Verstappen dominates Australian Grand Prix qualifying

Verstappen dominates Australian Grand Prix qualifying

Max Verstappen secured an impressive hat trick of pole positions to mark his dominance in the 2024 season following a strong showing in the Australian Grand Prix qualifying.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen once again secured pole position during Saturday’s Australian Grand Prix qualifying averaging over 250 km/h which was more than enough to edge Carlos Sainz for the top spot.

The triple world champion was the only driver who cracked under the 1’16s barrier with an advantage of more than two tenths over Sainz’s Ferrari in the Albert Park quali session.

The two biggest losses in qualifying were Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton. The British driver finished in 11th place after Q2 elimination while the Aussie finished a dismal P18 after his lap was deleted due to exceeding track limits.

It was not surprising that Ferrari dominated the first qualifying round given their impressive pace over the weekend, with Carlos Sainz recording a time of 1m16.731s. Red Bull duo Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez were obliterated by the Spaniard, with Charles Leclerc placing fourth on the timesheets.

Home favorite Daniel Ricciardo posted a lap time that would have guaranteed him an advance to the next session, but he exceeded track limits at Turn 4 on the final lap. Following the incident, Ricciardo’s fastest lap time was scrapped, dropping him to P18 in the classification.

Alpine had a reasonably positive session with Esteban Ocon surviving the first round of qualifying, despite the team fielding the slowest car this season.

Nico Hulkenberg, Pierre Gasly, Daniel Ricciardo, and Zhou Guanyu were eliminated at the conclusion of the first qualifying round.

In Q2, Ferrari demonstrated even more potential, with Carlos Sainz finishing the session ahead of Leclerc. The Spaniard finished the second round two-tenths of a second ahead of Verstappen with a time of 1m16.189s.

Oscar Piastri placed fourth ahead of Perez, Alonso, Norris, Stroll, and Tsunoda in an incredibly tightly packed pursuing group. Russell seemed to be struggling for speed in the second qualifying session, barely making it into the third round.

Hamilton found himself in the drop zone after a very challenging qualifying session. The British driver seemed to have enough speed to qualify for Q3, but made a critical error entering Turn 13 on his last flying lap. This minuscule error proved to be enough to prevent the eight-time Australian Grand Prix pole sitter from proceeding to Q3 as the gaps between drivers were incredibly close.

Therefore Lewis Hamilton, Alexander Albon, Valtteri Bottas, Kevin Magnussen, and Esteban Ocon all failed to advance into the third and final qualifying round.

Verstappen recovered when it counted most this weekend, after struggling to keep up his one-lap performance so far. Following the first run the Dutchman was the fastest, and with a lap time of 1m15.915s, he was able to finish below the 1m16s barrier and take pole for this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.

Sainz was two-tenths of a second slower than Verstappen as he still appeared sufficiently capable to put up a fight for pole position but ultimately had to settle for P2. Perez recorded the third fastest time with Norris and Perez lining up in the second row of the grid.

Leclerc was running a lap that should have qualified him for P3, but he made an unexpected error at Turn 13, and consequently, he will start from fifth on the grid.

Home favorite Piastri showed off his skills in Melbourne by powering McLaren to the sixth-fastest lap. Russell produced a strong first Q3 run on used pair of soft tyres, however he struggled to make a significant leap on a new set of red-walled tires.

Consequently, the Mercedes driver finished seventh ahead of Yuki Tsunoda, who once again impressed with his qualifying performance, as he did in Jeddah two weeks ago. Aston Martin duo Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso had to settle for P9 and P10 respectively after the team’s impressive performance on Friday.

2024 Australian Grand Prix Qualifying Results

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

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