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Max Verstappen secures his third pole of the season at the Australian GP | Sport

Max VerstappenAFP

Published 03/23/2024 10:00

Australia – Max Verstappen achieved, in the early hours of Saturday, his third pole position of the season, at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix. Despite not being the fastest during free practice, which had Norris and Leclerc as leaders, the Dutchman of Red Bull put all his energy into Q3 and secured victory, followed by Carlos Sainz Jr. and Sergio Pérez. The race takes place in the early hours of this Sunday, at 1 am (Brasília time).

The dispute for pole featured 19 cars, with Logan Sargeant sitting out the weekend after giving up his Williams car to Alexander Albon, who crashed in FP1. He was unable to have his vehicle repaired in time. Among the top ten in the final classification were also Norris, Leclerc, Piastri, Russell, Tsunoda, Stroll and Alonso.

Q1 went to Spaniard Carlos Sainz, who clocked 1m16s731. The two Ferraris took the lead, followed by Verstappen who recorded the best lap with eight minutes remaining in Q1. With three minutes to the flag, Perez was one of the first to return to the track and overtook Leclerc. Mercedes did not perform well, despite Russell’s sixth place, Lewis Hamilton had the 12th best time and came close to not reaching Q2

The result closed with Sainz, Perez and Verstappen, respectively. Albon had his first lap deleted for the first time at his local GP for exceeding track limits. Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Gasly and Zhou were the first to be eliminated.

In Q2, with 15 minutes on the track, Sainz, Leclerc and Verstappen led with the best times. Mercedes continued to do poorly, Hamilton dropped to 11th and was eliminated with just 0.059 of advancing to Q3, behind George Russell, after being overtaken by Tsunoda and Strol who saved themselves from elimination in the last minutes. With Hamilton, Albon, Bottas, Magnussen and Ocon were eliminated.

In the last one, Verstappen accelerated and left the Ferraris behind with 1m15s915. With less than eight minutes to go before the checkered flag, the Dutchman clocked 1m16s048. Sainz followed in second and third, just 0.270s behind, and Perez. Leclerc encountered problems, made a mistake in the last corners and fell to fifth. Two-time champion Alonso aborted his lap after running off the track at turn 6, and returned to the pits.

With this, Max has his third pole of the season. The Dutchman also started from first place in the Bahrain and Saudi Arabia GPs and won both.

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