Max Verstappen had the entire qualifying session under control and edged out championship rival Lewis Hamilton to pole position at the Dutch Grand Prix on Saturday. The home crowd roared in approval as the Flying Dutchman secured the top spot by just 0.038 seconds.
It was an exhilarating final few seconds of the session that allowed the Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas to lock out the two slots just behind Verstappen. Unfortunately, the other Red Bull car of Sergio Perez won't be able to offer any support nor protection in the opening laps after he got caught out by the track evolution in Q1. Basically, Perez came out too early and his best time from the session was easily beaten by the other drivers who came out later as the track became much quicker. He missed out on Q2 and will start from P16 unless the team chooses to start him from the pits.
Pierre Gasly continued to impress as he managed to put his Alpha Tauri up in fourth just behind Bottas and ahead both Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.
The Zandvoort circuit is notorious for being difficult to overtake and as it stands, Verstappen holds the advantage. However, and small mistake can easily hand the lead over to his championship rival, Hamilton, who is just behind him. "It is of course the best position. We know passing is difficult, a lot of laps around here, the tyres are struggling around the high-speed corners but I hope we can finish it off tomorrow," he said, as quoted by the BBC.
The extremely biased crowd was all decked out in orange, and they were not shy to let Hamilton know that they are behind Verstappen. Loud boos and whistles could be heard as the Briton was being interviewed after the session, but he took it in stride and said that he appreciated all the fans who came out to watch the race.
"I want to say a big thank you to all the orange fans here, the Dutch fans. What an amazing venue and track. I really love coming to this country. Max did an amazing lap and I was so close to catching him. With yesterday's session missed, it made it difficult, but I did my best," he said.