Qualifying at Zandvoort ended up a close battle between Verstappen and the Ferrari duo but much to the please of the orange crowd, home hero Max Verstappen pulled the longest straw. Charles Leclerc will join him on the front row with Sainz and Hamilton behind them.
Qualifying kicked off with the Haas drivers taking to the track immediately, soon followed by many more as there was fear of traffic jams on this fairly short track. Some blocking during the practice sessions earlier this weekend already showed that finding a clear track for an entire lap was going to be difficult.
This time though no immediate problems or complaints, and much to the joy of the orange crowd, Verstappen was immediately fastest on his first flying lap despite a tricky bit of oversteer on entry of the final corner. Both Mercedes slotted up in second and third and confirmed their somewhat unpredictable pace that changes one race weekend to another.
The Ferrari drivers were initially slower than the Mercedes but Leclerc's second attempt then moved him up into second. Sergio Perez followed up further behind while Alonso continued to display strong form by going 6th fastest.
In this position they went into the last few minutes. Then, everybody went out on track again towards the end of the session, apart from Verstappen and Leclerc, the two fastest men at that time.
Mick Schumacher improved to 8th for a moment but despite other improvements he still easily made it through into Q2. His Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen didn't and ended up 17th only, behind Bottas who also got eliminated. Ricciardo ended 18th while Vettel was on track for a considerable improvement after a purple first sector but then ended up in the gravel on the final corner, resulting in 19th position, ahead only of Latifi.
Q2 kicked off with Albon leaving the track, only to be red-flagged half a minute into his warmup lap. A hazardous orange flare ending up on track obviously had to be moved out of the way before running could continue. Meanwhile, a marshall was seen trying to scare away some pigeons, a now notorious sight on the inside of the final corner.
10 minutes later it were the Red Bulls that restarted running with Verstappen again easily topping the session with his first time. That situation remained unchanged until the closing stages when everybody went out to attempt a further improvement. It was then, in the final minute that Sainz improved on Verstappen by 0.131s and also Russell slotted in between them before the end of Q2, 0.010s slower than Sainz.
As Stroll, Schumacher and Tsunoda all improvement to get through, Gasly dropped out, as well as both Alpines. Alonso particularly complained of traffic and replays indeed showed he was hindered by a Red Bull driver.
This left us with the final top 10 shootout in which both Red Bulls were again the first men out on track. Verstappen's first lap was again strong and more than half a second quicker than what his teammate managed. Hamilton came close but stranded at one tenth but it was Charles Leclerc who did the best job on the first efforts, topping everybody and notably Verstappen by 0.059s.
Sainz ended up in fourth, followed by Perez, Russell, Norris, Tsunoda and Schumacher. The latter two were more than 2 seconds off while Lance Stroll's Aston Martin suffered a technical issue and could not join Q3, fixing him to 10th on the race's starting grid.
The second attempts saw Leclerc on track first. The Ferrari driver managed to shave off a little bit of time of his first attempt despite a slower second sector, but Verstappen moments later have a wonderful middle sector and completed his lap 0.021s ahead of Leclerc. Sainz ended up third.
Crucially for both Mercedes, Sergio Perez spun in the final corner and caused a yellow flag situation that prevented Hamilton and Russell to make any improvements, leaving them in 4th and 6th, sandwiching the Mexican Red Bull driver.
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||1:11.317||1:10.927||1:10.342||12|
|5||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||1:11.641||1:11.314||1:11.077||19|
|7||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:11.556||1:11.116||1:11.174||18|
|8||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari||1:11.741||1:11.420||1:11.442||21|
|9||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Rbpt||1:11.427||1:11.428||1:12.556||21|
|10||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:11.568||1:11.416||14|
|11||10||Pierre Gasly||Alphatauri Rbpt||1:11.705||1:11.512||15|
|12||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:11.748||1:11.605||12|
|13||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault||1:11.667||1:11.613||11|
|14||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:11.826||1:11.704||15|
|15||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||1:11.695||1:11.802||16|
|16||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:11.961||9|
|17||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Mclaren Mercedes||1:12.081||8|
|18||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:12.319||9|
|19||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:12.391||8|
|20||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||1:13.353||5|