Watch Zandvoort qualifying at 2pm live only on Sky Sports F1, with build-up from 1pm; Max Verstappen finishes half a second up on Mercedes in final practice, with Lewis Hamilton third; Carlos Sainz crashes heavily for Ferrari
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 04/09/21 12:35pm
Max Verstappen laid down an ominous marker heading into his first-ever home grand prix qualifying session by setting the pace by half a second in final practice around Zandvoort.
Cleared by stewards ahead of the session after an investigation into passing under red flags on Friday, Verstappen got back down to track business in emphatic style on Saturday morning in front of his passionate home fans.
The Red Bull leader’s best lap of 1:09.623 was half a second faster than Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and a further two tenths quicker than title rival Lewis Hamilton.
“Max is in unbelievable form. He is flying out there, that lap was spectacular,” said Sky F1’s Nico Rosberg.
Ferrari had topped Friday’s running but endured a more problematic final practice with Charles Leclerc only ninth quickest and Carlos Sainz crashing out heavily at Turn Three.
Losing the back end of his car exiting Turn Two as he approached the banked next left-hander, Sainz was spun around into a big impact with the barriers. The Spaniard’s car sustained what appeared significant damage and Sainz is now a doubt for qualifying at 2pm.
Sergio Perez was fourth in the second Red Bull but 0.9s adrift of team-mate Verstappen around what is one of the season’s shortest lap.
Alpine, meanwhile, continued to show promise with Fernando Alonso fifth fastest ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll.
Sebastian Vettel, who had an early trip through the gravel at Turn 10, was eighth ahead of Leclerc and Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri.
After Kimi Raikkonen was ruled out of the weekend after recording a positive Covid-19 result, Robert Kubica stepped in to the Alfa Romeo cockpit. Kubica, the team’s reserve driver who last raced in F1 two years ago, completed 28 laps in the 19th-fastest time.
Dutch GP Practice Three Timesheet
|1) Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:09.623|
|2) Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes||+0.556|
|3) Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+0.794|
|4) Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+0.903|
|5) Fernando Alonso||Alpine||+1.047|
|6) Lando Norris||McLaren||+1.158|
|7) Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+1.219|
|8) Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||+1.249|
|9) Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+1.273|
|10) Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||+1.382|
|11) Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||+1.390|
|12) Nicholas Latifi||Williams||+1.460|
|13) Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+1.557|
|14) George Russell||Williams||+1.651|
|15) Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||+1.676|
|16) Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+2.317|
|17) Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||+2.357|
|18) Nikita Mazepin||Haas||+2.513|
|19) Robert Kubica||Alfa Romeo||+2.539|
|20) Mick Schumacher||Haas||+2.743|