Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Albert Park, 2024

Verstappen repels Ferrari threat to continue run of pole positions

2024 Australian GP qualifying report

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Max Verstappensecured a hat trick of poles to start the 2024 season in Melbourne after warding off a challenge from Ferrari in qualifying.

The world champion was the only driver to break under the 1’16s barrier as he took pole around Albert Park by over two tenths from Carlos Sainz Jnr’s Ferrari.

Sergio Perez took third, but is likely to face a penalty as he is under investigation for impeding Nico Hulkenberg in the opening phase of qualifying.


The 100,000-strong crowd around the Albert Park circuit anticipated an intensely competitive qualifying session as the evening sun appeared in the Victorian sky, causing temperatures to rise compared to the final practice session.

After taking over his team mate’s Williams, Alexander Albon was the first driver to attempt a push lap. However, a mistake at the fast turn nine and ten chicane led to him running wide and his first lap time was deleted.

Esteban Ocon had an early scare in his Alpine when he clipped the outside barrier at the exit of the final corner, appearing to cause him a left-rear puncture. He managed to recover to the pits without interrupting many of his rivals putting in their first runs of the session.

Verstappen used a new set of soft tyres to set the early benchmark, but he complained of heavy understeer in his Red Bull. His time was easily beaten by both Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jnr and the two McLarens of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris. Verstappen improved on his second push lap, but so did the Ferraris. Sainz went quickest of all with a 1’16.731, a quarter of a second faster than his team mate.

Many drivers found improvements were possible by staying on their same set of soft tyres and cooling them down over two laps before pushing once again. Both Red Bull drivers and Mercedes used this approach to find more time, though the RB20s extracted much more.

With Sargeant not participating, only four drivers were to be eliminated from the first phase. In the final minutes, Daniel Ricciardo was one of those in need of improving to avoid elimination. He managed to do so with his final effort, but after running clearly wide at the exit of turn four, his best time was deleted and his elimination guaranteed.

After all drivers had completed their final laps and taken the chequered flag, Ocon and Kevin Magnussen had safely secured passage through to Q2 in 14th and 15th, respectively. That left Nico Hulkenberg as the first driver out in the second Haas along with Pierre Gasly in 17th and Ricciardo demoted to 18th. Zhou Guanyu was the last driver knocked out in 19th after damaging his front wing damage by running wide at turn 10.

The stewards announced Perez would be investigated after the session for potentially impeding Hulkenberg at the penultimate corner earlier in the session during the Haas driver’s first flying lap.

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Q1 result

155Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-241’16.731
211Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB201’16.8050.074
31Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB201’16.8190.088
416Charles LeclercFerrariSF-241’16.9840.253
514Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR241’16.9910.260
663George RussellMercedesW151’17.0620.331
723Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW461’17.1300.399
822Yuki TsunodaRB-Honda RBPT011’17.3560.625
981Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL381’17.3690.638
1018Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR241’17.3760.645
114Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL381’17.4300.699
1244Lewis HamiltonMercedesW151’17.4990.768
1377Valtteri BottasSauber-FerrariC441’17.5430.812
1431Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5241’17.6170.886
1520Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-241’17.7090.978
1627Nico HulkenbergHaas-FerrariVF-241’17.9761.245
1710Pierre GaslyAlpine-RenaultA5241’17.9821.251
183Daniel RicciardoRB-Honda RBPT011’18.0851.354
1924Zhou GuanyuSauber-FerrariC441’18.1881.457

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Despite the impressive single-lap performance of the medium tyre compound in the earlier practice session, the entire field stuck with the softs for the second segment of qualifying. Ferrari sent out Leclerc and Sainz on five-lap-old tyres, while Red Bull opted for fresh rubber.

Verstappen used his new softs to set the best fastest time after the early runs, two tenths of a second quicker than Oscar Piastri on new softs and just under three ahead of Sainz on old tyres.

Ferrari returned to the pits to try new softs, which proved how fast they were. Sainz jumped to the top of the times with a 1’16.189, just under two tenths ahead of Verstappen, with Leclerc slotting into third. Leclerc returned to the pits for a front wing adjustment before heading back out on the same set of tyres.

In the final two minutes, the drop zone consisted of Albon, Yuki Tsunoda, Magnussen, Valtteri Bottas and Ocon slowest. Albon returned to the pit lane and did not attempt a final run at the chequered flag, leaving him out. Tsunoda improved to go into the top team, which put Lance Stroll in peril of elimination in 11th. However, the Aston Martin improved at the chequered flag to go safe, meaning Lewis Hamilton became the first driver eliminated from Q2.

