Verstappen pips Sainz to snatch pole position in Melbourne

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Championship runaway leader Max Verstappen took pole position at the Australian Grand Prix, beating Ferrari's Carlos Sainz and his team-mate Sergio Perez. Lewis Hamilton suffered a shock elimination in the second qualifying segment. F1Technical's senior writer Balázs Szabó reports on the closely-matched qualifying session.

Q1 - Misfortune for Ricciardo

Having shown great pace all through the weekend, it was no surprise to see Ferrari on top of the first qualifying segment with Carlos Sainz setting a 1m16.731s. The Spaniard beat Red Bull racers Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen with Charles Leclerc ending fourth on the leaderboard.

Home hero Daniel Ricciardo managed to set a lap time that would have been enough to get himself through into the next session, but he exceeded track limits at Turn 4 on the last lap. The incident meant that Ricciardo had his best lap time deleted, and dropped down the order to P18.

Despite having been the slowest car this season, Alpine had a fairly encouraging session with Esteban Ocon getting through the opening segment.

The end of the first qualifying segement saw Nico Hulkenberg, Pierre Gasly, Daniel Ricciardo and Zhou Guanyu fail to progress into Q2.

Q2 - Shock for Hamilton

Ferrari continued to impress in Q2 with Carlos Sainz ending the session on top ahead of Leclerc. The Spaniard set a 1m16.189s to end the middle segment two tenths of a second clear of the best non-Ferrari driver, Verstappen.

The chasing pack was extremely tightly matched with Oscar Piastri finishing fourth ahead of Perez, Alonso, Norris, Stroll and Tsunoda. Russell hardly made it through into Q3 as he appeared to struggle for pace in the second qualifying session.

Hamilton endured a very difficult qualifying session as he found himself in the drop zone. The Briton appeared to have the speed to get himself into Q3, but he made a crucial mistake on his final hot lap coming into Turn 13. With the gaps being extremely tight, this slight mistake was enough for the eight-time Australian Grand Prix pole-sitter to fail to make it through into Q3.

The end of the second qualifying segement saw Lewis Hamilton, Alexander Albon, Valtteri Bottas, Kevin Magnussen and Esteban Ocon fail to progress into Q3.

Q3 - Verstappen reclaims lead

Having struggled for one-lap pace so far this weekend, Verstappen bounced back when it really mattered. The Dutchman was quickest after the first run, and he managed to dip below the 1m16s mark to grab pole position at this weekend's Australian Grand Prix with a time of 1m15.915s.

Sainz looked competitive enough to fight for pole position, but he needed to settle for P2 in the end, having been two tenths of a second slower than Verstappen. Perez set the third quickest time ahead of Norris with the pair set to form the second row on the grid.

Although Leclerc was on a lap that would have been enough for P3 on the grid, the Monegasque made an unusual mistake in Turn 13 which meant that he will only line up fifth on the grid.

Home hero Piastri continued to impress in Melbourne by having posted the sixth quickest lap for McLaren. Russell displayed great speed during his first run in Q3 despite being on a used set of softs, but he was unable to make a big jump when he used a fresh set of red-walled tyres. As a result, the one-time race winner took 7th ahead of Yuki Tsunoda, who impressed with his qualifying speed once again just as he did in Jeddah two weeks ago.

Despite the eye-catching speed on Friday, Aston Martin slipped down the order in qualifying, and their drivers Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso needed to settle for P9 and P10 respectively.


11Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:16.8191:16.3871:15.91521
255Carlos SainzFerrari1:16.7311:16.1891:16.18518
311Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:16.8051:16.6311:16.27422
44Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:17.4301:16.7501:16.31519
516Charles LeclercFerrari1:16.9841:16.3041:16.43520
681Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes1:17.3691:16.6011:16.57218
763George RussellMercedes1:17.0621:16.9011:16.72423
822Yuki TsunodaRb Honda Rbpt1:17.3561:16.7911:16.78818
918Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:17.3761:16.7801:17.07223
1014Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:16.9911:16.7101:17.55221
1144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:17.4991:16.96015
1223Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:17.1301:17.16715
1377Valtteri BottasKick Sauber Ferrari1:17.5431:17.34015
1420Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:17.7091:17.42713
1531Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:17.6171:17.69721
1627Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari1:17.9768
1710Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:17.98211
183Daniel RicciardoRb Honda Rbpt1:18.0856
1924Zhou GuanyuKick Sauber Ferrari1:18.1889