Max Verstappen edges out Lewis Hamilton to land home pole in Zandvoort

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Max Verstappen edged out Lewis Hamilton to put his Red Bull on pole position for the Dutch Grand Prix.

Following an incident-packed qualifying – stopped twice after George Russell and Williams team-mate Nicholas Latifi both crashed – Verstappen kept his cool to see off Hamilton with Valtteri Bottas third.

Pierre Gasly lines up fourth for Alpha Tauri ahead of Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

Formula One is back on Dutch soil following a 36-year absence and home favorite Verstappen did not disappoint as he took the 10th pole of his career.

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The 70,000-strong orange army roared their man round all 14 corners of the 2.65-mile track and erupted in delight when Verstappen crossed the line.

Hamilton, who heads Verstappen by three points in the championship standings, pushed his rival all the way, improving with his final effort but coming up just short.

“It is an amazing feeling to get pole position here,” said Verstappen.

“It is the best starting position because overtaking is difficult but it is not going to be easy.”

Hamilton added: “It was so close. I gave it absolutely everything but Max delivered a great lap and deserves the pole.”

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Seven days ago, Russell stole the show with a qualifying performance for the ages to claim a place on the front row.

But the Williams driver, who is set to be confirmed as Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate for next season in the coming days, was brought back down to earth here after he spun off at the final corner.

The Englishman lost control of his Williams through the long sweeping right-hander, sliding backwards into the gravel and bumping the advertising hoarding.

The session was suspended as Russell limped back to his garage. “I just pushed it too hard,” he said. “I am sorry about that.”

Following a 10-minute delay, the action resumed, but just moments later the other Williams was in the wall.

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Latifi carried too much speed on the entrance to the eighth corner, falling off the track, and collecting the tyre barrier.

The Canadian was unharmed in the accident but was taken to the medical center for a precautionary check-up. With less than two minutes on the clock, Q2 was abandoned leaving Lando Norris unable to improve. He finished 13th.

Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez was eliminated in Q1 and start’s Sunday’s race from a lowly 16th.

One spot behind him will be Sebastian Vettel. The four-time world champion was blocked by Haas rookie Nikita Mazepin with the incident to be investigated after the session.

Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion, is absent here after testing positive for Covid-19. Alfa Romeo reserve driver Robert Kubica is filling in for Raikkonen and the Pole, who last raced in 2019, finished 18th of 20.

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