Albon was knocked out in 12th, with Bottas joining him in 12th. Magnussen was also eliminated in 14th, with Ocon the slowest of the five drivers to be lost from the session and will be starting from 15th.

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Q2 result

155Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-241’16.189
216Charles LeclercFerrariSF-241’16.3040.115
31Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB201’16.3870.198
481Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL381’16.6010.412
511Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB201’16.6310.442
614Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR241’16.7100.521
74Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL381’16.7500.561
818Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR241’16.7800.591
922Yuki TsunodaRB-Honda RBPT011’16.7910.602
1063George RussellMercedesW151’16.9010.712
1144Lewis HamiltonMercedesW151’16.9600.771
1223Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW461’17.1670.978
1377Valtteri BottasSauber-FerrariC441’17.3401.151
1420Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-241’17.4271.238
1531Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA5241’17.6971.508

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With Ferrari going quickest in the previous four timed sessions heading into the vital final phase of qualifying, it seemed that Red Bull could be beaten to pole position for the first time in 2024.

Fresh tyres were fitted to both Ferraris and both Red Bulls for their first attempts with the two Ferraris completing their runs before the world champions. Sainz set the benchmark with a 1’16.331, slower than his Q2 effort, but quicker than team mate Leclerc by a tenth of a second.

Verstappen was the next across the line and he set the provisional pole time of a 1’16.048, a quarter of a second to the good over Sainz. Perez was unable to match his team mate or the Ferraris with his first attempt, going fourth ahead of the two McLarens of Lando Norris and Piastri.

Fernando Alonso abandoned his first run after a high-speed off over the gravel at turn six, forcing him into the pit lane so his Aston Martin team could check his car’s floor. Stroll took advantage of the quiet track to set his sole lap of the session, but a mistake in the high-speed chicane cost him time.

For the final runs, Red Bull were the first of the pole contenders to begin head out on track. Verstappen improved on his own provisional pole time by a tenth to post a 1’15.915, while Perez improved to go into third. Sainz could not match Verstappen and posted a time just 0.004s quicker than his best in Q2 to go into second.

Leclerc improved over the first two sectors but not by enough to match Verstappen. But a mistake at turn 12 saw him abandon the lap and his hopes of taking pole position. That ensured a hat trick of poles for Verstappen at the start of the season.

Sainz will start alongside him on the front row, with Perez securing third but under threat of a possible penalty after the session. Norris took fourth, moving ahead of Leclerc with his final lap. Piastri will start no worse than sixth ahead of Russell in the Mercedes, while Yuki Tsunoda taking eighth ahead of the two Aston Martins of Stroll and Alonso.

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Q3 result

11Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB201’15.915
255Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariSF-241’16.1850.270
311Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPTRB201’16.2740.359
44Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL381’16.3150.400
516Charles LeclercFerrariSF-241’16.4350.520
681Oscar PiastriMcLaren-MercedesMCL381’16.5720.657
763George RussellMercedesW151’16.7240.809
822Yuki TsunodaRB-Honda RBPT011’16.7880.873
918Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR241’17.0721.157
1014Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-MercedesAMR241’17.5521.637

2024 Australian Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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66 comments on “Verstappen repels Ferrari threat to continue run of pole positions”

  1. Once again Max showed why he’s the GOAT and why top teams should pay him everything to get him in their cars. Leclerc, Hamilton and both Astons massively underperformed. Their excuses can’t be taken seriously when Max also struggles with set-up, but spends hours on perfecting it and days on bettering himself in various simulators.

    I said it so many times but Max will be beaten only when he’s bored with F1 OR there’s technology to augment humans with a help of AI. He’s simply unbeatable and the sooner people accept that and acknowledge we are indeed seeing the Greatest of All Time in action, the better for everyone.

    1. Humans usually make mistakes. Humans make more mistakes when under pressure. Max doesn’t make mistakes.

      So, either he is the GOAT or just very good without any pressure. We don’t really know. We will know more when he goes against a world-class teammate :).

