Max Verstappen secured pole position for the Australian Grand Prix ahead of the two Mercedes of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton as Sergio Perez went off early in Q1.
The Red Bull driver took half a second out of his own provisional pole time on his final run in Q3 to secure the top spot on the grid while the Mercedes drivers secured second and third with Fernando Alonso fourth.
Perez will start last on the grid for tomorrow’s race, barring any penalties, after he skidded off track on his first push lap in Q1.
Q1Alexander Albon and Logan Sargeant led the field away as Q1 began, while the five teams in the top half of the constructors’ championship opted to remain in the garage.
Kevin Magnussen was the quickest of the initial runners with a 1’19.392, before Albon replaced him with his second consecutive push lap. Albon’s team mate Sargeant briefly brought out the yellow flags by spinning at turn 13 at the end of his flying lap, righting the car and returning to the garage.
Sergio Perez had struggled throughout final practice with braking problems, running off the circuit no fewer than four times. On his first push lap of qualifying, the problem struck again, with worse consequences. He locked up under braking for turn three and skidded off the track into the gravel. Despite his pleas to the marshals to push him, Perez was stranded in the gravel trap, his session over almost before it had started.
The red flags flew so the Red Bull could be recovered. After a delay of eight minutes, the session resumed with just under 12 minutes remaining. Max Verstappen immediately jumped to the top of the times with his first flying lap, while many of his rivals opted to run a tyre preparation lap before pushing flat-out on their second lap.
Albon improved to move up to second place, less than a tenth of a second behind Verstappen, while Carlos Sainz Jnr could not match the Williams and went third in his Ferrari. Fernando Alonso’s first truly representative lap in the Aston Martin was easily quick enough to put him top, but only for a matter of seconds before Verstappen lowered the best time to a 1’17.469.
With five minutes remaining, there was an intense battle in the midfield to determine who would be the four drivers to join Perez in being knocked out of the opening phase. Zhou Guanyu, Yuki Tsunoda, Valtteri Bottas and Sargeant were all at risk, with Sargeant, Zhou and Bottas all improving to move out of danger, which dropped the two McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri into the elimination zone.
Norris and Tsunoda improved, which pushed the two Alfa Romeos back into the bottom five. Bottas improved his time but not his position with his final lap, ensuring his elimination. His team mate Zhou also failed to escape the drop zone with his final effort.
Piastri disappointed the home fans by missing out on a Q2 berth by just 0.022s, with Sargeant the final driver with the opportunity to secure safe passage out of the first session. He could not match his team mate’s pace with his last effort and was the final driver eliminated from the first phase in 18th.
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||RB19||1’17.384||9|
|4||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin-Mercedes||AMR23||1’17.832||0.448||11|
|6||55||Carlos Sainz Jnr||Ferrari||SF-23||1’17.928||0.544||10|
|9||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin-Mercedes||AMR23||1’18.060||0.676||10|
|14||21||Nyck de Vries||AlphaTauri-Red Bull||AT04||1’18.450||1.066||12|
|15||22||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri-Red Bull||AT04||1’18.471||1.087||12|
|17||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||C43||1’18.540||1.156||12|
|19||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||C43||1’18.714||1.330||12|
|20||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||RB19||No time||2|
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Having secured a place in Q2 for the first time in 2023, Nyck de Vries was naturally eager to take to the track as the second segment got underway, the AlphaTauri driver becoming the first car out on the circuit. He was soon joined by the rest of the first, with only the Mercedes and Alpine drivers choosing to remain in the pits.
Alonso set the early benchmark with a 1’17.681, but he was bested by team mate Lance Stroll after his first lap of Q2. Ferrari then moved to the top of the times sheets courtesy of Leclerc, who beat Stroll’s best by less than a tenth of a second on his first flying lap. Verstappen then went comfortably quickest with a 1’17.219, fastest by over three tenths, before Alonso improved to within a tenth of the championship leader in the Aston Martin.
