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Verstappen sparks Dutch delight with pole as Russell and Latifi crash in qualifying

Verstappen sparks Dutch delight with pole as Russell and Latifi crash in qualifying

F1 News

Verstappen sparks Dutch delight with pole as Russell and Latifi crash in qualifying

Verstappen sparks Dutch delight with pole as Russell and Latifi crash in qualifying

Max Verstappen sparked Dutch delight around Zandvoort by securing the 10th pole position of his F1 career in a qualifying session disrupted by crashes involving both Williams.

Red Bull driver Verstappen was in a class of his own in front of his 70,000 supporters at Zandvoort, setting a stunning lap of one minute 08.885secs for his sixth pole in his last seven races, and with a DRS that failed to open correctly late on.

After improving on his second flying lap in Q3, Verstappen ultimately finished just 0.038s clear of title rival Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes, with track position crucial at a circuit where every driver has declared it will be almost impossible to overtake.

Hamilton ousted team-mate Valtteri Bottas from second with his second lap, leaving the Finn to start on the second row alongside AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly, who produced a superb performance.

The French driver will line up ahead of Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, whose team performed brilliantly to get his SF21 ready after a crash in final practice.

Antonio Giovinazzi delivered his best F1 qualifying display to start seventh ahead of Alpine duo Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso, with McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo 10th.

But it was a qualifying impacted heavily by two red flags in Q2 as first George Russell and then Williams team-mate Nicholas Latifi were involved in incidents, the second of which leading to the session being aborted with 98 seconds remaining.

With four minutes remaining in Q2 and sitting a place outside the top 10, George Russell was on course to make it into Q3 at that stage when he lost the rear of his car into the entry of the sweeping turn-13 right-hander.

By his own admission, Russell conceded he 'pushed too hard in the last corner', leading to him careering backwards across the gravel before hitting a barrier with his right-rear tyre.

The session was immediately red-flagged to check for barrier repairs, but also to clear the gravel off the track as Russell managed to keep his car running and return to the garage.

The 10-minute delay before the session resumed initially appeared as if it would work in Russell's favour as his team were able to check his car over and seemingly get him ready for one final shot at Q3.

But with "a bit of damage to the rear suspension", revealed Russell, he was unable to return.

On the resumption, Russell's team-mate Latifi then suffered a big impact into turn eight on his flying lap, leading to the session being stopped for a second time but ultimately aborted with one minute and 38 seconds on the clock.

Latifi clearly carried too much speed into the fast right-hander, and under braking, the Canadian driver spun and hurtled backwards across the gravel before hitting a barrier heavily.

Latifi thankfully climbed out of his car unaided before being collected by the medical car, but with the session not restarting, it prevented any improvement across the field.

It means Russell will start 11th ahead of Aston Martin's Lance Stroll and Lando Norris in his McLaren, the first time this season the Briton has not made it into Q3.

Latifi lines up 14th, although almost certainly will face a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, with AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda 15th quickest.

In Q1, there was a major shock as Verstappen's team-mate Sergio Perez could only qualify a miserable 16th as just half a second covered Sainz in second down to the Mexican at the end of Q1.

Unsurprisingly, on such a short and fast track, the traffic late in the session was hectic as drivers aimed to avoid the bottom five.

To such an extent, there was a queue lining up to start the final flying lap, and Perez missed the time to start that lap "by a second", according to team principal Christian Horner.

"His out lap was just a bit too slow," added Horner. "With 20-20 vision we should have sent him out a little bit earlier, but still very disappointing not to have two cars through."

Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel was another victim of the traffic build-up, but in his case, he was forced to abort his flying lap through the final corner as Haas' Nikita Mazepin moved across onto the four-time champion's racing line.

The stewards are to investigate the incident, and while a penalty seems inevitable, it will not help Vettel nor have any effect on Mazepin as he starts last.

Ahead of the Russian and after Vettel is Robert Kubica, substituting for Covid-hit Kimi Raikkonen this weekend at Alfa Romeo, while Mick Schumacher qualified 19th in his Haas.

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