until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Piastri leads McLaren 1-2 in Qatar sprint qualifying

by Josh Suttill
2 min read

McLaren Formula 1 driver Oscar Piastri earned a shock pole position for the Qatar Grand Prix sprint race after team-mate Lando Norris made an error on his final lap.

Norris and Piastri went head-to-head for pole in the dying moments of SQ3 as 2023 dominator Max Verstappen had his first flying lap deleted and then ended up short of then-pacesetter Norris after his final effort.

Piastri displaced Norris - who looked to be about to respond with a stonking final lap of his own until he went way wide at the final corner.

That means Piastri will start an F1 race from pole (albeit a sprint) for the first time in his rookie season. He'll start alongside Norris, with Verstappen in third.

The FIA revised the track limits at the high-speed Turns 12 and 13 in the wake of the discovery of a tyre wear issue following Friday practice at the Lusail venue. The new limit was "almost impossible to see", according to poleman Piastri.

Track limits caught out the majority of drivers throughout the three sessions, likely not helped by the drivers only having an emergency 10-minute practice session to prepare for the new corner alignments.

Grand prix front row starter George Russell ended up fourth-fastest for Mercedes, ahead of the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc.

Nico Hulkenberg was a stellar seventh for Haas ahead of the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, F1, Qatar GP

Fernando Alonso's fastest SQ3 time was deleted, meaning he'll start ninth instead of fifth.

Alpine drivers Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly found themselves on opposite sides of the SQ3 cut-off, with Ocon advancing while Gasly was dumped out in 11th.

Like Alonso, Ocon had his fastest SQ3 time deleted - and he ended up in 10th place on the grid.

Lewis Hamilton was the big-name casualty in SQ2 as a track limits deletion left him 12th-fastest. Hamilton would have still been knocked out without that though as his fastest (illegal) time would have been only good enough for 11th.

Valtteri Bottas couldn't replicate his Friday Q3 heroics and instead was 13th-fastest, two places up on Alfa Romeo team-mate Zhou Guanyu - who didn't keep a representative time in SQ2 owing to track limits deletions.

Star stand-in Liam Lawson was 14th-quickest after "f***ing up" his fastest lap by running wide and earning a deletion.

Lance Stroll once again failed to make it out of the first part of qualifying as he could only manage 16th in his Aston Martin.

Alex Albon was 17th in his Williams ahead of Yuki Tsunoda, who was denied a place in SQ2 because of a track limits violation. Kevin Magnussen was 19th.

Under-pressure F1 rookie Logan Sargeant was on pace but, through multiple track limits deletions, didn't set a representative legal lap and will start 20th and last.

Qatar GP F1 sprint qualifying results
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