Norris could not get into the top ten with his first flying lap of Q2, sitting 13th, and then a mistake under braking for turn three on his next lap left him trailing through the gravel trap. George Russell’s first push lap moved him to fourth place in the Mercedes, while team mate Lewis Hamilton could only manage eighth.
As time began winding down, the drop zone consisted of Tsunoda, Pierre Gasly, Norris, Magnussen and De Vries. Norris briefly bumped Albon down into the bottom five, but the Williams improved to put Norris right back into danger. De Vries’ next effort saw him improve to go ahead of his team mate, but it was still half a second away from reaching Q3.
Gasly improved to put himself into the top ten at the expense of his team mate Ocon, who came across traffic in the final sector and was the first car knocked out of Q2 by just 0.007s. Tsunoda also followed Ocon out of qualifying in 12th, while 13th was the best Norris could manage in the McLaren on his final lap of a session in which he was clearly pushing hard, kicking up the gravel twice.
Magnussen was eliminated in 14th, over seven tenths slower than Haas team mate Nico Hulkenberg, with De Vries the final car out of Q2 in 15th place.
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||RB19||1’17.056||16|
|2||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin-Mercedes||AMR23||1’17.283||0.227||18|
|3||55||Carlos Sainz Jnr||Ferrari||SF-23||1’17.349||0.293||20|
|9||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin-Mercedes||AMR23||1’17.616||0.560||20|
|12||22||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri-Red Bull||AT04||1’18.099||1.043||22|
|15||21||Nyck de Vries||AlphaTauri-Red Bull||AT04||1’18.335||1.279||23|
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Although the weather radar suggested qualifying would conclude with no further rain, teams wasted no time in heading out to complete their first Q3 runs early. While the majority of drivers opted to run a preparatory lap on their tyres before beginning a push lap, Verstappen immediately went for a time in the Red Bull.
He made a slight mistake at turn 13 on his flying lap, setting the first provisional pole time with a 1’17.5. That was beaten by Alonso on his first effort of Q3, taking over the top sport with a 1’17.303. The Ferraris of Sainz and Leclerc then demoted Verstappen down the order, while Russell moved behind Alonso with his first effort.
Then Hamilton suddenly jumped up into provisional pole position with a 1’17.271, pushing Verstappen down to sixth place. However, the Red Bull driver had remained out on track and attempted a second push lap on his tyres. That effort saw him only just pip Hamilton to retake pole by just nine-thousandths of a second.
The field returned to the pits to fit on fresh tyres for their final runs of qualifying. Again, the majority waited for their second lap to push, with Verstappen waiting longer than his rivals to put all his effort into his first lap. Verstappen’s push lap comfortably quickest and he blitzed his own pole time by over half a second to lower pole to a 1’16.732. Alonso’s second lap was not fast enough to trouble the Red Bull driver and he could only manage a lap four tenths slower than Verstappen’s best.
Mercedes were the only ones able to get close to Verstappen, with Russell moving up to the front row ahead of Alonso but still two tenths behind the championship leader. Hamilton could not match his team mate with his final lap, but he still secured a top three starting position ahead of Alonso as the chequered flag flew.
Sainz secured fifth on the grid ahead of Stroll in the second Aston Martin, with Leclerc having to settle for seventh. Alexander Albon took a strong eighth for Williams, with Gasly and Hulkenberg rounding out the top ten.