    2. The guy can’t even overtake someone without contact and you’re acting like he’s superhuman.

      1. When did Verstappen last have contact with another driver?

        1. The first one that popped into my head was when he brake tested Lewis in the hope of a crash thus becoming WDC as he climbed out of the wreckage ;-) or Monza when he parked he’s car on Lewis’s head. Since then he hasnt really had to do any overtaking, just driving around at 90% probably thinking about what he was gonna have for dinner that night :)

          1. Selective memory.

          2. I suppose so, but I cant really think of any rememberable overtakes since DRS has been around, like Hakkinen and Schumacher going either side of a back marker at Spa and the laps leading up to it, or Coulthard and Schumacher at Magny-Cours and with Coulthard flipping the bird during it, I could go on but you get the point.
            These days its just follow till the DRS and do a Motorway overtake, but Liberty love it cos “Look everybody how bigly we’ve increased overtaking”

    3. Max did very poorly. His RedBull is 0.5s quicker than the Ferrari, yet he was only able to beat Sainz by 0.27s.

      Drivers reaping the benefits of driving much better cars than their opposition always are thought to be “GOAT”s by children with little to no crytical thinking abilities. We’ve seen that with Hamilton just recently and previously with Schumacher.

      F1 is not a driving championship, it does not verify who is the better driver. Not at all, not even close.

      1. To me verstappen’s most impressive season was 2021, where he outperformed hamilton despite a slightly worse car and much worse luck (masi mistake included).

    4. notagrumpyfan
      23rd March 2024, 12:10

      Once again Max showed why he’s the GOAT

      He only won another quali in one of the fastest cars.
      Why this extreme admiration after every single (admittedly strong) session?

      1. Same reason why people used to bang on about Lewis being the GOAT when he won in the fastest car… If you’re a very good driver in the fastest car, you’ll dominate and your fans will claim you’re the best driver ever. Others will say you’re winning only because of the car. The truth is somewhere between the two.

    5. Comment of the day!

  2. Only exciting part of F1 these days ended exceptionally disappointingly.

    1. So glad I came here today and got spoiled the result, why even watch and set yourself up for disappointment (ferrari saying they looked quick)? Not surprised to see verstappen on pole again.

      1. Excellent. So no comments from you after the race tomorrow? You know how it will end, so why watch?

        I am probably in the “FIA/FOM ultimate fan” categorie, because I do look forward to the best driver in the best car running away from the field, showing his greatness, some real action behind him for the other two podium positions between two Ferraris, two McLarens and the other RedBull, and a good fight over the last one or two points, who will out race Lance or Lewis, Yuki or Alex?
        The worldfeed will probably show Max only at the start, tire changes and finish, so a little dissatisfied with that, but there will be many replays of his fastest lap, and enjoy his perfection in racecraft.

        It as always, your mileage may vary, based on what you are looking for in a race. Probable enough negative things to find to blame the organizers, not motivated drivers who don’t belong in F1, etc. So im afraid we will read you again on Sunday, right?

  3. I’m simply baffled about Ricciardo’s struggle to get his act together.
    Embarrassing for such an experienced driver & at the current rate, I’d be unsurprised if he got given 3-5 more GPs to improve before getting replaced by Lawson.
    Mercedes & particularly Hamilton’s struggles this weekend are less surprising but still somewhat weird.
    A good comeback by Sainz.

    1. A slow driver driving slowly. There’s nothing that could be more predictable.

    2. @jerejj I’m not sure why you’re baffled by Ricciardo’s lack of speed. He’s been overrated for most of his career, mostly because he managed to beat Vettel in 2014 when Vettel was struggling adapting to the turbo hybrid era cars.
      He’s achieved nothing consistently since he left Red Bull, and that’s several seasons ago now.
      He was getting lapped by Norris during 2022 at McLaren

      1. Well, he’s not performing at the level we were used to when he was at red bull, and if you take the 2021 monza race, why was he so good that race and then so bad? Looks like he has adaptation issues ever since he joined mclaren.

        1. @esploratore1 Can you tell me what he achieved at Renault? He was pretty anonymous there as well.

          1. He beat Max on points, quali and was tied on wins (would have won without the Monaco tire debacle).

            He crushed Vettel in the man’s own team.

            He crushed Hulkenberg and Ocon at Renault.

            He has more wins than Sainz and Leclerc combined.

            More wins than Perez, Sainz and Norris combined ; )though actually did deliver the one time both Lando and he had chance to win a race.

            How was he one of F1’s most overrated driver’s before he fell apart again? Sounds more like you just dislike him, which I get. But don’t go rewriting history.

    3. I think it is clear by now we all overestimated Ricciardo. Has also the do with the distorted view of the level of Vettel who imho is one of the luckiest drivers ever to have been enabled to rack up 4 in a row simply because the car was unbeatable. Terrible in traffic, a hero on an empty track and a one lap wonder.

