Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit Zandvoort, 2022

Verstappen narrowly beats Leclerc to claim pole position at home again

2022 Dutch Grand Prix qualifying

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Max Verstappen snatched pole position for his home grand prix by beating Charles Leclerc by just 0.021s in a tight qualifying session at Zandvoort.

What appeared to be a tiny mistake at turn nine on his final Q3 lap cost Leclerc a tenth of a second, which allowed Verstappen to pip him for pole by just two-hundredths of a second. Carlos Sainz Jnr will start from third on the grid, with Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez and George Russell behind.


It was a beautiful summer afternoon at Zandvoort as the green light at the end of the pit lane signalled the beginning of the qualifying hour. The opening minutes of the session were fairly quiet, with none of the expected pole position contenders heading out of their garages in the first minutes.

That allowed the two Aston Martins of Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel to set the early pace, Stroll going quickest with a 1’12.505. That was beaten by Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren, who pipped Stroll by just 0.015s, before the frontrunners began their first laps of qualifying.

Max Verstappen immediately went fastest, setting a blistering benchmark of a 1’11.317. The Ferrari of Carlos Sainz Jnr managed to get just within half a second of Verstappen’s time, but Fernando Alonso beat his fellow Spaniard by one tenth of a second.

The Mercedes of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton headed out onto the circuit and moved into second and third respectively, both around a quarter of a second slower than Verstappen. They were both beaten by Charles Leclerc, who improved on his best time to go just over a tenth of a second off Verstappen in second place.

With five minutes remaining in the session, the drop zone consisted of Vettel, Ricciardo, Alexander Albon, Mick Schumacher and Nicholas Latifi. Albon took advantage of a clear track to improve from 18th to seventh, bumping Kevin Magnussen into danger of elimination in 16th. The Haas driver improved on his final attempt to jump safe, as did team mate Schumacher, which dropped Esteban Ocon and Lando Norris into the drop zone.

Bottas appeared to move himself clear with a lap good enough for 12th, dropping Pierre Gasly into danger. Ocon improved to go safe, as did Norris and Gasly. That bumped Bottas back into elimination in 16th place and ended his chances of progressing.

The Alfa Romeo driver was therefore eliminated, while Ricciardo joined him in 17th, half a second slower than team mate Norris. Magnussen was also knocked out in 18th after his final lap was deleted for track limits at turn three, though it wouldn’t have been good enough to get him into Q2. Vettel went across the gravel at the exit of turn 13 on his final lap, ensuring he went no further. Latifi, who complained earlier in the session he was getting repeated ‘cool the car messages’, also went out in 20th place.

Q1 result

11Max VerstappenRed BullRB181’11.3173
244Lewis HamiltonMercedesW131’11.3310.0146
322Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’11.4270.1109
416Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’11.4430.1266
54Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’11.5560.2396
663George RussellMercedesW131’11.5610.2446
718Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’11.5680.2519
811Sergio PerezRed BullRB181’11.6410.3248
914Fernando AlonsoAlpine-RenaultA5221’11.6670.3505
1023Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW441’11.6950.3789
1110Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’11.7050.3889
1247Mick SchumacherHaas-FerrariVF-221’11.7410.4249
1331Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5221’11.7480.4316
1455Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariF1-751’11.7670.4506
1524Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’11.8260.5099
1677Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’11.9610.6449
173Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’12.0810.7648
1820Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-221’12.3191.0029
195Sebastian VettelAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’12.3911.0748
206Nicholas LatifiWilliams-MercedesFW441’13.3532.0365

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The second phase of qualifying got underway with Albon heading out onto the circuit to take advantage of the quiet and clear road, but he was denied the opportunity to set a flying lap in peace when the session was red flagged. The reason was quickly revealed to be due to an orange smoke flare which someone thoughtlessly threw onto the track on the run between turns 12 and 13. Albon was forced to abandon his run.

After the offending debris was quickly cleared away, and the offending spectator taken away, the session resumed with just under 14 minutes remaining. Albon rejoined the circuit, but this time was joined by the two Red Bulls of Verstappen and Perez. Verstappen’s lap was the quickest of the weekend, a 1’10.927 to break into the 1’10s for the first time in the weekend. Perez was almost four tenths of a second slower than his team mate at the end of his run.

Then it was the Mercedes’ turn, with Hamilton going second quickest after his first flying lap, a tenth-and-a-half slower than the Red Bull, with Russell managing fourth behind Perez after his first lap. The Ferraris went out on the soft tyres they had used in Q1, but could only manage seventh and ninth, putting them at risk of others’ improving. Lance Stroll was among those who placed ahead of them, impressively jumping up to fourth position after his first flying lap of the session in the Aston Martin.

