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Max takes pole in Albert Park: 'Both laps in Q3 felt good'

Published on 23 March 2024 by Stefan Meens

In a thrilling qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen clinched his third pole position of the 2024 Formula 1 season. Throughout the session, Max battled Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz for the first spot on tomorrow’s starting grid, with the Oracle Red Bull Racing driver pipping the Spaniard by two tenths in Q3. Max’s teammate Sergio Perez completed the top three, with McLaren’s Lando Norris lining up next to the Mexican.

“Pole position was a little bit unexpected, but I’m happy with Q3. Both laps felt very good and I really enjoyed it”, explained a delighted Max after his second pole in Australia. “It’s been a tricky weekend, but we were there when we needed to be. Ferrari is looking quick, also on the long runs, so tomorrow is a bit of a question mark. But that makes it exciting, so we’ll see.”

Despite pole, Max has not had the best of weekends. “I prefer to have a smooth weekend, where everything goes to plan and we don’t have to try things and search for solutions. It’s all a bit tricky and Ferrari is quick too. I will go for the win, but it won’t be easy”, concludes the reigning champion.

The first part of qualifying continues the trend of the Grand Prix weekend so far with the Ferraris setting the pace, closely followed by the two Red Bulls. Further down the order, Daniel Ricciardo causes arguably the biggest disappointment for the home fans with the Aussie breaking track limits. It costs the home hero his quickest lap in Q1, meaning he joins Nico Hulkenberg (Haas), Pierre Gasly (Alpine) and Guanyu Zhou (Stake) in the select group of drivers that fail to progress into Q2.

The fight for a place in the top ten shoot-out is tense in the next part of qualifying with Yuki Tsunoda putting in a stellar lap, pushing Lewis Hamilton out of qualifying along with Alex Albon (Williams), Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and Esteban Ocon (Alpine). At the front, Sainz continues to be the pace setter.

In the last part of qualifying, it is once again a direct fight between the Red Bulls and Ferraris. Sainz (1:16.3), Leclerc and Perez (both 1:16:4) are unable to match the speed of Max’s banker lap (1:16.0) with qualifying now building to a crescendo in the closing five minutes. Of the favourites, Max is the first to set his final lap, becoming the first and only driver to breach the 1:15 barrier. His 1:15.915 is fast enough to secure pole position with Sainz managing 1:16.1 and Perez a tenth adrift of the Spaniard. Leclerc does not improve on his first effort and is even pipped by Lando Norris who claims fourth place on tomorrow's starting grid.

Contest GP Australia: win a by Max signed Racing cap!


Results qualifying Australia:

1Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:16.8191:16.3871:15.915
2Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:16.7311:16.1891:16.185
3Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:16.8051:16.6311:16.274
4Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:17.4301:16.7501:16.315
5Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:16.9841:16.3041:16.435
6Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes1:17.3691:16.6011:16.572
7George RussellRUSMercedes1:17.0621:16.9011:16.724
8Yuki TsunodaTSURB Honda RBPT1:17.3561:16.7911:16.788
9Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:17.3761:16.7801:17.072
10Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes1:16.9911:16.7101:17.552
11Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:17.4991:16.960
12Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes1:17.1301:17.167
13Valtteri BottasBOTKick Sauber Ferrari1:17.5431:17.340
14Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:17.7091:17.427
15Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:17.6171:17.697
16Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari1:17.976
17Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault1:17.982
18Daniel RicciardoRICRB Honda RBPT1:18.085
19Zhou GuanyuZHOKick Sauber Ferrari1:18.188