
Charles Leclerc was fortunate enough not to be eliminated in Q1 by a narrow margin of 0.05s over Zhou Guanyu. Despite missing the apex at turns 11 and 12 and sliding at turn 13 on his final lap, Leclerc was able to beat Zhou to enter the next stage. Zhou lead Esteban Ocon in Q1, while Kevin Magnussen, Valtteri Bottas, and rookie Liam Lawson were knocked out in the opening stage of the qualification.