Verstappen on pole down under

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 23: Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing waves to the crowd from parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Albert Park Circuit on March 23, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202403230169 // Usage for editorial use only //

The Australian Grand Prix weekend seemed to suggest that Red Bull may have a challenge in Ferrari but Max Verstappen held the red cars off for pole position with Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez behind him.

Max and Sergio Perez struggled early in the weekend with balance, brakes and front end grip but it all came on song for Saturday’s qualifying session. Unfortunately Sergio received a penalty for impeding Nico Hulkenberg and this leaves him starting from 6th on the grid for Sunday’s race.

The shuffle in order moves Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc and Oscar Piastri up a spot to 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively.

Carlos Sainz had a very good run to second considering he had an emergency appendectomy just a couple weeks ago. The Ferrari’s looked stable and quick in qualifying and free practice sessions would suggest their long-run pace looked good too.

A tough day for Lewis Hamilton who’s Mercedes was knocked out in Q2 while Alex Albon made the most of Logan Sargeant’s chassis to qualifying 12th.

Qualifying Results:

1 Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
2 Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
3 Lando Norris (McLaren)
4 Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
5 Oscar Piastri (McLaren)
6 Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
7 George Russell (Mercedes)
8 Yuki Tsunoda (RB)
9 Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
10 Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)
11 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
12 Alex Albon (Williams)
13 Valtteri Bottas (Sauber)
14 Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
15 Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
16 Nico Hulkenberg (Haas)
17 Pierre Gasly (Alpine)
18 Daniel Ricciardo (RB)
19 Zhou Guanyu (Sauber)

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