As the minutes ticked down and the track fell quiet again, Gasly and Ocon again found themselves in the drop zone, with Zhou Guanyu, Yuki Tsunoda and Schumacher’s Haas also set to be eliminated if they were unable to improve. On the bubble in tenth, Albon yet again chose to run on an empty lap and improved his personal best, but remained in that perilous tenth position.

Zhou was the first of the drivers in danger to complete his final lap, moving from 13th into the temporary safety of tenth place, knocking Albon into 11th and out. Schumacher also improved to go ninth, which sealed Zhou’s fate.

Ocon moved into safety, but only briefly, as Tsunoda’s final lap was good enough to put him into tenth, which dropped Ocon and also team mate Alonso into danger. Gasly was the final driver to complete his lap, having urged his team to send him out late, and could not improve by enough to go safe, leaving him the first driver eliminated from Q2 in 11th behind his team mate. Ocon therefore went out in 12th, ahead of team mate Alonso, who failed to improve on his final flying lap after complaining Perez got in his way at turn eight.

Q2 result

155Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariF1-751’10.81412
263George RussellMercedesW131’10.8240.01012
31Max VerstappenRed BullRB181’10.9270.1136
416Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’10.9880.17412
544Lewis HamiltonMercedesW131’11.0750.26112
64Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’11.1160.30212
711Sergio PerezRed BullRB181’11.3140.50013
818Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’11.4160.60214
947Mick SchumacherHaas-FerrariVF-221’11.4200.60615
1022Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’11.4280.61415
1110Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’11.5120.69815
1231Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5221’11.6050.79112
1314Fernando AlonsoAlpine-RenaultA5221’11.6130.79911
1424Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’11.7040.89015
1523Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW441’11.8020.98816

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With the top five drivers in Q2 separated by a handful of tenths in the second session, the final phase of qualifying looked set to be one of the most competitive of the season so far. When the final 12 minutes began, Verstappen was the final driver to exit the pit lane and head out for his first run, with team mate Perez following not far behind.

The championship leader’s first flying lap was a 1’10.515 – comfortably the fastest lap of the weekend. Using a scrubbed set of tyres, Perez could not get within half a second of his team mate on his first run, but he was at least a full second faster than Norris at the end of the McLaren’s first run.

Russell also attempted his first lap on used tyres and he crossed the line just under a tenth slower than Perez, while Hamilton made the most of fresh softs to go second, a tenth behind Verstappen. Finally, it was the turn of Ferrari to complete their first runs, with Leclerc jumping to provisional pole position with a 1’10.456, half a tenth faster than Verstappen’s first time. Sainz could only put his Ferrari fourth for his first flying lap.

In the final minutes of the session, the field began to venture out onto the circuit for the final time, with Leclerc leading the pack out of the pit lane and Verstappen ahead of Sainz with the two Mercedes behind. Another flare landed on the track, but this time it rolled away and after a brief yellow flag the track went green again.

That turned out to be fortunate for Verstappen. Leclerc went fastest of all in the opening sector but a mistake in the middle sector cost him time. He crossed the line to improve his own pole time by just under a tenth, leaving the door open for his Red Bull rival.

The local hero did not need an invitation and squeaked ahead of Leclerc by just 0.021s to snatch pole position to the delight of his legion of fans in the grandstands. There was still time for Perez and the Mercedes pair to improve, however a mistake from Perez at turn 13 saw the Red Bull spinning across the track and bringing out the yellow flags, which ruined the final flying laps of the Mercedes behind and guaranteed Verstappen took a second consecutive home pole position.

Leclerc was frustrated to settle for second place after being told he lost a tenth of a second with his mistake in the middle sector. Sainz secure third on the grid, ahead of Hamilton’s Mercedes, with Perez and Russell ending up in fifth and sixth after Perez’s late error.

Norris took seventh on the grid, ahead of Schumacher and Tsunoda, with Stroll left stranded in tenth after a technical problem meant he was unable to take part in the final session.

Q3 result

11Max VerstappenRed BullRB181’10.34212
216Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’10.3630.02118
355Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariF1-751’10.4340.09218
444Lewis HamiltonMercedesW131’10.6480.30617
511Sergio PerezRed BullRB181’11.0770.73518
663George RussellMercedesW131’11.1470.80518
74Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’11.1740.83218
847Mick SchumacherHaas-FerrariVF-221’11.4421.10021
922Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’12.5562.21421
1018Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR22No time14

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2022 Dutch Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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19 comments on “Verstappen narrowly beats Leclerc to claim pole position at home again”

  1. Given Ferrari’s tendency to be harder on the tires, Leclerc will have to make a pretty impressive start tomorrow to have any chance of winning the race.

