Lewis Hamilton came agonizingly close to claiming his 4th pole position of the season only for Max Verstappen’s quality Red Bull machinery to deny him of the feat.After lapping over 0.5s slower than the Dutchman through Q1 and Q2, Hamilton dug up an extra level of performance on the final Q3 run. The Briton managed to bring the gap down to 0.038s and ended up missing out on the pole by a whisker.
It was certainly a tough miss, considering the abundant advantage for the pole-sitter. Hamilton will have to start from the dirty side of the track on Sunday.
And the fact that there is a lot more tire-shredding happening around Zandvoort, there is a huge possibility that Hamilton might struggle at lights out. Also, he could well lose out to his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, who is well placed in P3, with a decent amount of tow to gain from Verstappen.
Hence, the Briton felt that had he managed a lot more running during FP2, he could have stolen the pole position from his rival.
During the post-qualifying interview in the paddock, Hamilton pointed his finger at the lack of practice runs for failing to out-qualify Verstappen.
“It was very close. Max did a great job. And that gap I think you’re seeing is P2 (second practice session). P2 practice session definitely made a difference missing that session. So, I had a lot to catch up today. It’s a track like Monaco where you’re just building up your confidence lap after lap,” he said.
“It’s like building a brick wall. And today’s everyone’s got a higher wall than me. So, I had to try and build quickly. But, yeah, it was a good session, and the last one, so close. I’m happy we got closer.
Overall, all eyes will be on Hamilton’s start at lights out which could well script the rest of his afternoon around the Zandvoort circuit.
Hence, the question remains; Can the 7-time world champion and Mercedes, together, pull off a perfect race to beat the raging bulls?