Max Verstappen Makes History On Momentous Day At Imola

IMOLA, ITALY - MAY 18: Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 stops in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari Circuit on May 18, 2024 in Imola, Italy. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202405180424 // Usage for editorial use only //
IMOLA, ITALY - MAY 18: Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 stops in parc ferme during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari Circuit on May 18, 2024 in Imola, Italy. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202405180424 // Usage for editorial use only //

Max Verstappen bounced back from a challenging build-up to secure pole position for the 2024 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola. In a tight qualifying session, Verstappen set a time of 1:14.746 to edge out McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris by less than a tenth of a second. However, the session ended on a sour note for Piastri, who received a three-place grid penalty for impeding Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, pushing him to fifth place for the start.

Qualifying Session Details

The qualifying session was highly competitive, with several drivers taking turns at the top of the leaderboard. Esteban Ocon initially set the pace in Q1 with a lap of 1:16.645. Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc quickly followed with strong times, and Lando Norris took provisional pole with a lap of 1:16.194. Verstappen, after struggling with car balance earlier, found his rhythm and set a time of 1:16.013, only to be surpassed by Piastri and then Norris with a 1:15.915.

In the final moments of Q1, Haas’ Nico Hülkenberg surprised many by posting a lap of 1:16.841 to briefly take P1, before Verstappen reclaimed the top spot with a 1:15.762. Q2 saw Verstappen continue to improve, setting a time of 1:15.176, while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Yuki Tsunoda also posted competitive laps.

Verstappen’s Achievement and Reflection

This pole position holds historical significance, as it equals the consecutive poles record held by Ayrton Senna, whose legacy is being commemorated this weekend at Imola. Reflecting on this achievement, Verstappen said, “It’s very special. It’s 30 years since he passed away at this track, so of course I’m very pleased to get pole here. In a way, it’s a nice memory to him. He was an incredible Formula 1 driver, especially in qualifying laps as well.”

“It was a really rewarding pole today and everything ended up coming together for qualifying. This weekend has been tough and we have been lacking pace and balance within the car, however we kept on working at it and trying to improve. When we went into qualifying, the balance of the car felt a lot better, so it was a great turnaround. Honestly it is just a fantastic track and I wish we had more of those on the calendar. It felt unbelievable to drive a qualifying lap here; there are a few old school tracks that we have remaining on the calendar which are really exciting and what I fell in love with when I started watching and racing in Formula One. McLaren is looking strong but with the changes that we made on the car, it should be better for the race tomorrow. I feel a little less prepared than I would like to be going into the race and we don’t expect it to be easy, but we are going to give it a good go. It is special and a proud moment to receive eight poles in a row, especially as we have been having a tough weekend. It was a whole team effort but we managed to bring it together today. Very happy!”

Starting Grid Adjustments

With Piastri’s penalty, Lando Norris will start on the front row alongside Verstappen, with Leclerc in P3, followed by Carlos Sainz. George Russell, Yuki Tsunoda, and Lewis Hamilton complete the second half of the top ten, setting the stage for a thrilling race.

5 Things We Learned From 2024 Emilia Romagna GP Qualifying

2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Qualifying Results

PositionDriverTeamTimeGap
1Max VerstappenRed Bull/Honda RBPT1:14.746
2Oscar PiastriMcLaren/Mercedes1:14.8200.074
3Lando NorrisMcLaren/Mercedes1:14.8370.091
4Charles LeclercFerrari1:14.9700.224
5Carlos SainzFerrari1:15.2330.487
6George RussellMercedes1:15.2340.488
7Yuki TsunodaRB/Honda RBPT1:15.4650.719
8Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:15.5040.758
9Daniel RicciardoRB/Honda RBPT1:15.6740.928
10Nico HülkenbergHaas/Ferrari1:15.9801.234
11Sergio PérezRed Bull/Honda RBPT1:15.7060.960
12Esteban OconAlpine/Renault1:15.9061.160
13Lance StrollAston Martin/Mercedes1:15.9921.246
14Alexander AlbonWilliams/Mercedes1:16.2001.454
15Pierre GaslyAlpine/Renault1:16.3811.635
16Valtteri BottasSauber/Ferrari1:16.6261.880
17Zhou GuanyuSauber/Ferrari1:16.8342.088
18Kevin MagnussenHaas/Ferrari1:16.8542.108
19Fernando AlonsoAston Martin/Mercedes1:16.9172.171
20Logan SargeantWilliams/Mercedes

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