Max Verstappen once again secures Pole Position in Qatar, his tenth of the season. On the Losail circuit, the Dutchman was able to unleash all the characteristics of his RB19: numerous fast corners and a straight where aerodynamic efficiency is important.
Mercedes is getting significantly closer to McLaren and, for now, beats Ferrari. The Brackley-based team finished in second and third place. Alonso returns to the second row in fourth position. Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari was fifth. Oscar Piastri, Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon and Lando Norris round out the top ten.
Both McLaren drivers had their laptimes cancelled due to track limits, which would have put them in 4th with Piastri and 2nd with Norris.
Ferrari struggled with Carlos Sainz, who didn’t even participate in Q3. Sergio Perez also failed to qualify in the last part of qualifying, with the Mexican still having enormous difficulty compared to his teammate.
8.00 pm local time, and the green light goes out for the qualification, which will dictate the starting grid for the Sunday race.
All the teams will take to the track with very little data available, given that the only free practices of the weekend were characterized by strong winds, sand on the track and high temperatures.
As widely expected, the first part of the session saw a huge track evolution, with drivers improving throughout. After the first ten minutes in the pits, the two Mercedes drivers take to the track. There was a different strategy for the Brackley team, likely in a bid to save a set of tyres.
With an action-packed final five minutes, Verstappen put in the best performance at the end. He was followed by Norris, Alonso, Piastri and Russell in the top five.
Out in Q1 were the following: Sargeant, Stroll, Lawson, Magnussen and Zhou.
Difficulties continued for Lance Stroll, who was about 1.1 behind his teammate. Surprisingly, Liam Lawson, after excellent qualifying in recent weekends, is unable to express his potential and does not pass the round.
The Fifteen minutes were still intense, with the track still improving. After an initial run, the reigning World Champion went fastest, followed by the two Mercedes and Pierre Gasly in fourth.
In the last attempt, everyone improved, with Lewis Hamilton recording the best performance in 1:24.381. They were followed by Verstappen, Norris, Piastri and Russell.
These were the main surprises: Carlos Sainz on Ferrari and Sergio Perez on Red Bull were knocked out in Q2, in twelfth and thirteenth.
Max Verstappen immediately imposed himself in the first run, several tenths ahead of Hamilton in second. He was followed by Russell and Piastri, with Leclerc in fifth position.
Norris was provisionally tenth due to a previously deleted time. With three minutes to go, all the drivers take to the track for their final attempt. Verstappen did not his last attempt due to a mistake in the first sector, but his previous time will still be enough to take his tenth pole position of the season (equaling his 2021 record).
Translation: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang