‘We had to risk it!’ – Verstappen hails ‘very enjoyable’ final lap to net third Dutch GP pole in a row
Max Verstappen expressed his satisfaction after pulling a lap out of the bag at the end of Saturday’s qualifying session at Zandvoort to score a third successive Dutch Grand Prix pole position.
Verstappen trailed McLaren pair Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri after the first Q3 laps but rose to the fore following two red flags with a stunning time of 1m 10.567s, putting him more than half a second clear of the field.
“It was a very tricky qualifying, starting of course with the intermediates, but also the track surface was quite slippery, [with] the new tarmac,” said Verstappen, who will share the front row with Norris, and was more than a second quicker than seventh-placed team mate Sergio Perez.
“It was all about putting your laps in but also staying out of trouble. I think we managed that quite well, but then also at the end when we could go onto the slick tyres, [where] it was one dry line in some places. We had to risk it a bit, but that last lap was very enjoyable.”
While some drivers opted for slicks when Q3 got under way, Verstappen initially headed out on intermediates before a crash for Logan Sargeant brought out the red flags – a move he was also asked about after qualifying.
“We’ve been to some other places already where we’ve had wet races and stuff and I think this was the first time we came here with this kind of condition,” said Verstappen, with all drivers bolting on slicks when the session resumed.
“I think we underestimated maybe a little bit with the wind as well, and then the sun coming out, how quickly it dried. It’s again all about experience and lessons you take forward but at the end of the day it didn’t matter, we still did the right thing.”
As for the passionate crowd that is cheering him toward further success on home soil this weekend, Verstappen said: “I mean, the pressure is always there to perform, but when you can pull it off it’s incredible.”
Verstappen will be hoping he can turn pole into a third straight victory at his home track on Sunday, while pushing for what would be a record-equalling ninth straight overall win alongside four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.