MAX VERSTAPPEN has secured his fourth pole position of the season in one of the closest sessions of the year.
Max Verstappen makes subtle dig at Lewis Hamilton in April
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Max Verstappen has praised his Red Bull team for turning around his fortunes to take pole by the tightest margin of the season at the Dutch Grand Prix. Verstappen was just two-hundredths of a second faster than Charles Leclerc but did benefit from a late Sergio Perez crash.
He said: “Unbelievable! Especially after yesterday, we worked really well overnight to turn it around. A qualifying lap around here is insane. Today the car was enjoyable to drive.”
Leclerc had managed to pip Verstappen to provisional pole during the first run in Q3. There was then some concern the session could get red flagged after another flare was spotted on the side of the track.
Leclerc lost time in the second sector on his final run which opened the door for Verstappen to pip him by less than one-tenth. However, Mercedes were unable to get a clean run at the end after Perez lost control and spun at the final corner.
READ MORE: Dutch Grand Prix qualifying results: Verstappen pole as Perez crashes
Max Verstappen secured pole at Zandvoort (Image: Twitter / F1)
Verstappen’s weekend got off to a poor start in practice yesterday with the reigning champion breaking down with a gearbox fault just minutes into FP1. The team was then uncompetitive in the afternoon, with the Dutchman a massive six-tenths slower in the second session.
Team boss Christian Horner was delighted with Verstappen after qualifying but warned the team were under “massive pressure” to beat Ferrari. He commented: “He had a difficult day yesterday, we were on the back foot yesterday so it was important to recover.
“What impressed me so much with that quali was his lap on the scrubbed tyres in Q2. That saved him a set of tyres for tomorrow. Charles put down a hell of a marker with that first run in Q3 and massive, massive pressure to go and deliver a lap and he did it.
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Chalres Leclerc missed pole by a fraction of a second (Image: Sky Sports F1)
“He did it all in sector 2 really. A really perfect lap – a tiny margin, but a vital one for tomorrow’s race.”
Leclerc looked devastated after qualifying as he realised how close he was to grabbing his first pole since the French Grand Prix. However, the Ferrari star warned Verstappen may not have it their own way tomorrow based on race pace.
Speaking after the session, Leclerc explained: “Max did a great lap in the end, our car was getting better and better. In the beginning, I was scared because Max was much quicker than us on used tyres.
“We are much stronger here compared to last weekend, and our race pace looks quite strong. We need to do a great start and then we’ll see.”