F1 2021
Round 13

Verstappen Takes Pole At The #DutchGP For Honda Power

nl Zandvoort

A thrilling and extremely popular pole position for Max and a spot on the second row for Pierre were the highlights of a tense and interrupted qualifying session at Zandvoort.

Verstappen Takes Pole At The #DutchGP For Honda Power

In front of the expectant Orange Army, it was a frustrating start to Q1 as track evolution and traffic played a big part in an early surprise. Red Bull Racing and Sergio were caught out by the situation and he was unable to start his final lap, meaning he was eliminated in 16th place by just 0.041s, missing out even though he was less than half a second away from the top three.

Max, Pierre and Yuki all advanced safely with good laps, but Yuki would be the next Honda-powered driver to suffer misfortune due to two red flags in Q2. After the initial runs, Yuki was in 15th place after using a set of old soft tyres for his first lap. However, he wouldn’t get the chance of a second attempt as both Williams drivers crashed, the second incident coming with 1m38s remaining on the clock and ensuring the session would not be restarted.

It means Yuki and Sergio will start side-by-side on the eighth row, with a free choice of starting tyres on Sunday.

Q3 ran much more smoothly and none of the delays interrupted Max’s momentum as he went on to take a crucial pole position in front of his home crowd. After being the first driver to go under 1m09s on his first run, he then improved again with his final lap to hold off Lewis Hamilton and secure the 10th pole position of his career and the 87th for Honda power in F1.

For Scuderia AlphaTauri, Pierre delivered a stunning performance of his own to beat the Ferraris to a spot on the second row, equalling the best qualifying result of his career.

Toyoharu Tanabe
Toyoharu Tanabe
Honda Racing F1
In his first ever Formula 1 qualifying at his home race, Max produced a fantastic performance to take pole in front of an equally fantastic crowd. Pierre also drove very well to secure a brilliant fourth place on the second row, equalling his best ever qualifying result. Unfortunately, Checo and Yuki were both unlucky and were unable to complete their final runs, in the first case mainly because of traffic and  in the second, because a red flag meant he could not attempt a final run. It’s not what we wanted but we must see what they can do tomorrow. Overtaking is very difficult here so the start will be crucial. It’s clear that there could be interruptions with either a red flag or a Safety Car period, so we will have to be prepared for every possible situation. Since Thursday the number of fans has steadily increased here, as has the noise they are making! For the Honda team members, it feels a bit like being at our home track in Suzuka, enjoying all the local support we get there. Tomorrow, we hope to be able to give the fans here the result they are waiting for. 

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen 33
Red Bull Racing
It feels great to be on pole position and of course it makes it even more satisfying when it’s at one of your home races. Everyone was going crazy each time I crossed the line and it’s amazing to see people having the time of their lives in the grandstands.  I’ve had so much fun already from FP1 driving this track and in qualifying when you’re on low fuel it’s just incredible. Sector two and the banked corners, plus the last corner where you’re flat, it’s a nice sensation and it’s just so enjoyable to drive. It’s an old school track that is flowing and fast like Suzuka where you really feel the grip of a Formula One car, it’s challenging and I enjoy tracks like this. Today we worked really well as a Team and took another good step forward with the car compared to yesterday. Qualifying was quite tricky with the red flags, you could see there was no room for error which is nice and makes it more exciting, but my lap itself was good. There were two occasions where I lost some time, first with a double upshift coming out of Turn 3 where it is very bumpy, and then my DRS didn’t open coming out of the last corner which we need to look into, but fortunately the lap was enough for pole. Of course at this track it’s important to be starting from out in front because it’s very difficult to overtake here so the start will be key and then we need to look after our tyres and be on alert because new tracks can often bring chaos. I expect Mercedes to be strong, you could see the gap was close today, so tomorrow isn’t as straightforward as it seems.

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly 10
Scuderia AlphaTauri
I’m extremely happy getting P4 in Quali today, as it hasn’t been that easy up until this point here, we’ve struggled a bit and lacked some pace in practice. We managed to find some extra time and put a really strong lap together when it counted and it’s great to be able to say we will start tomorrow’s race from the second row. We knew how important Quali was on this track, as it’s going to be quite tricky to overtake during the race, and we were able to do a very good job today. The team gave me a great car and starting tomorrow in such a strong position, I’ll give it all to bring home a good result.

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda 22
Scuderia AlphaTauri
I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made this weekend, I’ve been building up the lap steadily and this approach has worked really well for me. This is a really fun track to drive and I really enjoyed the Qualifying session, I was feeling confident in the car and it was good to make it through to Q2. It’s unfortunate that there was no opportunity to put a lap altogether in the end with my new tyre, due to the red flag, but it is what it is. The pace is definitely there, I think it might’ve been possible to make it through to Q3, so there are mixed feelings about this afternoon, but overall I am happy with how today went from my side.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez 11
Red Bull Racing
I’m really disappointed today because we had such a fantastic car going into qualifying.  We were making great progress and could have had two cars up there tomorrow, possibly locking out the front row and so we really didn’t expect to be in this position.  We were just so unlucky at the end, people were going so slow in the pit lane and I didn’t manage to get my second lap in, I missed it by just one second and a half.  We’ll discuss today together as a group and see what we can learn for the next race as this is how we get stronger as a Team. We know tomorrow will be really difficult to overtake, but this is an unpredictable track, no one knows what to expect and so of course I will try and minimise the damage and score something for the Team.

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