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Australian GP qualifying results: Max Verstappen seals pole after Lewis Hamilton disaster

With only 19 drivers taking to the track in qualifying, Q1 was a relatively straightforward session, although there was some heartbreak for local hero Daniel Ricciardo, who saw a strong lap time deleted, plunging him into the elimination zone and setting him up for a back-row start on Sunday.

After Ferrari dominated Q1, Verstappen and Oscar Piastri produced impressive early times in Q2 but the cream eventually rose to the top with Sainz leading Charles Leclerc on the timing screens come the chequered flag.

The Q2 shocks came at the other end of the order with late laps from Lance Stroll and Yuki Tsunoda bumping seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton out of the top 10, sealing his worst qualifying at the Albert Park circuit since 2010. His Mercedes team-mate George Russell didn’t fare much better, taking the flag in P10, just above the cut-off point.

When the hunt for pole got underway in Q3 it was Verstappen who set the early pace, setting a blistering provisional P1 time that was nearly three-tenths faster than closest rival Sainz. Leclerc was third fastest, with Perez rounding out the top four following a purple first sector.

Verstappen stepped up a gear in the final runs, setting the fastest final sector as he roared to pole position ahead of Sainz. There was less luck for Leclerc, who will start the race from P5 after an error in sector three forced him to abort his final run. Elsewhere, Lando Norris impressed, placing his McLaren onto the front row.

Qualifying results in full

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

2. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)

4. Lando Norris (McLaren)

5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

6. Oscar Piastri (McLaren)

7. George Russell (Mercedes)

SOURCE

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