UK: 18+ USA: 21+ | Begambleaware.org | T&Cs apply | Play Responsibly
Max Verstappen will line up on pole position for the Qatar GP, and most likely as a three-time world champion. The Dutchman was clearly ahead of the field, needing only a single attempt in Q3.
Qatar Grand Prix qualifying: Who will be on pole?
Max Verstappen will be on pole for the Qatar GP. The 2023 F1 champion-elect scored his 10th pole position of the season, courtesy of a 1:23.778s. George Russell will share the front row with the Red Bull driver, with Oscar Piastri completing the top 3. Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri scored second and fourth on track, but had their attempts deleted for track limits infractions. Sergio Perez, meanwhile, endured another poor qualifying, and will line up in 13th after also having his attempt deleted for track limits.
Q1: Verstappen leads from Norris, Alonso
With limited track time available all weekend, a of cars quickly formed on the pitlane exit at the start of the session. Verstappen was the first driver out, and all cars were significantly quicker compared to the times set in free practice. Fernando Alonso was the man to beat in the first part, setting a 1:25.685 to go over 0.710s faster than his nearest challenger.
The two-time champion stayed at the top for the majority of the session, until Verstappen and Norris managed to get into the low 25s range. Despite improving on his previous time, the Spaniard could only manage third, two tenths down on Verstappen’s lap.
The fight for the final transfer spot turned into a head to head battle between the two Williams. Logan Sargeant sat in 15th until the dying moments of the session. But a late flyer from Alexander Albon, who was the first driver outside the cutoff in 16th, saw the Thai driver squeeze through by less than a tenth, at the expense of his American teammate. Albon was able to keep his perfect record against Sargeant in qualifying alive, going 17-0 against the rookie.
Joining Sargeant out Lance Stroll, who endured his sixth consecutive Q1 elimination, Liam Lawson, Kevin Magnussen and Zhou Guanyu.
Q2: Hamilton leads, early exits for Perez and Sainz
Most drivers chose to go with used softs for Q2. Verstappen led the way at the end of the first set of runs, setting the first lap of the weekend in the 24s range with a 1:24.758.
McLaren duo Norris and Piastri briefly jumped to the top, going just under a tenth up on Verstappen’s previous attempt. The Dutchman retook the top spot, but was beaten by a late flyer from Hamilton. The seven-time champion set a 1:24.381 to snatch the top spot from his 2021 championship rival.
Down the order, there was drama for Carlos Sainz Jr. and Sergio Perez. The Spaniard, who had been struggling with the occasional gusts of wind, found himself down in 12th and out in Q2. Sainz also picked up an investigation for erratic driving, having blocked Verstappen on a flying lap.
Perez. who had been sitting in 10th and just outside the cutoff, had his time deleted for a track limits infraction on turn 5. The Mexican driver dropped to 13th as a result, and found himself out before Q3 for the eighth time in 17 races this season.
Perez’s penalty promoted Valtteri Bottas to the 10th and final transfer spot, the Finn narrowly edging out Yuki Tsunoda by 0.004s.
Q3: Verstappen seals pole in one attempt, Norris loses front row spot
Verstappen led the way during the first run, setting the first 23s lap of the weekend with a 1:23.778s. Norris had briefly gone second, but the McLaren driver had his laptime deleted for a track limits infraction. Hamilton and Russell slid into second and third, but over 0.5s down on Verstappen’s time.
The champion-elect bailed out on his final attempt following a brief off-track excursion. And, indeed, Norris was the only driver who got remotely close to the provisional pole time, going 0.296s slower than Verstappen. The McLaren driver’s time, however, had his laptime deleted, losing a front row spot and getting demoted to 10th. Teammate Piastri had a similar fate, losing his best time, which had been good enough for fourth, and dropping to sixth.
As a result, Russell was promoted to second and Hamilton to third. Alonso, Charles Leclerc, Piastri, Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon, Bottas and Norris rounding out the top 10.
Subscribe to Punditfeed on Google News for all the latest updates from the world of sports!