Lewis Hamilton finished qualifying at Zandvoort in second place, very close behind Max Verstappen. The Briton congratulated the Dutchman on pole position.
The seven-time world champion knew after Q3 that Verstappen put in a great performance and that his lap had been incredible. In the end, Hamilton was 0.038 seconds behind the Red Bull driver.
The Dutchman took pole position with his second and final lap in Q3. His first lap in the final qualifying session was identical to Hamilton’s lap down to a thousandth, but in the end, it still was not enough for the Brit.
Hamilton’s post-qualifying interview was accompanied by boos, but he defended them well and praised Verstappen for his performance at the same time.
“Max did an amazing lap and I was so close!
“I was trying to catch him, obviously with yesterday’s session missed, made a little bit difficult today but I gave it absolutely everything and he did a fantastic lap and deserves the pole.”
The few overtaking opportunities on the track at Zandvoort will not make it any easier for Hamilton to take victory from P2 tomorrow, and he knows it.
“It is going to be tough, it’s a difficult circuit to overtake but, I mean, what a place for us to be racing. I think the strategy will obviously come into it a lot, but we’re going to see a crowd like this.”
The many people that were already on the track on Saturday helped largely to Verstappen. Hamilton thanked the audience, who gave him “such a great reception.”
“I just want to say a big, big thank you to all the orange fans here, you know, the Dutch fans.
“What an amazing venue, what an amazing track. I really do genuinely love coming to this country and I really appreciate the welcome. There are great sporting fans here and I love that, it’s just been good. I really appreciate it.”