The last, and most important session of today is on it’s way - it is qualifying time here at Zandvoort, to sort the grid for the Dutch GP race tomorrow. It has been an eventful day on track already, as FP3, in the spirit of the previous sessions here has been red flagged after Carlos Sainz had a crash in Turn 3. Scuderia Ferrari is currently unsure if they will be able to send the car out for Q1. That is surely a big ouch for the team.
The session started with the track temperature of 35C and air temperature of 18C, which is definitely an improvement from the morning, as we’ve got the full sun out now.
The potential problems for the qualifying here at Zandvoort is the perfect timing to send your driver on track, in order to not get him stuck in the traffic, as this will have a huge impact on the results. And the position that the drivers will finish at today is crucial for tomorrow, as overtaking at Zandvoort is not an easy piece of cake.
Green light and the first drivers to get out were - Latifi, Tsunoda, Mazepin, Kubica and Schumacher. Soon after, the rest followed. In the first few minutes of the Q1, it was Verstappen with the best time of 1:10.036s. He was followed by his teammate Sergio Perez, who was soon replaced on 2nd by Valtteri Bottas. 8 minutes before the end of this part of the session, the drivers who found themselves in the dropout zone were - Tsunoda, Sainz, Mazepin, Schumacher and Kubica.
Before the end there was a huge queue of drivers trying to get to the finish line before the chequered flag and start their laps. After the full course of Q1, it was Leclerc with the best time overall, and Sainz was not only able to get out on track for qualifying, but also set the 2nd best time in that part of the session. We’ve got two Williams drivers advancing to Q2. The dropout zone was: Perez, Vettel, Kubica, Schumacher and Mazepin, and these drivers will not advance to the second part of the qualifying session.
The first drivers on track were Verstappen, Latifi, Russell and Norris. Soon they were joined by Russell, Giovinazzi and both Mercedes drivers. Latifi was the first one to set a timed lap with the time of 1:11.161s. He was soon replaced on the top of the leaderboard by the Dutchman Verstappen, with the time of 1:09.071s. Russell informed his team that the increasing wind at the track was making the stints a little bit more difficult. Indeed, the breeze has been picking up here in Zandvoort (we’re next to the North Sea after all). Five minutes before the end of that part of the session the drivers who found themselves in the dropout zone were: Russell, Stroll, Norris, Latifi and Tsunoda.
Q2 was soon red flagged, after Russell went into the barriers, but he was able to limp back to the pits. The sweepers got out on the track to clean the gravel, but due to that there is a potential that Russell might be able to get out on the track again if the car didn’t get substantial damage. Interesting. The track was soon declared clear and the session got restarted.
Unfortunately, after all, Russell did not get out for the remaining minutes of the Q2. The car potentially sustained too much damage to get out again. The session was not really going for long though, because another Williams had a shunt into the barriers, and this time it was the one of Nicholas Latifi. Q2 was not resumed after that, and the drivers that were out in Q2 were: Russell, Stroll, Norris, Latifi and Tsunoda.
The start of the session was postponed due to the reparations going on with the barriers after Latifi’s crash in Q2. After we’ve got the green light, everybody went out on track in order to fight for the best position for tomorrows race. Ricciardo was the first one to set a lapped time, but soon a loud roar could be heard from the grandstands as Verstappen set the fastest one, with the time of 1:08.923s, which is the fastest time so far here at Zandvoort. He was followed by Bottas and Hamilton. Most of the drivers after their one fast lap disappeared into the pits. Two minutes before the end of the session, everybody went back on track.
With the end of Q3, Max Verstappen will start tomorrows race from P1, followed by Lewis Hamilton on P2 and Valtteri Bottas on P3. The rest of the top 10: Gasly, Leclerc, Sainz, Giovinazzi, Ocon, Alonso and Ricciardo.
Final classification after the Qualifying for the Dutch GP:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">In the end, just 0.038s separated Max and Lewis! 😮<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DutchGP?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DutchGP</a> 🇳🇱 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/F1?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#F1</a> <a href="https://t.co/kq5MNRt06o">pic.twitter.com/kq5MNRt06o</a></p>— Formula 1 (@F1) <a href="https://twitter.com/F1/status/1434162283735887876?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 4, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>