Max Verstappen raises 'question mark' despite securing pole position in Australian Grand Prix qualifying

Max Verstappen raises 'question mark' despite securing pole position in Australian Grand Prix qualifying

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Jack Otway

By Jack Otway

Published: 23/03/2024

- 06:17

Updated: 23/03/2024

- 06:51

The 26-year-old managed to secure pole ahead of Carlos Sainz Jr and Sergio Perez

Max Verstappen was delighted after securing pole position in qualifying prior to tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix, dubbing the achievement 'unexpected'.

However, with Ferrari impressing in the long runs, the 26-year-old has admitted that's a 'question mark' as the main event creeps closer.

Verstappen secured pole with a time of 1:15.915, with the Dutchman fending off competition from Carlos Sainz Jr and Sergio Perez.

Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc, Oscar Piastri, George Russell, Yuki Tsunoda, Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso made up the rest of the top 10.

Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen has spoken out after securing pole position in Australian Grand Prix qualifying


Verstappen was pleased with his exploits on the grid on Saturday morning.

But he's acknowledged the speed of Ferrari and thinks the likes of Sainz Jr and Leclerc will be tough to beat in 24 hours' time.

"A bit unexpected today in qualifying but very happy with Q3," he said.

"Both of those laps felt very nice and it was enjoyable.

"A bit of a tricky weekend so far but we managed to be there at the end, so very happy with that.

"Ferrari seem quick on the long runs, so bit of a question mark for tomorrow, but I guess that makes it exciting."

Perez took third in qualifying - and the Red Bull driver, like Verstappen, was happy with how the session panned out.

"There was a bit more in it. My first sector was not great, especially Turn One," he said.

"On my final lap, I didn't hook the whole combination which straight away is a tenth or tenth and a half.

"But, I'm happy given I think how we have been during the weekend.

"I think tomorrow we have a fight on our hands with the Ferraris and the rest of the field.

"Degradation is going to be very high, so starting position is not as relevant at the moment."

Another driver upbeat was Sainz Jr.

The 29-year-old missed the last race in Saudi Arabia due to appendicitis, with the Spaniard faring well on his return to action.

And Sainz Jr reflected on a tough couple of weeks while speaking to Sky Sports, saying: "It’s been a tough couple weeks, a lot of days in bed waiting for this moment to see if I could be here today.


Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen will start the Australian Grand Prix in pole after another impressive qualifying performance


"To make it to this weekend and then to put it on the front row after leading through qualifying, I was almost not believing it, especially after how tough it’s been.

"But very happy to be here, very happy to be challenging the Red Bulls this weekend.

"I was a bit rusty at the beginning yesterday but then I got up to speed and I could finally find the pace and am feeling good with the car.

"I’m not going to lie, I’m not in my most comfortable state when I’m driving out there but I can get it done.

"And as long as I can get it done without the pain, obviously a lot of discomfort and weird feelings but no pain, so it allows me to push flat out."

Leclerc, meanwhile, admitted he struggled to perform in Australia and lamented his failure to finish higher.

"I just didn’t find the right feeling today, for some reason," he confessed.

"There was something already from FP3 that I could feel, but I told myself, ‘I’ll find the confidence again in qualifying,’ which most of the time that works, but today it didn’t.

"The front wasn’t as strong as I wanted and then on the last run I went very aggressive with the front wing and obviously we went on the other side. So a bit of a shame, but it’s like this."

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