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Verstappen claims dominant Qatar pole as McLaren suffer DOUBLE heartbreak

Verstappen claims dominant Qatar pole as McLaren suffer DOUBLE heartbreak

Verstappen claims dominant Qatar pole as McLaren suffer DOUBLE heartbreak

Verstappen claims dominant Qatar pole as McLaren suffer DOUBLE heartbreak

Max Verstappen clinched his 10th pole position of the season during Qatar Grand Prix qualifying, in a weekend that holds the potential for him to secure his third drivers' championship.

Lando Norris initially believed he had secured a second-row starting position for Sunday's race; however, he exceeded track limits, leading to the deletion of his lap time.

His team-mate Oscar Piastri suffered the same outcome, despite thinking he had qualified third he instead dropped to sixth.

George Russell took the place of Norris on the second row with Lewis Hamilton also moving up the pecking order into third position.

On a sand-hit track drivers were posed with the challenge of maintaining both the windy conditions and high temperatures.

Verstappen claimed provisional pole early in the session, setting the benchmark for all other drivers to chase.

Having topped the timesheets in Q2, Hamilton had his sights set on pole position, with both him and his teammate towards the top of the pack.

Verstappen made an early pit stop, confident that his lap time would indeed secure him pole position, and his intuition proved to be accurate.

After the stewards made their decision on track limits, Norris ended up in 10th. Ahead of him is Fernando Alonso in fourth, Charles Leclerc in fifth, Pierre Gasly in seventh and Esteban Ocon in eighth and Valtteri Bottas in ninth.

READ MORE: F1 team boss explains how Qatar GP unknowns provide unique opportunity

Shock for Sainz

Both Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz were eliminated in Q2

Carlos Sainz suffered a surprising elimination in Q2, despite posting a blistering lap that couldn't match the pace of the faster laps being clocked.

Sergio Perez also found himself not able to reach Q3 for yet another race weekend, after his lap time was deleted after the chequered flag.

As the track conditions improved, lap times continued to get faster in Q2, with many drivers opting for fresh sets of tyres.

Verstappen maintained his position at the top of the timesheets throughout the majority of the session, showcasing the superior downforce of his Red Bull car, particularly on the straights.

Towards the end of the session, the two McLarens mounted a late challenge, momentarily unsettling Verstappen as both of their cars surged ahead in the times.

Hamilton made his presence known right at the end of the Q2 session putting his car at the top of the field, 0.102 seconds ahead of Verstappen.

Joining Sainz and Perez on the side-lines for Q3 were Yuki Tsunoda, Alex Albon, and Nico Hulkenburg.

Last Dance for Lawson

Liam Lawson was eliminated in Q1

Liam Lawson's inability to break free from the bottom five resulted in his elimination from Q1, marking what could potentially be his final qualifying session before Daniel Ricciardo's return.

In a race weekend where he aimed to prove himself, Logan Sargeant found himself eliminated from the session after his own team-mate, Alex Albon, pushed him into the bottom five.

All teams originally rushed out of the pit lanes, resulting in on-track congestion. This eagerness stemmed from the teams' desire to maximise their track time in light of the limited practice sessions available.

Given the tight track limits, several lap times were deleted early in the session, with Norris, Lance Stroll, and Leclerc among those affected.

Both Mercedes drivers strategically waited until the final seven minutes of the session to set their lap times, a move that proved beneficial as they quickly moved to the top of the timesheets.

As the chequered flag was waved in Q1, a frantic scramble occurred among the drivers to improve their times and escape the bottom five positions.

At the end of the Q1 session, Verstappen, Norris, and Alonso secured their spots at the top of the table, while Lawson, Sargeant, Stroll, Kevin Magnussen, and Zhou Guanyu faced elimination, unable to advance into Q2.

F1 Qualifying Results: Qatar Grand Prix 2023

1. Max Verstappen [Red Bull]: 1:23.778s

2. George Russell [Mercedes]

3. Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes]

4. Fernando Alonso [Aston Martin]

5. Charles Leclerc [Ferrari]

6. Oscar Piastri [McLaren]

7. Pierre Gasly [Alpine]

8. Esteban Ocon [Alpine]

9. Valtteri Bottas [Alfa Romeo]

10. Lando Norris [McLaren]


11.Yuki Tsunoda [AlphaTauri]

12. Carlos Sainz [Ferrari]

13. Sergio Perez [Red Bull]

14. Alex Albon [Williams]

15. Nico Hulkenberg [Haas]


16. Logan Sargeant [Williams]

17. Lance Stroll [Aston Martin]

18. Liam Lawson [AlphaTauri]

19. Kevin Magnussen [Haas]

20. Zhou Guanyu [Alfa Romeo]

READ MORE: How Max Verstappen can become F1 champion this weekend

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