Vinales full of confidence after claiming pole ahead of Dutch TT

By Sports Desk June 26, 2021

Maverick Vinales is full of confidence after putting his disastrous German Grand Prix showing behind him to claim pole position for Sunday's Dutch TT.

The Monster Energy Yamaha rider finished last at Sachsenring last week, but stuck with the same bike at Assen and dominated qualifying on Saturday.

Vinales topped FP1, FP1 and FP3 before setting a new lap record of 1:31.814 seconds in qualifying, the 26-year-old finishing 0.071s ahead of team-mate Fabio Quartararo.

It was the perfect response on the back of last week's calamity, but Vinales insists the dominant showing at Assen should not come as a surprise.

"Honestly this should be the norm all weekends," he said. "I think we have a good level, our confidence is high.

"I have a really high confidence in what we are able to do but just we didn't find the way to do it before.

"This weekend we didn't touch anything. I said, 'don't touch the bike, it's perfect'. And working on that, it was good, I'm quite happy and now we'll see.

"Tomorrow we have a good chance, we will push at the maximum. For me the result isn't important – for me it's important to give the maximum from one to lap 25."

Ducati's Francesco Bagnaia will join Yamaha pair Vinales and Quartararo on the front row for Sunday's race, while Takaaki Nakagami and Johann Zarco are on row two.

Quartararo tops the riders' standings and has a 22-point lead on Johann Zarco, but the Frenchman accepts he faces a tough task overhauling Vinales on Sunday.

"I think with Maverick we need to be clever, because it's true that on the paper we have really good pace," he said.

"So, I think if we need to play something in my opinion it's great to be clever on the first lap and see at the end.

"But it will depend. I feel great to fight for the victory. It's not that because my main contenders are behind me that I need to be careful.

"For me, it’s the beginning of the championship, we are not even in the middle. So, if I have one chance to fight for the victory I will go for it."

Marc Marquez came out on top in Germany last week, but he will start from 20th in Sunday's 26-lap Dutch TT after crashing in qualifying.

The Repsol Honda rider was flung from his RC213V early on in Friday's FP2 session and admits that accident affected him the following day.

"It's true that today I started the morning and the first thing was I was like, 'OK, it will be impossible to ride the bike' because after the crash from yesterday I had a lot of pain," he said.

"Then it was very difficult. This was in the morning, then in the afternoon step by step I felt better, and this makes me happy because it looks like now if it's in a better way.

"But it's true that the crash from yesterday affected me a lot today."

Provisional classification

1. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 1:31.814
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.071s
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +0.302s
4. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +0.500s
5. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +0.580s
6. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +0.636s
7. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.783s
8. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.795s
9. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +0.852s
10. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.934s
11. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +1.016s
12. Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha) +1.105

Related items

  • Russian GP: Verstappen takes grid penalty after Red Bull engine change Russian GP: Verstappen takes grid penalty after Red Bull engine change

    Max Verstappen faces a battle to retain his lead in the Formula One world championship standings after being relegated to the back of the grid for the Russian Grand Prix.

    Red Bull have opted to install a fourth engine of the season in the Dutchman's car ahead of the race at the Sochi circuit, meaning Verstappen must take a grid penalty.

    Verstappen, who leads reigning champion Lewis Hamilton by just five points, had a three-place grid sanction hanging over him following his part in a collision with his Mercedes rival in Italy.

    The news is a reprieve for Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, who had been demoted to the rear of the grid after the Scuderia chose to debut a new power unit this weekend.

    Verstappen finished second in Russia last year, when Valtteri Bottas took the honours and team-mate Hamilton was third.

    The 23-year-old has claimed seven race wins this season, with Hamilton on four.

  • I'm so nervous I can barely sleep! – Verstappen's sarcastic response to Hamilton's 'pressure' claim I'm so nervous I can barely sleep! – Verstappen's sarcastic response to Hamilton's 'pressure' claim

    Max Verstappen joked he "can barely sleep" after Lewis Hamilton suggested his title rival might be feeling the pressure as he fights for a maiden world championship crown.

    Red Bull driver Verstappen leads Hamilton by five points ahead of this weekend's Russian Grand Prix, where he will serve a three-place grid penalty after colliding with the Mercedes man at Monza two weeks ago.

    This is the closest the top two have been after 14 races since the 2016 battle between Hamilton and Nico Rosberg (two points).

    While Verstappen is seeking his first title in what is his seventh season in Formula One, Hamilton has finished top on seven occasions, the first of those triumphs coming in 2008.

    The Briton was involved in a tense battle while with McLaren the previous year and, reflecting on that experience, believes he knows exactly what Verstappen is feeling right now.

    "Obviously he won't admit to it, and I'm not going to make an assumption, but I'm just saying I remember what it was like battling for my first championship," he said on Thursday.

    "The pressure definitely mounted up. It was difficult. It was intense. I was going through a lot of different emotions and I didn't always handle it the best and that's to be expected.

    "I know the pressure that comes with it and the experiences, so I can empathise with that.

    "I do believe that he will continue to get stronger, and I'm hopeful we won't have any more incidences like last time through the rest of the year.

    "I never expect a driver to back down. What's important is that we just continue to race hard and fair, and I have no doubts that we will both be professional and learn from the past."

     

    However, when those comments were relayed back to championship leader Verstappen, the Dutchman offered a sarcastic response.

    "I'm so nervous I can barely sleep. It's so horrible to fight for a title. I really hate it," he said.

    "Those comments just show that he really doesn't know me. Which is fine. I also don't need to know him.

    "I just focus on myself and I really enjoy it out there at the front, and hopefully we can do that for a very long time.

    "I am very chilled. It is the best feeling ever to have a car, a great car, where you can go into every weekend and you can fight for a win."

    Mercedes have triumphed at Monza every year since 2014 – no team has won more races at a single grand prix without failing – and Hamilton has the chance to reclaim the title lead should that be the case again this weekend.

    "It's very, very important, as important as it can be," Hamilton said. 

  • Mick Schumacher retains Haas seat for 2022 F1 season Mick Schumacher retains Haas seat for 2022 F1 season

    Mick Schumacher has retained his seat with Haas for the 2022 Formula One season.

    The 22-year-old and fellow rookie Nikita Mazepin will both be retained after impressing team principal Guenther Steiner.

    Schumacher, son of F1 legend Michael, and Mazepin moved to the American outfit from Formula Two ahead of this season.

    "We knew we wanted continuity behind the wheel in 2022 and I'm happy to confirm exactly that with Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin competing for Uralkali Haas F1 team next year," said Steiner. "2021 has afforded both drivers the opportunity to learn Formula 1 – and as rookies – they've done a lot of that this year.

    "It's been a tough season for sure with the package we've had, but at the same time they've both embraced the challenge and worked closely with the team to learn our processes and adapt to the rigours of a Formula One campaign and all that brings – both internally and externally."

    Before stepping up to the big time, Schumacher won the F3 European Championship and Formula Two titles.

    He and Mazepin are yet to score a point in 2021 but Schumacher is revelling in the experience.

    "By being part of the Formula One field, I am living my dream," he said. "The first year together with Haas F1 is very exciting and instructive, and I'm sure I can bring all the experience I've gained into the coming year."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.