      1. Yeah, the car was so dominant that it took only last race in 2010 and 2012 to determine WDC. Vettel was exceptionally good in making the most of cars with blown diffuser. I believe that Mark Hughes, who is one of the best F1 journalists, wrote about it.
        It’s true though that who couldn’t replicate his success in hybrid era. Mainly because of the car, but even in 2018 without Vettel errors, I think that Hamilton would be a champion. The car, the driver, the team was simply to good to be beaten by Ferrari.

        1. Wow, while I like Hughes, that’s an extremely backward view of how to look at Vettel’s car advantage, which was large.

          He’s was lucky to have had by far the best car on the grid for four straight seasons and one which suited his driving style. And that makes his the narrowness of his wins even sadder because his car could be on pole every single race while Alonso, for example, had a car that half the time should not or could not out qualify 2-3 other cars on the grid, which means Vettel always had competitors who could take points off Alonso, especially when you consider the amount of bad luck and crap that happened to Alonso in two of those seasons. A of which alone under the current rules would have reversed the outcome of the championship.

      2. Did we overrate Max too? Cause Daniel beat him too. Vettel was very good, but not on the level of a Max or Alonso.

        1. Roy Beedrill
          31st March 2024, 5:45

          You overrate every one if them, because Danny was beaten by Kvyat. ;-)

  4. He is in the best car, but this was a very special lap from Max, and worthy of breaking the 250kph average record.

    Sainz is becoming a more and more interesting driver. Two years ago I had a very different opinion of him. He’s not just consistent, he’s intelligent, fast and is clearly still improving. Was there more in the Ferrari? Maybe. Charles might be the fastest man over one lap but he’s becoming more and more swamped by consistent drivers like Max… and Carlos. Does he let this get to him? It’s unfair to speculate on this. I like him and Lando. Perhaps they both need to be less critical of themselves? They are honest, but there’s no need for them to discuss their performances in such detail.

    Perez… decent job. Looks like there’s only one candidate for the Perez seat next year unless Red Bull look beyond their current pool of drivers. Perez mentioned he didn’t get turn one right on his best lap. It’s a tricky track. Even if he ended up behind both Ferraris and a special lap from Lando, that would be good enough.

    Disappointed in Alonso. 6th or 7th should have been possible. Maybe he’s keeping his level reasonably high, but the level of consistency drivers expect of themselves these days is incredible. Charles and Lando don’t pull any punches when they don’t hook a lap up every time. Even great drivers of the past made unforced, race-ending errors and shrugged it off to a much greater extent than today. Max is on another level. I thought there was a glimmer of human frailty from him when he ran wide in practice. Then, he goes and squeezes another two or three tenths from the car that few others would find. I don’t think this can last forever, as confidence can be difficult to recover if it is ever lost, and the passing of time dulls the reflexes. Good to appreciate a pretty special time. I don’t think I fully did this during the Schumacher years.

    Lewis… critical, but seemed more relaxed about it. I think he’s gradually losing his qualifying edge, but, in spite of his troubles in practice and the first part of qualifying, there wasn’t a huge difference between his time and George’s. One of them was going to be knocked out by Yuki and it just ended up being Lewis. All things considered, this was a pretty good performance. Both George and himself seem to be getting the most out of the car. It should be faster in the race and Lewis usually paces himself quite well there.

    Ricciardo… you could see he was well out of bounds at the beginning of the lap without the replay. Unfortunately, he may continue to work on his golf swing. Confidence is hard to get back. Might be good to talk less about it? Does this just add to the pressure?

    1. Question for you….do you think Max would have put the Ferrari on pole today? If perhaps Leclerc was in the Red Bull would the talent of Max still put the Ferrari on pole?

      1. Max is definitely better than Leclerc and Sainz.

        But Max wouldn’t be on pole in Ferrari if Leclerc/Sainz were driving Red Bull. This car is a rocket. Mediocre driver like Perez puts it in TOP3 so any world-class driver is going to be P1 in it.

        1. The inherent bias and absolute lack of nuance some of you consistently exhibit is astounding.

          “Mediocre driver” — Drivers don’t perform at the same level every weekend. Over a season mediocre means nought in a specific weekend.

          “Car is a rocket” — For anyone with a semi-decent knowledge of the sport, especially going into this weekend, all data indicates that Ferrari “bottled” a pole position. In fact, Sainz bottles pole beautifully through turns 9 and 10.

          Maybe it’s time some of you simply accept that a specific driver is just better and can deliver unlike 19 others, most of whom are duds in comparison.

