Max Verstappen Cruises To Third Straight Pole Of 2024 F1 Season

Max Verstappen Cruises To Third Straight Pole Of 2024 F1 Season
Max Verstappen Cruises To Third Straight Pole Of 2024 F1 Season

Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing clinched his third consecutive pole position for the 2024 F1 season with an impressive final effort in Q3, finishing nearly three-tenths ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, while Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Pérez secured third place.

Throughout the practice sessions in Melbourne, Verstappen was grappling with the balance of his car, and his dissatisfaction persisted through the initial stages of qualifying. However, post-Q2 adjustments seemed to resolve the issues, and the triple world champion surged ahead of the competition.

Verstappen, after securing what was his 35th pole position in his career, acknowledged the challenges he faced over the weekend. “The balance wasn’t quite there in the car up until now, and I wasn’t convinced I was in the running for pole after Q1 and Q2,” he commented. “But some minor adjustments before Q3 really did the trick, allowing me to fully push the car. There’s always room for improvement, but on the whole, I’m pleased with how we performed.”

For Sainz, landing a front-row start is a significant achievement, especially as he’s coming back from an appendectomy that caused him to miss the previous race in Bahrain. “The past few weeks have been difficult, with a lot of time spent recuperating in bed,” he said. “To come back and manage a front-row start, especially after leading in qualifying, was almost unbelievable considering the circumstances. I’m thrilled to be back and competing with the Red Bulls this weekend.”

Sainz was the fastest in Q1 with a time of 1:16.731, followed closely by Pérez and then Verstappen, who was just a fraction slower than his teammate. Verstappen, however, expressed his frustration with the understeer in his RB20.

Q1 saw the elimination of Haas’ Nico Hülkenberg, Alpine’s Pierre Gasly, and RB’s Daniel Ricciardo, whose final lap was invalidated for exceeding track limits. Sauber’s Zhou Guanyu finished slowest, bowing out in 19th place.

In Q2, Verstappen quickly took the lead with fresh tires, clocking a time of 1:16.387, putting him a touch ahead of McLaren’s Oscar Piastri. Sainz and Leclerc, on used tires, were third and fourth, respectively, followed by Norris in the second McLaren.

Sainz then captured the top spot with new Soft tires, posting a time of 1:16.189, 0.198 seconds faster than Verstappen, who remained in the garage. Leclerc seized the moment, jumping to second place with a lap of 1:16.304, nudging Verstappen to third.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, Williams’ Alex Albon, Sauber’s Valtteri Bottas, Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon were all eliminated before the top-10 shootout.

With Sainz leading the first two segments and Leclerc also showing speed, Ferrari seemed to have the edge. But just before Q3 began, the Red Bull team’s modifications to Verstappen’s car proved effective. He quickly took provisional pole, leading Sainz and Leclerc.

Verstappen solidified his pole position with his last flying lap, becoming the sole driver to break the 1m16s barrier. His 1:15.915 lap time was enough to outpace Sainz by 0.270 seconds, with Pérez trailing by an additional nine-hundredths of a second in third.

Norris claimed fourth place, while Leclerc, after an error on his last attempt, had to settle for fifth, abandoning his pole position challenge. Piastri will start from sixth, ahead of Russell and Tsunoda, with Alonso and Stroll completing the top ten for Aston Martin.

2024 Australian Grand Prix – Qualifying Results

1Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing1:15.915
2Carlos SainzFerrari1:16.185+0.270
3Sergio PérezRed Bull Racing1:16.274+0.359
4Lando NorrisMcLaren1:16.315+0.400
5Charles LeclercFerrari1:16.435+0.520
6Oscar PiastriMcLaren1:16.572+0.657
7George RussellMercedes1:16.724+0.809
8Yuki TsunodaRB1:16.788+0.873
9Lance StrollAston Martin1:17.072+1.157
10Fernando AlonsoAston Martin1:17.552+1.637
11Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:16.960+1.045Q2
12Alexander AlbonWilliams1:17.167+1.252Q2
13Valtteri BottasSauber1:17.340+1.425Q2
14Kevin MagnussenHaas1:17.427+1.512Q2
15Esteban OconAlpine1:17.697+1.782Q2
16Nico HülkenbergHaas1:17.976+2.061Q1
17Pierre GaslyAlpine1:17.982+2.067Q1
18Daniel RicciardoRB1:18.085+2.170Q1
19Zhou GuanyuKick Sauber1:18.188+2.273Q1
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