    Not sure why Latifi and Ricciardo are still in F1. It can’t be very fun for them either, and the teams would probably benefit from having their replacement get some experience before joining the teams full time next season.

    On a slight tangent: F1 has been so vocal about supporting diversity. Yet when it comes to finding someone, anyone, in the entire world for their own international coverage they find, of all people, the son of the English commentator? Nothing against the guy, but come on. F1 should try harder.

    1. Fun thing is in spa the english commentators said: a disappointment for daniel ricciardo when he got knocked out in quali, and then the race after he got knocked out in q1 while norris went in q3, I mean, every weekend is a disappointment then.

      1. Indeed, and while it’s no doubt a disappointment it’s anything but a surprise. McLaren currently has the largest gap between the two cars’ average qualifying position – even worse than Williams and Red Bull. Ricciardo gets cut a lot of slack for the usual reasons, but his performances continue to be rather poor.

    2. That aside, a very interesting quali, merc looked competitive too and it was damn close between verstappen and leclerc in q3 throughout their laps.

      1. Yeah, indeed very interesting! The yellow flag after Perez left the track was unlucky for the Mercs.

    3. “Not sure why Latifi and Ricciardo are still in F1. It can’t be very fun for them either, and the teams would probably benefit from having their replacement get some experience before joining the teams full time next season.”

      As a Ricardo fan I am forced to agree. He is simply not doing the job anymore. He was great and even WDC potential, but has fallen ever backwards, probably time to retire anyway. I’m sure the team would also like to get the new boy into the car sooner than later, they have nothing to loose

  2. Those flares are not just annoying for the fans, but they can impact the race as well.
    Just throw a flare on the middle of the track when your driver wants to pit and he’ll have the benefit of maybe a Red Flag.

    1. @jff I agree although a flare would cause an SC deployment at max rather than red.
      No more massively disrupting than a track invasion by a person.
      Nevertheless, hopefully, no one will throw them on track tomorrow if/when flares still won’t get confiscated if anyone attempts to bring them in.

    2. The guy who had thrown the flare on the track was picked out of the crowd and thrown out. So that’s good.

      Hopefully they do that with other ‘flarers’ too. These things are forbidden to bring to the track.

  3. Can these fans stop throwing flares onto the track? Anyone can throw a flare tomorrow and make a huge impact on a safety car or red flag. How pathetic and undisciplined really. I hoped they would red flag when Leclerc was on pole to give them a lesson about not throwing flares.

  4. Dave (@davewillisporter)
    3rd September 2022, 16:53

    I had a chat last year with a Dutch F1 supporter and he said that the crowd at the home races of Austria, Belgium and particularly Zandvoort have a lot of football supporters who got behind Max. Regardless of whether you like football or not, I think we can all agree that F1 supporters are much better behaved than football supporters.
    Throwing stuff on track when you’re there to watch a race is as football as it gets. Let’s just interrupt play because we want to watch play.
    I mean!
    It’s the idiodic mentality of a few that spoils it for everybody else. We need this out of the sport ASAP.

    1. Went to 2 football matches in Argentina when young. Clearly a lot of difference. Immediately, there was trash talk when seeing fans from the other team. Have never seen this in F1 up to now or last year probably.

    2. I think it’s just how F1 is being marketed now, instead of Bernie’s aspirational approach with luxury brands. It’s getting dumbed down with fictional nonsense like drive to survive and more emphasis on the drivers than the teams.

  5. I really wasnt expecting anything less than pole from Verstappen, after all he has the newest engine out there.

    1. Thought that Leclerc and Norris also had new engines in Spa?

  6. While the session was rather tight, it is still rather ominous for everyone else that on a bad and difficult day Verstappen still grabs the pole. Something must really go wrong tomorrow if he fails to convert this to a win.

  7. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    3rd September 2022, 19:26

    What is interesting is that Leclerc was still ahead of Max after 22 of the 23 mini sectors. Max only git ahead in the final sector which is the end of last turn and straight to finish.

    That might be critical in tomorrow’s race that Red Bull is quicker there with more top speed. Curious if Leclerc could overtake with DRS if Max is ahead with the corner being high speed.

  8. Before the summer break, and directive 39 in particular, it would have been an easy 1-2 Ferrari here…

  9. Sainz jnr is the key for the start. If sainz jnr sees a way to one up Leclerc he will, and he might end up helping Ham to 2nd. If leclerc manages to jump max, sainz won’t attack max and ham might not feature in the race.

Comments are closed.