Home hero Max Verstappen didn't disappoint and secured yet another pole position, this time in front of the orange-coloured Dutch crowd. Lewis Hamilton came to within touching distance but had to settle for second, ahead of team mate Valtteri Bottas and AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly.
As passing at Zandvoort is expected to be extremely difficult, qualifying is crucial for the Dutch Grand Prix weekend. On top of that, the fairly short track also makes traffic management difficult, resulting in early outings for the main contenders, soon after both Williams and Alfa Romeos had set their initial times.
The Alpines and McLarens were last to join the track, but they then managed to enjoy a fairly quiet track. Both Mercedes were also still on track though as Hamilton and Bottas were the only ones to use medium tyres and therefore doing two flying laps with a cooldown lap in between. For both men, their second flying lap proved slightly faster, but not enough to surpass Verstappen.
Track evolution proved quite big as well, with drivers doing a late lap being surprisingly quick and pushing down others that had been in a comfortable position one minute earlier. Traffic was also a big problem with Vettel almost crashing into Mazepin before the final corner. The German was trying to go straight forward, passing all the slow drivers, but then Mazepin also tried to pass the guy in front of him.
Vettel, therefore, didn't manage to complete a competitive lap and got eliminated, just like Sergio Perez, Kubica and both Haas cars.
A setback for Williams
After the short break, Latifi kicked off Q2, followed by Verstappen, Russell, Norris, Bottas, Hamilton and Giovinazzi. Both Williams drivers recorded decent laps, but Verstappen put down the marker with a 1:09.071. Both Bottas and Hamilton needed 6 extra tenths to complete their laps on the same soft tyres.
When people were looking into getting out for a final attempt, Russell crashed out. He spun off and rolled back through the gravel into the TecPro barrier. As his car proved undamaged, he got out of the gravel and returned to the pits. By that time, race director Michael Masi has already decided to stop the session, resulting in an 8-minute stoppage.
Things got going again at the green light, but soon, Latifi crashed off in the same venue as his teammate did. The Canadian has put a wheel on the grass before the corner, hence lacking rear grip and spinning off, into the gravel, and sideways into the barrier. Clearly, the car wasn't fit to move anymore, so Latifi got out, and the session was stopped early as the remaining time in Q2 would be insufficient for anyone to complete an out-lap.
Close fight for pole
Q3 saw all ten drivers out rapidly. Verstappen was among the first, therefore posting his 1:08.923 as a target for everybody else still coming up. Bottas came closest at 0.299s as Hamilton was another 0.05s behind. Gasly was fourth fastest, ahead of the Ferrari duo.
For the second flying laps, Leclerc was the first out on track, but behind him, drivers were already going slow on the pit exit to get a gap in front of them. It sort of resulting in less queuing ahead of the final corner, but it was again a strange view.
This time, nobody got into trouble, everybody managed to do another lap, but it was Verstappen who retained first to take pole. He marginally improved. Lewis Hamilton on the other hand managed to improve more than three tenths on his first attempt, but still ended up in second, albeit at just 0.038s.
Bottas failed to improve and had to settle for third, ahead of Gasly, Leclerc and Sainz. Antonio Giovinazzi was 7th fastest thanks to an impressive final effort, topping Ocon, Alonso and Ricciardo.
|1||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:10.036||1:09.071||1:08.885||14|
|4||10||Pierre Gasly||Alphatauri Honda||1:10.274||1:09.541||1:09.478||17|
|7||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:10.050||1:10.033||1:09.590||17|
|8||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:10.179||1:09.919||1:09.933||17|
|9||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault||1:10.435||1:10.020||1:09.956||13|
|10||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Mclaren Mercedes||1:10.255||1:09.865||1:10.166||17|
|11||63||George Russell||Williams Mercedes||1:10.382||1:10.332||13|
|12||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:10.438||1:10.367||13|
|13||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:10.489||1:10.406||13|
|14||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||1:10.093||1:11.161||16|
|15||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Honda||1:10.462||1:11.314||15|
|16||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda||1:10.530||9|
|17||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Mercedes||1:10.731||7|
|18||88||Robert Kubica||Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari||1:11.301||9|
|19||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari||1:11.387||11|
|20||9||Nikita Mazepin||Haas Ferrari||1:11.875||10|