Max Verstappen took his fourth pole position of the season and his second at the local Zandvoort circuit on Saturday, in a close session that saw him give it his all to beat Charles Leclerc to first place.
Just 0.021s separated Leclerc and Verstappen in a tense qualifying session. The Red Bull driver of course has an excellent chance to win his second home race, while Leclerc has a chance to surprise him and take his first win since Austria. The Monegasque driver posted a purple Sector 1 and Sector 3, while Verstappen explained that a faster Sector 2 was crucial to his pole-winning display.
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“We were quick in qualifying but it never showed,” said Verstappen. “Sometimes I got a little bit ahead and then I didn’t go racing again, Q2 was just a scuffed tyre, so yeah, I’m very happy with Q3, very good margins.
“And also the last race was a bit compromised on the lap because I only had one extra car in front of me, then I had to slow down too much in the first sector… so the tires weren’t really on. “. , then managed to recover a bit in Sector 2 and that was enough for pole.
“I knew I was losing a bit of time there, so yeah, just full risk of course in Q3.”
The Dutchman praised his team for delivering a fast RB18 after missing much of FP1 with a gearbox issue and had to scramble to make up time in FP2 before Leclerc topped the final practice session.
“Yes, it was special qualifying, especially after yesterday, it was really difficult and we had to change the car quite a bit because we didn’t really have any information. This morning was basically about learning a little bit about the car and perfecting it for qualifying,” she said.
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“I think we have a complete car. You can see how quickly it changes though, because at Spa we were dominant, here it seemed a bit tricky at first, and now it was very close in qualifying, so you can clearly see on the higher downforce tracks, it looks like we have a little more trouble. to get the best out of the car.
“But it’s still a fast car and after last night you see that the whole factory and here on the track, we made the right decision with the car and how to make it fast.
“I think it will be close, but basically for most of the races this year it has been like that. And I’m looking forward to it, and hopefully we can have a good race.”
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As for his teammate Sergio Pérez, he brought out a yellow flag at the end of Q3 with a spin at Turn 13 and finished fifth on the grid among the Mercedes drivers, none of whom had a chance to improve as a result of the crash. Perez mistake.
“Yeah, I just made a mistake,” Perez said. “I went in too deep and unfortunately I kissed the gravel a bit while taking power and that really put me off. Unfortunately, it was a great shame, but it is what it is.
“I think we have a good opportunity for tomorrow. So hopefully we can get back to it, get off to a good start and that we can make some good progress.”