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Formula 1

Verstappen beats Mercedes drivers to pole but Perez out in Q1

by Josh Suttill
3 min read

Max Verstappen beat the Mercedes drivers to claim pole position for the Australian Grand Prix while his Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez will start last after crashing in the first part of Formula 1 qualifying.

Verstappen topped Q1 and Q2 but faced an unlikely challenge in Q3 as he complained of an issue that left him only marginally quicker than a group of five drivers who were covered by less than three tenths after the opening runs.

But Verstappen found half a second on his last flying lap and took his second pole of the season with a 1m16.732s while his team-mate – who sits just one point behind him in the standings – will start 19 places behind him.

Perez had struggled throughout the final practice session with multiple off-track moments and frustration over a car issue that he complained of again when qualifying began.

His qualifying didn’t last long as he locked up into the Turn 3 right-hander and terminally slid his RB19 into the gravel.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Australian Grand Prix Qualifying Day Melbourne, Australia

The Saudi Arabian GP winner’s stricken Red Bull red flagged the session and he will start the grand prix from 20th after failing to set a time.

George Russell pipped his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to earn his first front row start of the year. Russell was 0.236 seconds slower than Verstappen with Hamilton a further tenth adrift.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Australian Grand Prix Qualifying Day Melbourne, Australia

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso ended up fourth ahead of Carlos Sainz and his team-mate Lance Stroll, who beat Charles Leclerc to sixth place on the grid.

Alex Albon was a sensational eighth in Q3 for Williams ahead of Alpine’s Pierre Gasly and Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Australian Grand Prix Qualifying Day Melbourne, Australia

Esteban Ocon encountered Lando Norris and Leclerc at the penultimate corner on his last Q2 lap and ended up falling 0.007s short of a place in Q3.

Yuki Tsunoda qualified his AlphaTauri in 12th ahead of Norris’s McLaren and Kevin Magnussen, who suffered a third successive qualifying defeat to his new Haas team-mate Hulkenberg.

F1 rookie Nyck de Vries made it into Q2 for the first time as an AlphaTauri driver while Oscar Piastri couldn’t escape Q1 in his first qualifying section at his home circuit.

Piastri was 16th ahead of Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo, fellow F1 rookie Logan Sargeant, Valtteri Bottas and Perez.

Qualifying Results

Pos Name Car Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1m17.384s 1m17.056s 1m16.732s
2 George Russell Mercedes 1m17.654s 1m17.513s 1m16.968s
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m17.689s 1m17.551s 1m17.104s
4 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m17.832s 1m17.283s 1m17.139s
5 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1m17.928s 1m17.349s 1m17.27s
6 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1m17.873s 1m17.616s 1m17.308s
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1m18.218s 1m17.39s 1m17.369s
8 Alex Albon Williams-Mercedes 1m17.962s 1m17.761s 1m17.609s
9 Pierre Gasly Alpine-Renault 1m18.312s 1m17.574s 1m17.675s
10 Nico Hülkenberg Haas-Ferrari 1m18.029s 1m17.412s 1m17.735s
11 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1m17.77s 1m17.768s
12 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT 1m18.471s 1m18.099s
13 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1m18.243s 1m18.119s
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1m18.159s 1m18.129s
15 Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT 1m18.45s 1m18.335s
16 Oscar Piastri McLaren-Mercedes 1m18.517s
17 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m18.54s
18 Logan Sargeant Williams-Mercedes 1m18.557s
19 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1m18.714s
20 Sergio Pérez Red Bull
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