Australian GP 2023

APRIL 1, 2023

Qualifying Report - Verstappen takes pole over Mercedes duo

Max Verstappen, Australian GP 2023
© Red Bull

By Peter Habicht

Max Verstappen in the Red Bull-Honda took pole position with a lap of 1m16.732s beating the Mercedes GP pair of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton to top qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, while Sergio Perez went off track and was eliminated in Q1.

Having fuelled to run for many laps in Q1 and Q3, most of the Q3 runners opted for two new tyre runs of five laps each.

Verstappen had led the way throughout but was reporting possible issues with his RB19's battery and transmission when he took pole with a few seconds left in the session.

The Aston Martin-Mercedes of Fernando Alonso was pushed back to fourth.

Behind Alonso came first Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, with Lance Stroll sixth in the other Aston Martin and Charles Leclerc in the second Ferrari in seventh.

Alex Albon gave Williams its best qualifying of 2023 in eighth with Pierre Gasly and Hulkenberg completing the top 10.

Knocked out in Q2 were Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, Alpha Tauri’s Yuki Tsunoda, McLaren’s Lando Norris, Haas F1 Team’s Kevin Magnussen and McLaren’s Nyck De Vries. Traffic hurt Ocon’s chances at Q3 as he fell out of contention by just 0.007s, and Norris exceeded track limits on a fast lap, hurting his chances at moving up farther.