Verstappen says technical issues prevented Dutch GP pole position from even faster around ‘incredible’ Zandvoort
The Zandvoort crowd erupted after local hero Max Verstappen beat title rival Lewis Hamilton on pole position for Sunday’s Dutch Grand Prix by just 0.038s. It was a tight margin, with Verstappen suggesting after the session that it was tighter than necessary, with the Red Bull rider believing that gear shifting issues and a suspected DRS issue cost him lap time.
Verstappen had set the first benchmark in Q3 with a lap of 1m 08.923 on the 2.6 mile Zandvoort circuit, returning to the F1 calendar for the first time since 1985. He would then improve slightly to 1m 08.885 in his last race. as Hamilton missed by 0.038 seconds, sending Dutch fans ecstatic.
READ MORE: Verstappen thrills home fans after edging out Hamilton to win thrilling Dutch GP pole
And after securing his seventh pole position of the season, Verstappen was asked why he is so confident on the Dutch track so far this weekend.
“I didn’t do any simulation sessions before I got here, so I guess that was the key!” he joked. “Normally I do a lot of simulator work. I didn’t do it for Spa either, and I have to say that out of the box the car was actually absolutely fine, so I guess that’s the secret.
2021 Dutch GP qualifying: Verstappen takes superb pole position at home
“It’s an incredible feeling of course to get pole position here,” he added. “It was already a lot of fun, I have to say, to drive on this track, but in qualifying of course, when you go very low on fuel, it was incredible, especially sector 2 was really pleasant to drive.
“And then of course driving home with all these fans of course going crazy every time I crossed the line. So having a pole position here is of course very satisfying.
AS IT HAPPENED: Follow all the action from qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix
The pole may have been that of Verstappen. But Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told media after qualifying that Verstappen suffered a suspected DRS failure on his final lap, which meant he didn’t have that function at his disposal. during his final round – a fact Verstappen was not aware of when he faced the media in the post-qualifying press conference.
“Is this true? I don’t know!” he replied when asked how the loss of the DRS could have affected his lap time. “But for me the problems started earlier, turn 3 is pretty bumpy and I had a double shift. I was two tenths ahead of my lap, then I lost about a tenth and a half until turn 7.
“Then you also use more energy, because you are a higher gear, because I also reduced. So I don’t know, I have to check but I didn’t know my DRS was closed to the line. It is not very beautiful.
READ MORE: Watch the moment Verstappen sends Zandvoort crowd wild as he takes pole for Dutch GP
Verstappen’s main problem now is the two Mercedes Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas starting just behind him in P2 and P3 around the narrow limits of Zandvoort – while his teammate Sergio Perez is set to start P16, having made an exit from shock in Q1, the baffled Mexican explaining to the media: “I think we had a great car. We had the pace to lock in the front row today and that’s why it hurts so much as a team.
“We just have to see what we did wrong… It’s such a shame because we had such a fantastic car today that I don’t know what to say now.”
Poleman Verstappen admits it was “great to see the crowd go crazy”