Dutch Grand Prix: Max Verstappen beats Lando Norris to pole in crash-strewn session

Max Verstappen celebrates pole at Zandvoort
Max Verstappen has taken pole position for his home race at Zandvoort three years in a row

Red Bull's Max Verstappen beat McLaren's Lando Norris to pole position in a crash-strewn qualifying session at the Dutch Grand Prix.

Verstappen headed Norris by 0.537 seconds in a one-lap shoot-out at the end of a dramatic session in drying conditions.

Mercedes driver George Russell was third, while team-mate Lewis Hamilton could manage only 13th.

Alex Albon also claimed a sensational fourth place for Williams.

The final session of qualifying was punctuated by two red-flag stoppages, as first Logan Sargeant of Williams ruined his first ever appearance in the top 10 with a crash at Turn Two, before Charles Leclerc wrecked his Ferrari on the exit of Turn Nine after the session's resumption.

Fernando Alonso ended the session in fifth place in the Aston Martin, while Leclerc's team-mate Carlos Sainz took sixth in the final moments ahead of the Red Bull of Sergio Perez, McLaren's Oscar Piastri, Leclerc and Sargeant.

Alpha Tauri driver Yuki Tsunoda has been handed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday's race for impeding Hamilton in the second part of qualifying. The Japanese driver qualified in P14 but will now start in 17th place.

Sainz, meanwhile, has been reprimanded and Ferrari fined 5,000 euros after the Spaniard moved over on Piastri as he left the pits.

Verstappen said the qualifying session had been tricky, starting on intermediate tyres in wet conditions and moving on to dry at the end, but that the final lap had been "very satisfying".

"The pressure is always there to perform but when you can pull it off, it's incredible," he said.

Norris said: "P2 is a good result. In these conditions you hope Max makes a mistake, but he doesn't."

The Briton was faster than Verstappen in the first sector of the lap but the time slipped away from him.

"The first half of the lap was mega," Norris said, "but the second half was probably one of the worst second halvess I've done. But I always enjoy these conditions and I'm taking P2. The driver peaked very early!"

Logan Sargeant climbs out of his Williams after crashing out in Q3
Williams rookie Logan Sargeant made it through to Q3 for the first time in his career but crashed out of the session earlier on

Russell's third place was his best result in qualifying since starting the Australian Grand Prix in second at the third race of the season, and he has been struggling to match Hamilton in recent races.

"Very happy to be P3," he said. "Qualifying was been one of my strengths at the start of the year but it had been going a bit wrong recently, so it was good to have that [summer] break to try few things, and now we're back.

"It's going to be an exciting race. I'm sure Max will bet having his Sunday drive waving to the fans but hopefully we can have a good fight with Lando and Alex."

Hamilton complained about being blocked by traffic but he admitted he simply lacked pace.

"Definitely wasn't great," he said. "It will be interesting to see what comes of that [investigation]. There was a lot of blocking from people. It shouldn't be allowed - it's impeding.

"But I was in general just slow. Really, really slow today. I can't for the life of me pinpoint what it is, but the car just doesn't seem to be working for me today."

Hamilton also said his tyres overheated as he tried to do two consecutive fast laps at the end so he could not improve.

Albon's fourth was a shock from Williams, whose car has traditionally been good on high-speed tracks that require low downforce set-ups, the opposite of the corner-dominated layout at Zandvoort.

But Williams have been close to the front all weekend and Albon excelled throughout qualifying to produce one of the performances of the season.

Russell, who is good friends with the British-born Thai, joked: "I flew over here with Alex and I said: 'What are your expectations? And he said: 'I think we're going to be rubbish.' So he got that one wrong."

Sainz's sixth place was damage limitation for Ferrari on a weekend in which they have struggled for pace.

Leclerc looked like he may have been able to do better, but he wrecked his own chances by carrying too much speed into Turn Nine on his first lap in Q3.

The car washed wide on to the grass, and extensive damage was done to the left-hand side.