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||RB19||1’16.732||24|
|4||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin-Mercedes||AMR23||1’17.139||0.407||26|
|5||55||Carlos Sainz Jnr||Ferrari||SF-23||1’17.270||0.538||28|
|6||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin-Mercedes||AMR23||1’17.308||0.576||26|
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2023 Australian Grand Prix
- Sainz maintains penalty was “disproportionate” and deserved reviewing
- Why Ferrari’s attempt to overturn Sainz’s penalty looks like a long shot
- Mercedes unsure whether gains seen in Melbourne were ‘track-specific’
- Why Ferrari saw a ‘real step forward in pure performance’ in point-less Australian GP
- “Got away with that one!”: F1 drivers’ unheard reactions to restart chaos
61 comments on “Verstappen beats Mercedes drivers to pole after Perez slips up in Q1”
1st April 2023, 7:38
It’s sad. Such a good chance to be second for Alonso, but now it’s almost impossible to reach even the third place. I don’t see both Mercedes making such a terrible start so that Alonso gets in front of them on the first lap. If they have a good start and keep their position, forget the podium. Otherwise, Alonso will need a killer race pace and do something with strategy, which will be difficult. If he tries to extend the stints, he will be behind Mercedes after stops and probably will not overtake on the race track. If he tries to undercut, he might face some traffic and lose time there.
Fingers crossed that he will fight for it and won’t make any dumb mistakes like last time.
1st April 2023, 7:40
Perez showing his championship mettle.
1st April 2023, 7:49
Excellent exciting session – we don’t need changes to this format really.
1st April 2023, 9:55
1st April 2023, 7:59
Was funny how on f1tv commentary david coulthard repeatedly tried to claim that red bull don’t have a big advantage and that talk of them dominating isn’t an accurate representation of actual pace.
also constant talk of how this is the closest f1 has ever been. which may be true in qualifying but over the 2 races so far we have seen that it’s not so true in races and ultimately thats what counts. been huge field spread and big pace gaps between cars in the first 2 races of 2023 so the ‘closest ever field’ hasn’t equated to good racing.
1st April 2023, 8:10
This is the most boring season of F1 in years.
1st April 2023, 8:31
Not even close to the most boring.
1st April 2023, 8:32
mate, it’s race 3… calm yourself 🤣🤣
1st April 2023, 8:47
This is how it is going to be all year due to budget cap. Red Bull’s dominance can’t be beaten.
Maybe at some point FOM will tell RBR to turn the engines down and make it artificially interesting for you.
1st April 2023, 8:49
so quick to judge and even quicker to speak without thinking 🤣👍
1st April 2023, 11:12
That’s what Mercedes did during the start of the hybrid era, they would be at the point where they’d be negotiating with the engine team to decide just how much they should beat the competition because they were worried that the regulators would come after them.
Also, I’m not bored, even after 26 years of watching the sport.
1st April 2023, 12:24
Ah,… there you have the budget thing again. toto’s smart influencing the FIA the last years will never be mentioned, but the budget cap subject keeps returning. MB has become closer to RB than RB was during Lewis’s hightimes but that all doesn’t matter
1st April 2023, 10:08
Yeah, right. One team is (for the moment) the best, but we have three teams behind them that are absolutely unpredictable and close to each other. Try to remember anything before 2021 and tell me this is more “boring” (I suppose “fun” means teams having close performance). And indeed, how many races have we seen so far? F1 was never only about fight for the top anyway, I enjoy other battles almost as much.
1st April 2023, 13:45
Coulthard is known as a beacon of objectivity:)
1st April 2023, 14:27
Like you I guess 😃
1st April 2023, 19:12
I misread your comment first time I looked. I thought you said he was known as the bacon of objectivity. I thought you meant he’d been telling porkies.
1st April 2023, 8:03
Good opportunity for Perez to stock up on new power units, gear boxes, etc which may give him a strategic advantage later.
Will Red Bull do it though?
1st April 2023, 8:06
I don’t think you can use a fourth PU if you’re still in your 1st
1st April 2023, 8:21
Correct. He had to have used all his other components for the season at least once before he could start ‘strategically’ stacking penalties.
1st April 2023, 9:29
That’s not really gonna work with how many components he used already…. Maybe an ES if I recall correctly.
