By Chris King • 01 April 2023 • 15:47
Image of Red Bull's Max Verstappen.
Max Verstappen placed his Red Bull in pole position after an excellent drive in the qualifying session today, Saturday, April 1, for the Australian Grand Prix. Incredibly, this is the Dutchman’s first-ever career pole in this annual event, a race that he is yet to take the chequered flag in.
“The last lap was pretty decent. Up until then, it was just really tricky to find the grip and try to nail it on one lap. I think you could see everyone was doing either a build lap or going faster on their second attempt”, he said after qualifying.
Verstappen continued: “I only had time in that last run (in the Q3 session) to go out and just go for that first time, but this time it worked out, so I’m very happy with that. It was just very tough to get the tyres to work in Turn 1 and get that comfortable feeling through that corner. I think that has been a bit of the story again the whole week”.
“I think also it wouldn’t have mattered if we had full running in FP1 and FP2, it’s just on a performance lap it seems very tricky with this new tarmac around here since last year”, he added.
Mercedes driver George Russell pulled out all the stops to finish just 0.236 seconds behind the reigning world champion. The pair will start from the front of the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne grid tomorrow, Sunday 2.
Lewis Hamilton capped a remarkable turnaround for the team by clinching third place, finishing only a fraction of 0.136secs behind his teammate. Today’s performances are the best of the new season so far for Mercedes.
Spain’s Fernando Alonso continued his rejuvenation by taking a brilliant fourth position on the grid. Ferrari are not having the best of seasons at the moment. Carlos Sainz will start from fifth in the red car.
Sergio Perez will start from the back of the pack tomorrow in the other Red Bull after crashing out in Q1. This comes as a major blow to the Mexican who is currently trailing Verstappen by just one point in the championship after his win in Saudi Arabia last time around.
Lance Stroll continued his amazing form in the Aston Martin to clinch sixth position. Charles LeClerc could only manage seventh in the other Ferrari. Alex Albon is another driver growing in stature, placing his Williams in the top 10 for the first time this season in eighth.
Pierre Gasly will begin the race from ninth in the Alpine, with McLaren’s Nico Hulkenberg rounding out the top 10 for tomorrow. Britain’s Lando Norris had to settle for 13th place.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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