          The only plausible takeaway from seeing how consistent Max has been for over half a decade is that Max is simply that good. Deal with it.

          It is one thing to say season is boring and terrible to watch, which I fully agree with. It is an entirely different thing to diminish consistently good performances while exhibiting an absolute lack of understanding of the sport.

          1. Drivers don’t perform at the same level every weekend.

            I have seen one that actually does, which is a huge part of his success.

            It is one thing to say season is boring and terrible to watch, which I fully agree with. It is an entirely different thing to diminish consistently good performances while exhibiting an absolute lack of understanding of the sport.

            I agree about the lack of acknowledgment, it is truly special what is being displayed and luckily almost all, if not all, former drivers do acknowledge and express it. I do not totally agree on the season being boring. One guy may stand out but there is lots to see behind him if you are a fan of the game. There is more to F1 than who is winning.

          2. Well, I think Max is better than Leclerc/Sainz but also RB is far better than Ferrari. You need to overdrive a car if it’s worse than opponents, therefore you make more mistakes.

            It’s not that hard to understand. Max stopped making any mistakes once he got a rocket.

          3. World class drivers like Alonso and Hamilton deliver 99% of the time. It’s what makes the likes of them and Max so hard to beat over a season. So, yes, Sergio is a mediocre driver. He’s a high-end journeyman level driver in easy to drive cars. Certainly no better than your Ocons of the world.

        2. @micio

          This car is a rocket.

          The biggest strength of the car is how kind it is on the tires, which can actually be a detriment in quali. So I think that Ferrari could beat even Max if Sainz or Leclerc would drive almost perfectly and their car is setup right for the track.

      2. The Ferrari car is a very good car and on par with the Redbull car at the moment. Max would put it on pole.

      3. I don’t know. I was up early for the qualifying before going back to get some sleep. I was expecting the Ferrari to be faster and was going on the assumption that that was the case.

        Max was .359s ahead of Perez, which is more than the three tenths I thought he had over an average driver. Perez thought he lost a tenth at turn one and then that snowballed a little. One of the differences between Max and others isn’t just technical skill, it’s consistency and the ability to put his best sectors together for the final qualifying lap. I don’t think it can be expected that anyone can do this all the time, and most of the drivers on the grid are good at this. It would be nice to illustrate this with a photo finish of where the full grid is with their qualifying laps.

        He was .270 ahead of Sainz, who certainly had something in reserve, but I think, being the wily driver he is showing himself to be, he took it relatively easy in practice and gave his maximum for qualifying. Perhaps Leclerc would be quicker if he had his setup right? His driving style seems more on the edge in qualifying, and things like this will happen now and then. Preparation is an important skill to have as a driver. They all had three practice sessions and there was still a difference between how happy Leclerc and Sainz were with their cars. It’s less important now since there’s a whole team helping the drivers with everything, but the likes of Lauda, Piquet and Prost helped themselves on track with their preparation, and this won them world championships. The same goes with George and Lewis. Lewis’ lap looked absolutely on the edge and it was his remarkable skill that delivered it. Had he a better setup, perhaps he would have been able to pip George? Did George prepare better? It would be nice to know how both have prepared and who is on their teams.

        Another reason I was impressed with Max’s lap was from the onboard. It looked very clean and he carried a lot of speed with him around the lap. I’ve put in a lot of sim laps and find this track trickier than the other two so far. It’s also worth watching as many onboards as you can. Max’s lap broke the 250kph average around the track for the first time. This required nerve, skill and the ability to learn at the edge of disaster. As I said, he’s in the fastest car, but this is a clear example of him impressing in it, nonetheless.

        It might be the case that the Ferrari was theoretically faster over one lap here, or it might not be. If the Red Bull is faster, the margins are small, and this is still an impressive performance.

        I had suggested that Max squeezed an extra two to three tenths out of the car that few others would find. There are a few others who I think would be closer on their day, though. Leclerc, George, Lewis and Lando are also capable of putting in remarkable qualifying laps. Perhaps Leclerc does this with more consistency than most, in spite of his self-criticism.

        What do you think? I’ve written a lot, and the more you write, the more likely you are to make an error. You have not contributed much…

        1. I thought it was an interesting question to raise in response to your balanced analysis of qualifying.
          The Ferrari has looked very compatible here over one lap so far.
          Max’s lap today was top draw.
          Sainz, quite incredibly, has managed to go from a hospital bed to 2nd on the grid in under 2 weeks.
          Leclerc, who can often pull something special out of the bag over one lap, was pants in Q3.
          Therefore my thought was that perhaps there was still a little lap time left in the Ferrari and based on his position as the best driver on the grid at the moment that Max might be enough to make the difference.
          All hypothetical of course but also a good topic of discussion.