1st April 2023, 19:18
I’m not a big fan of engine penalties etc, and think there are better ways of managing engine costs, but I think these tactical engine changes are just defeating the point of the engine limit regulation in the first place. I feel that if you crash off like Perez did, a driver error, no other cars invoved, and end up at the back of the grid because of it, using it as an opportunity to break the rules without getting penalised is just wrong. Sure, let drivers take a new engine if they want to, but if they are already near the back of the grid and can’t take the full penalty, carry the penalty residue over to the next race and penalise them there as well.
1st April 2023, 8:09
Mercedes, Hulkenberg, & Albon were positive surprises, while Perez clearly has had a more fundamental issue hampering his braking.
1st April 2023, 10:16
Perrz looked to me like the same mistake as qualy Canada last year. The RB looked unbalanced but how much do they have to push in Q1? Same issues as FP3 but I guess more a setup issue than reliability. Biggest chalange was getting the tyres to work and the Mercedes drivers got that right.
1st April 2023, 11:22
A great driver would:
a) recognize an issue with the car
b) inform team of issues with car
c) adapt to issue with car until fixed
A poor driver would:
a) whine and complain about team
b) whine and complain about teammate
c) make bold claims about his or her skill
d) fail to adapt to issues with car
e) blame team for his or her failure to adapt to the car
Hamilton and Alonso have a history or mostly being in the first group, though both have their fair share of mixing the whining with the adapting. Perez and others fall quite often in the second, holding himself in high esteem then failing as soon as the skill required him to back up his words failed to appear.
Max also tends to fall towards the first group, whereas Seb was humbled enough to eventually find himself in the first group after spending some years in the second.
1st April 2023, 13:09
The same guy that told his manager last year that his teammate shouldn’t expect his help/respect, last week that the team weren’t allowed to let him down again & pushed the car to the limit after noting to his engineers that it was making a strange noise belongs in first category?
1st April 2023, 16:34
Not sure a guy who said the car is terrible because his engineers didn’t listen to him only to find the car is actually pretty good 2 weeks later does either… ;)
1st April 2023, 22:02
I didn’t say always. Also the first category has, “adapts to the car instead of drives like there is no issue”.
How often does Max or Lewis have legitimate issues, then crashes out because they pretend there are no issues?
1st April 2023, 8:18
Alonso needs to start worrying about himself Lewis being 0-3 vs George and the gap he is behind is far more impressive than Alonso’s gap to Lance Stroll. Stroll being so good just shows how good Aston is especially with Strolls injuries.
1st April 2023, 22:31
Are you talking about Lewis blaming the team for not listening to his wisdom? I guess not :)
At least with Max you know there is no politics in his responses, just his plain and unfiltered opinion.
He wasn’t happy with an unexpected car issue in qualifying, that popped up without notice. Who would be?
I believe his “I hear things” claim was a bit of noise to conceal his switch from hunting to tyre management without telling the opposition that the fastest lap attempt was in the making. The team wanted him to stop hunting Perez, and Verstappen knew the hunt wasn’t going to work. I’m sure his race eningeer knew what was up when he started asking questions about who had the fastest lap.
1st April 2023, 22:36
This site loves doing weird things :) my comment was to Elvira…
On Stroll: He might be better than some of us believe: It isn’t like he’s destroyed by Alonso, and Vettel wasn’t always out of his reach. Yes, daddy bought him all the right toys and teachers, but still, Lance seems to be at least OK in speed.
1st April 2023, 8:38
Maybe Mercedes can get out of panic mode now.
2nd April 2023, 0:57
And make the same mistake they did last year after Brazil, thinking that they had made huge progress, when in fact Redbull simply underperformed. Redbull simply underperformed today. Peter Windsor made a good point about Redbull probably struggling more than others to get the tyres to work, because the car is easy on them, unlike Mercedes which is cooks the tyres faster than both Redbull and Aston. So this was track specific.
1st April 2023, 9:03
Did Hulkenberg compromise Hamilton’s last lap in Q3? That blocking looked borderline illegal….?
1st April 2023, 10:16
I thought Hulkenberg was about to start a lap just as Hamilton was. It did compromise Hamilton’s first sector I believe.
