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Dutch Grand Prix 2023

Winners and Losers from 2023 F1 Dutch Grand Prix Qualifying

F1 has roared back into life with a fascinating qualifying session at Zandvoort, but who are the Dutch Grand Prix qualifying Winners and Losers?

Verstappen Norris
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

In the end, everyone got a bit of what they wanted.

The Zandvoort faithful got what they came for with a Max Verstappen pole position and six different teams ended up in the top six positions on the grid.

Liam Lawson did well on his short notice debut in the AlphaTauri for the injured Daniel Ricciardo, posting a good account of himself although he qualified last.

This weekend is something of a free hit for Lawson, and with Ricciardo expected to also miss Monza next week, the trip to Italy will be a fairer reflection of the Kiwi.

But let us begin our round-up of Winners and Losers with the man who is fast making Formula 1 his personal plaything.

Winner - Max Verstappen

The man for all seasons it seems.

Whatever mother nature seems to throw the way of Verstappen, he seems to swat it away with minimal fuss, and added another pole position to his ever-increasing tally.

He is in such a rich vein of form at the moment that if he does not win the remaining 10 Grands Prix this season, it would be more of a shock than if he does.

Despite some early troubles in the wet qualifying with a lack of tyre temperature, he put everyone firmly back in their box with a stunning pole lap to casually go half-a-second clear of Lando Norris.

You might not like this dominance, but you should marvel at an athlete perhaps as on top of their game as any ever has.

And as someone whose tally of nine straight wins could be equalled tomorrow once said: "you've got to remember these days."

What did Verstappen say?

"We underestimated the wind and with the sun coming out, just how quickly the track would dry, but it is all about experience, and at the end of the day, it didn't matter."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Loser - Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton was one of those who could have been in with an outside shot of pole heading into the session, but it was not to be for the Mercedes driver.

Being dumped in Q2 after overheating his tyres and mistiming his final lap in the drying conditions to run too early hurt, but there is optimism that the race on higher fuel could suit the W14.

The problem is carving through at a Zandvoort which is notoriously difficult to pass.

Hamilton also did not share boss Toto Wolff's claims about impeding - although Yuki Tsunoda was docked three places for a block in Q2.

What did Hamilton say?

"A few of the others got in the way on previous laps, Tsunoda was in the way a little bit, but he didn't make me lose any time."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Winner - Williams/Alex Albon

Nobody expected this performance from Williams - least of all themselves.

Zandvoort is not a track which was down to suit the FW45 on paper with a lack of straights, but right from first practice, Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant have been pumping in strong times.

Albon would go onto qualify fourth - which is Williams' best since Lance Stroll at the 2017 Italian GP (when he was fourth on the road but second on the grid after penalties) and has a realistic chance to score a handful of vital points as the team continues its recovery.

As for Sargeant, it was a mixed day as he secured the first Q3 berth of his career, before crashing heavily seconds after completing his first run on the slicks after a minuscule misjudgement at Turn 2.

Finding that damp spot was a lesson to Sargeant of how quickly the hero can become zero in Grand Prix racing - but this was a day he impressed and the crash should not overshadow his fine achievement.

What did Albon say?

"When you add confidence to a track like this, which is so narrow and uncompromising and at the same time mixed conditions; wet to dry. You really just need to feel at one with the car and I have done this weekend."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Loser - Charles Leclerc

This was a scrappy, horrible day for Charles Leclerc.

In final practice, he skated off down the Turn 1 escape road a few times as the Ferrari would just not stop at the first braking zone.

In Q1, he made it through by the skin of his teeth, laying into the team over the radio about positioning in traffic and telling them that it was "lucky" to be through.

Come Q3, and the car simply understeered wide and thumped against the barrier at Turn 9, leading to heavy damage on the left-hand side of the SF-23.

He later spoke of the car having both understeer and oversteer - which is about as bad a combination as a car could have.

Providing he does not take a grid drop as a result of repairs, the podium is out of reach from ninth, so a top five must be the minimum in a season both he and Ferrari would rather forget in a hurry.

What did Leclerc say?

"In Formula 1 It's all about anticipating and knowing what balance you're going to get once you get into the corner. But at the moment, I'm getting into the corner and I have zero idea whether I'm going to have huge understeer or huge oversteer."

Winner - Lando Norris

This performance from McLaren across the weekend is no great surprise given the massive step forward the MCL60 has made since Austria.

There are still some weaknesses in the package to iron out - with these on show at Monza next week in the low downforce configuration - but when it is good, it is really good.

The car has fired up and got heat into its tyres all season, and in the wet/drying conditions of Zandvoort, this makes it a potent weapon, especially in Norris's hands.

Since the upgrade was introduced in Spielberg, he has qualified fifth, second, third, seventh and now second.

Only Verstappen is driving as good as Norris right now, and although he feels the Red Bull will eventually clear into the distance, another podium is the minimum required.

What did Norris say?

"I’ll challenge him for probably two laps and then he'll drive away. I think there's quite a bit of tyre degradation here and it is not our forté when it comes into play and we start to struggle quite a bit in certain corners."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Loser - Esteban Ocon

It's all just a bit messy for Esteban Ocon and Alpine at the moment.

Granted he banked some much-needed points in Belgium, but if that Monaco podium is removed from the equation, he has just 20 points.

Given the upheaval at Enstone, the team is now in 'just get to the end of the season and refresh' mode.

That being said, getting into Q2 is still the absolute minimum that should be expected, but Ocon fell in Q1, being nearly three-tenths down a time he needed to get through.

Coupled with Pierre Gasly comfortably in the midfield, it was a bad day for the Frenchman, who suffered his first Q1 exit of the year.

What did Ocon say?

"It’s the first time I’ve been out in Q1 this season, so that is very disappointing. On track the conditions were tricky for everyone and on our side, we struggled in many areas, especially with general stability and in high-speed corners."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

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