Max Verstappen scored pole position at his home GP in Zandvoort with a great lap. His team boss Christian Horner was very enthusiastic about the Dutchman’s performance.
The Red Bull driver took his 7th pole position of the year on Saturday, beating Lewis Hamilton to second place by 0.038 seconds. Sunday’s race will mark another exciting chapter in the rivalry between Hamilton and Verstappen.
Horner was delighted with his driver’s performance and impressed that Verstappen was so relaxed on a weekend where he has a lot of pressure.
“[It was an] amazing performance by him under massive pressure, so [we are] really happy with that.
“It’s remarkable, it’s almost as if all of that out there isn’t going on, because he just doesn’t seem to feel it. He was watching the DTM race before qualifying. He’s very relaxed, he’s just treating it like a normal race weekend and the other side of the fence is going bananas.
“What an amazing atmosphere and for sure, every driver feeds off a home crowd.”
Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez, however, was a disappointment on this race weekend, dropping out in Q1. Horner said there was too little time for Perez to complete another lap because there was too much traffic.
“I think it’s probably a combination of things, we could have sent him earlier,” Horner added. “We sent him with enough time, but then they all backed up in the pit lane, which they’re doing an awful lot at this track.
“So, he lost an awful lot entering onto the circuit, and it was very tight as he got to the last sector. We got the instruction to push, but there were still two or three cars ahead of him to get through those last corners.
“He missed it [the line] by about a second and a half, so [it is] massively frustrating for him and for the team, but we’ll have to fight back tomorrow.”
But many spectators were surprised that Verstappen lost so much time to Hamilton in the third sector. Horner revealed that this was related to a DRS problem.
“We saw we lost a straight-line speed just on that last straight. It looks like that the DRS hasn’t opened properly, so he’s probably given away a tenth, a tenth-and-a-half. But an amazing performance by him under massive pressure. So really happy with that.”
Verstappen was not even aware of this problem when he triggered the DRS.
“I had no clue that it was closed. Together of course with what I said before with the double-upshift, it’s not ideal. So there was definitely quite a bit more time in it. Luckily it was enough for pole,” Verstappen said.