1st April 2023, 19:28
Yes, I didn’t see what happened in that final corner, but I think Hamilton’s first sector time was down and then picked up a bit in the middle and last so it might have been a distraction for both drivers. What Hulkenberg did didn’t look too clever, but equally it might just have been that Hamilton was too eager to get going and should have held back a bit earlier in the lap. You’d think though that it wouldn’t be that difficult for the FIA to iron out the procedures to stop this happening. My feeling was that if Hulkenberg wasn’t prepared to speed up, he should have allowed Hamilton through. Maybe there should be some point, say from two corners back, where the lead car has to go at near race speed. All of this queueing up in the final corner is ridiculous.
1st April 2023, 22:28
Hamilton said he did. But HAM was on a warm up and Hulk was on a cool-down so no penalty.
1st April 2023, 9:08
McLaren have some big issues to sort out
1st April 2023, 9:42
Yeah, McLaren is the biggest of them all.
1st April 2023, 10:33
If McLaren wasn’t English they’d be the endlessly mocked by the F1 media.
A decade of poor cars, lacklustre drivers, and poor engine decisions.
1st April 2023, 22:53
Williams isn’t doing that much better, but at least they act humble.
It’s just that the gaps are so extremely small. Compare the time tables to recent years, especially in Qualifying the margins are rasor thin. 2sec between first and last in Q, compared to 4ish seconds in previous GP Down Unders…
1st April 2023, 9:52
My thumb inadvertently reported you.
McLaren declared themselves as racers. I’m declaring them embarrassments.
1st April 2023, 10:17
They don’t have Honda to blame this time. They can’t blame the Mercedes engine either.
Red Andy (@red-andy)
1st April 2023, 10:18
Red Bull rolling back the years in this qualifying session. Felt like one of their Vettel-era performances – a scruffy lap from Verstappen that was still quicker than everyone else, akin to how Vettel could “miss four apexes and still get the fastest time,” as Hamilton once said. Mysterious technical gremlins that somehow failed to prevent the car from going quickest. And the actual technical gremlins striking the second car at the most inopportune time.
1st April 2023, 10:19
At their worst track of 2022, Red Bull looks unbeatable. If it wasn’t already, the writing is on the wall here for all who care to see.
Hamilton and Leclerc losing out to their teammates (again). It’s perhaps unfair, but I don’t get the sense that either would be a match for Verstappen right now even if they did have a faster package.
David BR (@david-br)
1st April 2023, 14:43
Hamilton has been quicker all weekend and will be in the race. (Just as Russell was last race weeke nd.) He was held up or held himself up on the final Q3 lap. You’re extracting far too much of a conclusion from one moment.
David BR (@david-br)
1st April 2023, 14:43
(Held up on the warmup lap before the final fast lap, I mean)
1st April 2023, 17:25
With so much now relying on the tyres I think you are right that with Hamilton having to weave around a bit there would have been an effect on either tyre temperature or picking up muck off line.
It is rubbish in that respect that the tyres have such a small working window. George made exactly that comment that just getting it right or better was good for a much better lap.
David BR (@david-br)
1st April 2023, 18:05
@andyfromsandy It was clearly a bigger issue yesterday with the lower temperatures. I l liked the fact they could stay out an alternate slower and fast laps, though, setting decent times with the same tyres. Hulkenberg was in Hamilton’s way at the end of his final warm up lap, which slowed Lewis down some on the fast lap, but that could have been mistiming on Hamilton’s part too.
1st April 2023, 10:42
McLaren should get foreigner staff in charge like English staff and move their HQ to England to get better result and better culture work …oh wait :)
1st April 2023, 10:56
Warning, Mercedes will be picking up the place and start challenging Max Verstappen, probably we will see that after 2 more races.
1st April 2023, 11:08
Please don’t confuse wishes with facts.
