Max Verstappen on pole for Dutch GP: 'Nice to take pole at home race'
Published on 26 August 2023 by Kees-Jan Koster
Max Verstappen took pole position for his home race at Zandvoort. Q1 and Q2 were run on a wet track, which made for a tricky qualifying. For the third part of qualifying the track had dried enough for slick tyres. After two red flags, caused by crashes of Logan Sargeant and Charles Leclerc, the drivers got one final chance for a flying lap. Max drove a very strong lap and took pole position. Lando Norris finished half a second slower in P2, with George Russell in P3.
After qualifying Max says: “It was a very tricky qualifying. Starting on intermediates, the track surface was slippery, especially on the new tarmac. It was difficult to get temperature in the intermediates. It was easy to make a mistake. We managed that quite well. In the end when we could go on slick tyres again, there was just one dry line in places. We had to risk it a bit, but that last lap was very enjoyable.”
Max started Q3 as one of the few drivers on intermediates, the wrong choice according to Max: “We have been to some other places where we had some wet races. This was the first time here with this kind of conditions. We underestimated a little bit, with the wind as well and the sun coming out, how quickly it dries. We quickly realised that we were on the wrong tyre. Those are lessons we take forward. At the end of the day it did not matter and we still did the right thing.”
Lastly Max is relieved that he took pole in front of his home crowed at Zandvoort: “It is always nice to take pole at your home race. The fans were expecting me to take pole, but with a qualifying like this, that is not easy at all. There is always pressure to perform, but when you can pull it off it is incredible.”
After a very wet third free practice session it is still wet at the start of qualifying on the 4,259-meter long Circuit Zandvoort. All drivers come out on intermediate tyres. Max goes straight ahead at the Tarzan corner in his first flying lap. Going through the gravel, the home driver can continue. Verstappen complains about lack of grip over the radio. After a couple of slow laps Max sets his first serious time (1:26.607), putting him in second position. With five minutes to go, Max improves his time to a 1:20.965, good for P1. Alexander Albon then goes even quicker and finished Q1 as fastest, with Max in P2. The following drivers drop out of Q1: Zhou Guanyu (P16), Esteban Ocon (P17), Kevin Magnussen (P18) and Valtteri Bottas (P19), while Liam Lawson finishes his first qualifying last. The 21-year-old New Zealander replaces the injured Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri and makes his Formula 1 debut. He had never driven the AlphaTauri before, making it even more tricky for him.
Between Q1 and Q2 it rains a little bit, but it is dry again when Q2 starts. Max sets a time of 1:20.690 on intermediates with ten minutes on the clock and he is much faster than the competition. The track dries out and the times come down significantly. Max comes into the pits for a new set of intermediate tyres and on these new tyres the Dutchman sets a 1:18.856, finishing first in Q2. Logan Sargeant sets the tenth time and is through to Q3 for the first time in his Formula 1 career. Dropping out of Q2 are: Lance Stroll (P11), Pierre Gasly (P12), Lewis Hamilton (P13), Yuki Tsunoda (P14), Nico Hulkenberg (P15).
In Q3 the first drivers change to slicks as the track has dried enough. Max still comes out on intermediates. Logan Sargeant crashes hard at turn two in his first flying lap. The American spins backwards into the tyre barriers, damaging his Williams severely. Sargeant comes out unharmed, but the session is red flagged. After this interruption the track has dried up even more and all drivers come out on slicks.
Max sets a 1:12.389 in his first flying lap and put himself in third position behind both McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri. Charles Leclerc goes straight ahead in turn nine and crashes into the barriers. The Monegasque gets out of his damaged Ferrari unharmed, but the race is red flagged again. The session is restarted with only four minutes left on the clock. All drivers come out for one final flying lap. Max Verstappen drivers a very strong lap and sets a time of 1:10.567, taking pole position. This is for Max the third consecutive pole in his home race at Zandvoort. Lando Norris finishes second, more than half a second slower than Verstappen. And George Russell finishes third. Alexander Albon finishes in fourth position, with Fernando Alonso in P5. Calos Sainz finishes sixth, which means that the top six consists of six different team. Sergio Perez, Oscar Piastri, Charles Leclerc and Logan Sargeant complete the top ten.
The start of the Dutch Grand Prix is Sunday 3PM local time.
|1||Max Verstappen||VER||Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT||1:20.965||1:18.856||1:10.567|
|2||Lando Norris||NOR||McLaren Mercedes||1:21.276||1:19.769||1:11.104|
|4||Alexander Albon||ALB||Williams Mercedes||1:20.939||1:19.399||1:11.419|
|5||Fernando Alonso||ALO||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:21.840||1:19.429||1:11.506|
|7||Sergio Perez||PER||Red Bull Racing Honda RBPT||1:21.972||1:19.856||1:11.880|
|8||Oscar Piastri||PIA||McLaren Mercedes||1:21.231||1:19.392||1:11.938|
|10||Logan Sargeant||SAR||Williams Mercedes||1:22.036||1:20.067||1:16.748|
|11||Lance Stroll||STR||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:21.570||1:20.121|
|12||Pierre Gasly||GAS||Alpine Renault||1:21.735||1:20.128|
|14||Yuki Tsunoda||TSU||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT||1:21.781||1:20.230|
|15||Nico Hulkenberg||HUL||Haas Ferrari||1:21.891||1:20.250|
|16||Zhou Guanyu||ZHO||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:22.067|
|17||Esteban Ocon||OCO||Alpine Renault||1:22.110|
|18||Kevin Magnussen||MAG||Haas Ferrari||1:22.192|
|19||Valtteri Bottas||BOT||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:22.260|
|20||Liam Lawson||LAW||AlphaTauri Honda RBPT||1:23.420|