Home hero Max Verstappen did exactly what the Dutch fans expected of him. The reigning champion navigated through mixed track conditions and interruptions to go fastest. McLaren's Lando Norris will join him on the front row with Russell third fastest.
A wet track greeted the drivers at the start of qualifying. After the F2 sprint race as stopped due to heavy rain the skies cleared somewhat ahead of Formula One's qualifying session but it certainly provided interesting conditions.
Alex Albon was the first one to hit the track after a careful out-lap. Albon had performed quite well so far this weekend but at Turn 11 he found out how slippery the track really was, ending up cuttng the corner and going through the gravel on the inside of Turn 12.
Many others had similar findings with a Haas again in the gravel and Verstappen missing Turn 1, quickly questioning on the radio "what's happening with the car? I'm sliding everywhere".
The McLarens soon appeared to work like a charm again with Norris and Piastri exchanging the top times. Verstappen, Perez and Albon were also frequently in the top 5. Verstappen want fastest 4 minutes from the end on 7-lap old intermediates and was bettered by Albon half a minute later on fresh inters.
As Russell improved to 4th on 10-lap old intermediates, both McLarens, Haas, Aston Martins and Ferraris had pitted to take on fresh sets of intermediate tyres.
Times tumbled quickly towards the end with several drivers momentarily at risk. Sainz, Stroll and Alonso saved themselves comfortably on their first laps on fresh tyres. Leclec was the last one to get out of the elimination zone, doing so by just 0.048s following a near miss at Turn 11 and big slide of the kerbstones of Turn 13. Leclerc was once again not impressed by the communication from his team, saying they should focus on and tell him about where the other cars are so he can avoid traffic, "then everything else will be fine".
The cars were again queuing up at the start of Q2 as intense rain was close to the track albeit expected to pass south of the circuit. With skies threatening, Sergeant was the first to venture out on the clear track but it was Verstappen who proved fastest on the first timed lap. The Red Bull driver recorded a 1:20.690to underline a still improving track.
Albon quickly positioned himself again among the top 5 just like Norris who briefly want to top the times before Verstapen recorded another improvement.
Soon the sun appeared in between the patches of dark clouds. This led to a quickly drying track with a clear dry line forming from Turn 3 up to Turn 13 whereas the main straight continued to be very wet.
After Sainz took a fresh set of tyres that would prove very needed for him to get through into Q3 Verstappen did the same to eventually end Q2 with a 1:18.856. Norris only just managed to get through in the final seconds as well while Hamilton entered the pitlane a minute before the end of the session and subsequently tumbled down the times to get eliminated from Q3.
This all meant that for the first time this season both Williams made it through into Q3 alongside the Red Bulls, Ferraris, McLarens, Russell and Alonso.
After Norris claimed slicks were a risk but possible at the end of Q2 everybody opted to go out the soft Pirelli tyres for the final part of qualifying. On these tyres the Williams continued to work brilliantly. Albon immediately went fastest in 1:15.743 followed by Sargeant a second slower. The joy for Sargeant however proved short-lived as he ended up losing control of his car in Turn 6 and slammed into the barriers. The American escaped unscathed and damage to the car still appeared not too bad but it was enough to require a red flag and mean the end of Sargeant's qualifying session.
Sainz and Russell were the only drivers to have set a time when the accident happened. Sainz proved 1.498s and Russell 2.502s slower than the pace setter.
Following a lenghty stoppage to repair the barriers the session resumed with 8 minutes and a mere few seconds left on the clock. In the meantime the track had become even less wet but there continued to be considerable wet patches off line.
Carlos Sainz was the first to start his flying lap and he immediately showed the track had become faster. Albon discovered the same and just like before the break did better than his Ferrari counterpart. Albon however curiously opted to abort that first lap and dove back into the pits before completing the lap.
The first flying laps saw Norris go fastest, topping Piastri and Verstappen. Alonso took it easy on his first flying lap and was on his way to beating the McLaren times when the session was red flagged again thanks to Charles Leclerc judged grip levels badly and ended understeering into the barriers at Turn 9.
At the stoppage, 4 minutes and 5 seconds remained with Norris leading the timesheet, followed by Piastri, Verstappen, Russell, Leclerc, Perez, Albon, Sargeant, Alonso and Sainz.
The session continued 5 minutes later with Sainz first to take the track and Alonso following with the latter requiring a warm-up lap apparently.
Verstappen started his flying lap with 58 seconds on the clock with Piastri, Norris and Alonso all behind him. Verstappen did a 1:10.567. Norris had a great first sector but lost time in the remainder of the lap and ended up half a second down on the Red Bull.
Russell emerged in third, toppling Albon and Alonso. Carlos Sainz was 6th fastest while Perez disappointed again with 7th place. Piastri was unable to improve and ended up 8th, ahead only of Leclerc and Sargeant.
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:20.965||1:18.856||1:10.567||31|
|2||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||1:21.276||1:19.769||1:11.104||30|
|4||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||1:20.939||1:19.399||1:11.419||32|
|5||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:21.840||1:19.429||1:11.506||30|
|7||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||1:21.972||1:19.856||1:11.880||33|
|8||81||Oscar Piastri||Mclaren Mercedes||1:21.231||1:19.392||1:11.938||31|
|10||2||Logan Sargeant||Williams Mercedes||1:22.036||1:20.067||1:16.748||27|
|11||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||1:21.570||1:20.121||22|
|12||10||Pierre Gasly||Alpine Renault||1:21.735||1:20.128||21|
|14||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||1:21.781||1:20.230||22|
|15||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas Ferrari||1:21.891||1:20.250||20|
|16||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:22.067||12|
|17||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||1:22.110||12|
|18||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||1:22.192||11|
|19||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||1:22.260||12|
|20||40||Liam Lawson||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||1:23.420||12|