1st April 2023, 11:28
Chances are high that Max could be 3rd or even 4th or 5th at end of lap 1. Won’t finish there, at all, but he isn’t going to have a good first few laps.
I had assumed Perez was going to crash ino Max or even vice versa, but Sergio already proved how great he is by being very well aware of a problem with the car and still trying to drive it like it was problem-free, so maybe that’ll shut him up for a few weeks until his talent is bigger than his mouth.
Either way, Alonso, the Mercs and also Alpine are beastly with starts and the RB doesn’t seem to take too kindly to Australian streets from a standing start. If it rains at all before race time, I doubt Max will be leading lap 1.
Phil Norman (@phil-f1-21)
1st April 2023, 12:10
Disappointing by Ferrari to be only 5th and 7th with Charles in 7th. When you consider last year Charles was on pole and won the race. 2023 is not shaping up very well.
I think if Fernando can get by one of the Mercs early on then he ought to be able to get another podium. He could even finish second assuming Max does not run into any issues.
David BR (@david-br)
1st April 2023, 14:40
The conditions suited Mercedes today and they made the most of it. If Hulk hadn’t held up Hamilton (or Hamilton hadn’t messed up his timing to Hulk: not sure which it was TBH) then we could have seen his time even closer to Max, who didn’t put in a perfect lap – then again the Red Bull was a bit hampered in terms of warming the tyres up.
Ferrari must be the most disappointed.
I’ve made a mental adjustment – just subtract Max from the equation, presume he’s already one the title. It then actually is quite an interesting tussle for all the other places.
Perez has only himself to blame, I think, but can’t help noting his decision to set off a bit of a fire within the team with comments this weekend about RBR having a ‘number one’ driver in the past and then fail to deliver after upping the stakes. If you’re going to stake a claim to the title, stay on the road at least.
David BR (@david-br)
1st April 2023, 14:41
*won the title
1st April 2023, 22:10
I’m not sure, the red bull seems fast enough to allow perez an easy 2nd place in the championship, even when he does stuff like this.
David BR (@david-br)
2nd April 2023, 0:30
@esploratore1 We’ll have to see how he does from last place on the grid today, I guess. He’s put a lot of pressure on himself after stating (accurately enough) that Red Bull “were just going racing with two cars because they had to” when he joined in 2021. And then having a truly bad day – qualifying accidents happen but it’s just unthinkable Verstappen would go off so many times with the same issue. And Ricciardo’s sat there trackside, smiling, ready to take over. Perez really can’t afford to have a bad race.
Jim from US (@jimfromus)
1st April 2023, 21:59
I’ve been told to believe that RB did nothing to PER’s car this week, it’s just that PER completely forgot how to drive in the 2 weeks since the last race, which he won driving away. Not buying it.
1st April 2023, 22:06
I presume you know how to drive a standard vehicle?
If your standard vehicle developed an issue that happens when you do a very specific thing, such as act like there is no steering fluid when making a 90 degree left hand turn at an intersection, would you continue to make 90 degree left hand turns or would you start to avoid them if possible?
Perez noted a very specific issue happening when he was at very specific parts of the track. He chose not to adapt his driving style, but rather complain.
Other drivers, better drivers, adapt and finish.
1st April 2023, 22:11
Definitely suspicious, he drove well on both the first races.
David BR (@david-br)
2nd April 2023, 1:23
@jimfromus You’re not buying that Perez isn’t very good at taking corners sometimes? Hmm. So either Momaco qualifying last year is proof that he can be a bit clumsy, or it’s really as suspicious as the Verstappen camp seemed to think. (Given he flicked the steering wheel and simultaneously accelerated, then promptly span and crashed, I’m going with suspicious too.)
I doubt Red Bull would sabotage themselves in this way or want an increasingly paranoid driver in the number two car. Unless they’ve decided Ricciardo would be a better option and they need to fashion an excuse to demote Perez over the next few races… (I’m joking but these conspiracy theories have a life of their own almost.)
Comments are closed.