GP Netherlands | Classification
The Dutchman fulfilled the expectations and added the pole in front of his public ahead of the Ferrari, with Carlos Sainz third
It cannot be said that it is a surprise to see Max Verstappen with the fastest time to start first on Sunday. The Dutch fans who were gathered from the first hour knew that betting on their compatriot was the easy bid, although not because Ferrari made it easy for them.
And it is that Charles Leclerc was very close to spoil the party. An early celebration that almost destroyed an overworked fan, who launched a flare (presumably aimed at Lewis Hamilton) in the middle of the track and caused a red flag (and his own expulsion from the venue). The Monegasque from Ferrari was 21 thousandths away from snatching pole position from the World Championship leader and current champion, who wants to take another step towards the title.
It was a classification according to the script. If it is not surprising to see Verstappen first and Leclerc second, neither is it that Carlos Sainz is third. The man from Madrid took advantage of his options from the first moment, although Ferrari’s excess of optimism (not to say something stronger) almost cost him an upset: he went from Q1 to Q2 with the fourteenth time, by just one tenth with respect to Zhou, who narrowly missed the cut. In the race there will be no other option but to fight to at least get to the podium.
After the bad or, at least, disappointing results that the Scuderia is having in the last rounds, Sainz has emerged as a growing driver who has Leclerc in his sights. The Monegasque does not have much room for failure, especially since he has already fallen from second place overall.
Sainz is already stalking that alleged de facto leadership that his partner has within Ferrari. «We have been close but I am happy because it has been a clean lap, without errors. I was half a tenth or a little more short of beating Max and Charles and I was at the limit. Every little meter of track I’ve used to push. It has been a classification where I have been improving and I have done a decent job, ”the Spanish claimed.
Luckily for Ferrari, they won’t have the Mercedes in front of them. Neither Lewis Hamilton, who will start fourth, nor George Russell, sixth, fulfilled the expectations that were placed on them in qualifying. It cannot be said that it was his fault: Sergio Pérez, whose performance compared to Verstappen’s speaks for itself and not for the better, spun when he hit the ground and stayed crossed. The Mercedes drivers, among others, were forced to lift and therefore were left without improving their times.
Alonso, thirteenth and angry
What was a disappointment for the Spanish fans (there are, ‘there are’) in the Netherlands was the result of Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard had been clearly faster than Esteban Ocon in all free practice, so by pure logic the same thing should have happened in qualifying.
It was not so. When he was doing his good lap at the end of Q2, because he had to take advantage of the progressive improvement of the track, he found an inopportune Red Bull who was coming back from doing his. You can’t just blame that incident, because if he had done his good lap earlier he wouldn’t have had to wait for the circuit to be clear of traffic, but it certainly didn’t help.
“It has not been our day. It was the traffic in Q2 that made it difficult for us to get to Q3, since we were half a second faster and could have been in sixth position”, Alonso analyzed after the session, notably disappointed. “We couldn’t show the true potential of the car, but these things can happen on a track as narrow as Zandvoort. We will see if we can use the pace of the car this Sunday and have a better result in the race, when it is necessary. It’s not easy to overtake here as we saw last year, but we’ll push to score as many points as possible », wished the carbayón, reasonably optimistic about his options.
Alonso’s work has been overshadowed above all because Ocon has surpassed him. Right now, and until the end of the year, this will be his only rival… before thinking green.
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