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Max Verstappen will once again line up at the front of the grid in the Dutch GP. The Red Bull driver secured his eighth pole position of 2023 in dominant fashion in a wet-dry qualifying.
F1 Dutch GP qualifying: who will be on pole?
Max Verstappen will be on pole for the Dutch GP. The local driver made it a hat-trick of poles at Zandvoort, beating out McLaren’s Lando Norris by over 0.5s. George Russell will line up third on Sunday, while the ever impressive Alexander Albon secured a career best fourth for Williams.
Q1: Albon narrowly beats Verstappen, Ocon out early
The session got underway on a still relatively wet track, although conditions had improved enough to allow a switch to intermediates. McLaren duo Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri quickly went top, with Norris setting a 1:22.059 to beat his teammate by 0.333s. The Australian, meanwhile, had a near-miss with Carlos Sainz Jr. as the Ferrari driver exited the pits.
Towards the final third of the session, conditions had significantly improved, leading to a flurry of fast laps. Alexander Albon topped the opening part of qualifying with a 1:20.939, edging Verstappen by just 0.026s.
Out in Q1 were Alfa Romeo duo Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas along with Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen and rookie Liam Lawson. The 21-year old Kiwi, who is subbing in for the injured Daniel Ricciardo, was just over 1.5s down on teammate Yuki Tsunoda.
Q2: Verstappen on top, Hamilton out, both Williams advance
The track continued to dry quickly, with the sun sneaking out to greet the drivers at the start of Q2. With too much standing water outside the racing line, however, all drivers opted for intermediates again.
Just as it was in Q1, times tumbled as the cars went across the line. All drivers bar Norris pitted to fit in a new set for intermediates for the final run, with just under two minutes to go. The McLaren driver, who had dropped down to 12th place, did just enough to secure a transfer spot in seventh place. Verstappen led from Piastri, while a late flyer from Logan Sargeant saw the American rookie advance into Q3 for the first time, joining teammate Albon.
Further down the order, Hamilton found himself out in 13th place. The seven-time champion bailed out on his final attempt, missing out on a transfer spot by a mere 0.084s. Joining Hamilton were Lance Stroll, Pierre Gasly, Tsunoda and Nico Hulkenberg.
Q3: Verstappen beats Norris to pole after two red flags
The track had dried enough for some drivers to go into slicks for Q3. Verstappen chose to remain in the pits for the first run.
Sargeant’s Q3 debut came to an abrupt end only two minutes in. Having just set his banker lap, the American rookie lost control heading into turn 2 and went hard into the barrier, brining out a lengthy red flag.
After a long wait, the session resumed with eight minutes to go. McLaren went first and second, with Norris leading Piastri. Verstappen was third, over three tenths down. Not too long after that, another red flag came out, this time courtesy of Leclerc. The Monegasque understeered out of turn 9 and smashed the left-side of his Ferrari into the tyre barrier.
With four minutes to go, the session went green again. Verstappen soon lit up the timing screen, setting a 1:10.567 and beating Norris’ benchmark by over 1.5s. Norris was over half-a-second slower, but did enough to secure another front row start. Albon secured a career best fourth with his final effort, having been demoted from third place by George Russell’s late flyer. Fernando Alonso completed the top 5, with Sainz, Piastri, Leclerc and Sargeant rounding out the top 10.
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