Lewis Hamilton’s bad day, Alex Albon’s great one, and other winners and losers from qualifying at the Dutch GP

Qualifying is in the books ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix. Thanks to rain overnight and earlier in the day, teams had to navigate an ever-changing surface and some tricky conditions.

That made for some surprises throughout the field.

Here are the winners and losers from qualifying at the Dutch Grand Prix.

Winner: Alex Albon

Alex Albon was strong all day Saturday, and the result? A personal best P4 in qualifying for the driver.

For a moment, it looked as if Albon might sneak into the top three. He came across third just as the checkered flag flew, but George Russell pipped him for that third spot, pushing Albon down to fourth.

Still, a massive result for the driver, and the team. Depending on how Logan Sargeant fares on Sunday — more on him in a moment — Williams could be looking at double points in the Grand Prix.

Loser: Lewis Hamilton

Saturday began with the idea that Hamilton could push for pole position.

It ends with questions regarding where it all went wrong.

Hamilton failed to advance to Q3, finishing in P13 during Q2. The Mercedes driver expressed frustration throughout qualifying on Saturday at traffic conditions, and was held up at times by both Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin.

Still, how Mercedes managed his Q2 session could be called into question. Bernie Collins of Sky Sports F1 outlined how Hamilton and Mercedes pushed early, thereby likely missing the ideal window as track conditions improved.

“I was watching that Hamilton lap, he was pushing one lap too early,” said Collins. “So he was pushing the lap before the chequered flag.

“Because he crossed the line for the last one, that was his lap done, the energy was done, the tyres were done and he was backing off the whole way through that lap as everyone else was pushing by him.”

Mercedes now has to hope that Hamilton can make the most of his Sunday, after a disappointing Saturday.

Winners: McLaren

Coming into the Dutch Grand Prix one of the biggest questions was whether McLaren could keep up their recent strong form.

So far, so good.

Both Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri were strong all afternoon, keeping pole position on the table for the McLaren duo. Ultimately Verstappen secured yet another P1, but Norris found his way to the front row, where he will start second. Piastri was pushed down to P8, but that result — and the strength the MCL60 showed during qualifying — indicates that McLaren is in a good position to keep this run going.

Incomplete: Logan Sargeant

The good news?

That is two-fold, really. First is the fact that both Williams drivers, Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant, looked strong during qualifying. Early in Q3 Albon and Sargeant were running 1-2. Second? Sargeant advanced to Q3 for the first time in his F1 career, on a track where he has some level of experience.

The bad news? Mere moments after Sargeant posted that P2 lap, he spun out and into the wall, ending his Q3 session and damaging his FW45. That brought out an extended red flag as the barriers were repaired, and now Williams is faced with repairing a tremendous amount of damage ahead of the Grand Prix.

Winner: George Russell

Qualifying has been an up-and-down adventure for the Mercedes driver this season. He qualified in P2 at the Australian Grand Prix, but has not seen the top five since the Canadian Grand Prix. And with Mercedes looking to solidify their standing in second place in the Constructors’ Championship — and Hamilton failing to advance to Q3 — the team needed a big result from Russell in Q3.

He delivered.

The Mercedes driver came across at the death in P3, just nipping Albon for the third spot and putting himself in position to deliver some big points on Sunday.

Losers: Alpine

Another grand prix weekend.

Another spell of difficulties for Alpine.

Esteban Ocon failed to advance to Q2 for the first time all season, missing out on the second qualifying session by just 0.074 seconds. Then it was teammate Pierre Gasly, who missed out on Q3 by perhaps the smallest of margins:

Brutal luck yet again for Alpine.

Winner: Liam Lawson

Wait, the driver who qualified dead-last is a winner?

In this situation, he is.

Liam Lawson found out after FP2 that he would be making his F1 debut in the Dutch Grand Prix, giving him just one practice session before qualifying. That practice session was run in tricky, wet conditions, and Lawson even spun out during FP3, bringing out a red flag.

The fact he finished at all, given this context, is an accomplishment.

Losers: Alfa Romeo

This was a difficult start to the weekend for Alfa Romeo, as both Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas failed to advance out of Q1.

Heading into the Dutch Grand Prix, Alfa Romeo made clear their goal for the rest of the season: Finish in seventh place. The team entered the week in ninth place, but just two points behind both Williams and Haas for that seventh-place spot.

But with this tough start to the weekend — and the strong performance from Williams — Alfa Romeo is in danger of leaving Zandvoort behind having fallen further back in their pursuit of seventh.

Winner: Max Verstappen

It looked precarious at certain spots Saturday but in the end, qualifying ended as so many have before.

With Verstappen on pole.

As Russell said trackside after qualifying, the Red Bull driver might have an easy ride to his ninth-straight victory. “It is going to be an exciting race and I am sure Max will be having his Sunday drive and waving to the crowd on his way tomorrow,” said the Mercedes driver.

If that does come to fruition, it would see Verstappen tie the mark of nine-straight wins set by Sebastian Vettel back in 2013.

Adding one more incredible line to an already-impressive resume for the driver.