F1: Max Verstappen wins pole for Red Bull at Australian Grand Prix

Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia - April 1, 2023 Red Bull's Max Verstappen during REUTERS/Darrian Traynor qualifying

Formula One F1 – Australian Grand Prix – Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne, Australia – April 1, 2023 Max Verstappen of Red Bull during the REUTERS/Darrian Traynor qualifier

MELBOURNE— Max Verstappen took first place for Red Bull at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix on Saturday after teammate Sergio Perez plunged to the ground after a brake failure left him last at the net.

Mercedes driver George Russell joins Verstappen in the front row for Sunday’s race at Albert Park after overtaking teammate Lewis Hamilton in second.

Verstappen tried his best late in the hour, roaring around the lakeside lap in a minute 16,732 seconds, two tenths of a second faster than Russell.

“I thought the last run was very good,” said Verstappen, celebrating his first pole at Albert Park.

“All was successful in the third quarter.”

Hamilton is happy that Mercedes overcame Red Bull, which won both of its opening races in the Middle East.

“I am very happy with this,” he said. “I’m really proud of the team – being in the front row is a dream for us.

“Being this close to Red Bull is unbelievable.”

Perez, who had endured a nightmarish final practice session earlier on Saturday, slammed the brakes on the third inning of his first lap of the opening and plunged into the gravel, causing the qualifiers of he finished quickly.

Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso will start in fourth on the grid ahead of fifth-placed Carlos Sainz.

Sainz’s Ferrari teammate, Charles Leclerc, will finish seventh behind Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll in sixth.

Alex Albon will be eighth on the grid after a positive day for Williams, ahead of Alpine’s Pierre Gasly (ninth) and Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg.

Home fans’ hopes of a big race for local McLaren boy Oscar Piastri were dashed when he nearly missed his spot in Q2. He will start in 16th place on the grid.


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