          1. Thanks. I don’t think Max should be getting all the poles this year unless he continues to deliver such a high level of performance and Leclerc has issues. My guess is that given infinite time Leclerc should edge Max in qualifying in similar equipment. That’s his particular talent. Max is close to, or the best in too many categories at the moment, which means it would be better for the neutral viewer if he was in slightly disadvantaged machinery. Hopefully Leclerc will get on top of things or Sainz will do it instead! Even though Max has shown patience to survive the start and go from there in many races, there were a couple last year where he insisted on getting past Leclerc at the first corner and this made no sense, particularly in Las Vegas with the short run to that corner on a cold track. The plan to pit for the fastest lap point earlier last year was also something a driver like Lauda, Prost or even Piquet would never countenance. Perhaps if Max can be swamped at the start in more races this year, he may eventually make a race-scuppering mistake. In this car it makes sense to take the first laps as Prost would. It doesn’t matter if you lose four places so long as you avoid damage! The only times he could “lose” doing this might be if Perez gets ahead in Monaco or Singapore.

            If we’re to get dominance from Max all year I may just watch his onboard for large parts of the races. It’s hard to follow the lines any of these drivers take carrying the speed they do. There’s something to be learned from watching onboards if you are a useless sim driver like me. I could do my best, watch Sargeant and knock a few seconds off my time. I haven’t been watching Sargeant deliberately, but I wonder who it was from Williams who did the demo lap of the Madrid circuit in Assetto Corsa. I can’t do what they did at that speed. Everything has to be slower. I get the most fun from eventually giving up on the hybrid car and taking the F2004, 1986 turbo (on max boost) and 1979 car around the track. The last of those is the most fun for me to drive. The F2004 has TC, but it can be pretty violent. When you get things right, it feels good throwing it over the kerbs. Fangio’s Maserati 250F also makes for a worthwhile drive, although that’s much harder to drive and requires a lot of patience. It’s more fun around the Nordschleife. Taking a modern F1 car around the old Spa circuit is fun, too. Not very demanding to drive as you can do a lot of it flat out, but if you made a mistake in real life you’d be dead.

  5. So the gap from 1st to 10th in Q3 is bigger than from 1st to 20th in Q1.

    And people still use the meaningless Q1 figures to “prove” that the regulations are working as intended. Nice!

    Anyway, impressive consistency from Verstappen. The rest really needs to up their game, big time.

    1. notagrumpyfan
      23rd March 2024, 12:16

      When a mid field car like Toro Rosso is within a second of pole (and just over half a second off Perez) then I do support the view that the regulations are working.

  6. For those wondering how long Ricciardo has left let’s look at a comparison between de Vries last season and Ricciardo this season.
    de Vries was 0.7 behind Tsunoda in qualy/Ricciardo 0.1 behind
    de Vries was 0.3 behind/Riccardo 0.5 behind
    de Vries was 0.3 behind/ Ricciardo 0.1 behind with illegal lap that was deleted, 0.7 behind on his legal lap.

    1. I think you need more data than just three race weekends, if you’re looking for trends then take all the qualy results from the back end of last year maybe.

    2. De Vries was also disastrous during the races and the force behind some clumsy manoeuvres.

    3. I Think it is also a part of the play between Horner and Marko. Marko was pro De Vries, Horner didn’t want him. Horner wanted Ricciardo back, thus Marko will push to remove him if he doesn’t improve dramatically.

      1. Makes sense, I didn’t see horner complain about ricciardo, but I saw marko doing that.

        1. Didn’t Marko put pressure on de Vries in at least one interview? Marko says what he thinks a lot. It might have been a bit unnecessary, but it wasn’t as bad as Mick Schumacher’s public crucifixion.

  7. Another day, another wasted opportunity by Ferrari drivers. Hamilton looks like a shadow of himself. Russell seems to have it together.

    Twice in three races Ferrari have had the car for a pole, and yet it is Verstappen who gets it done. At some level, this Leclerc best qualifier narrative needs to die. He just hopes it sticks in many cases and anyways ends up binning it otherwise.

    Perez seems much more comfortable with this car. RB20 might be the true masterpiece of these regulations.

    1. +1 Ferrari must be kicking themselves getting rid of Sainz. He’s now performing better than Leclerc and Hamilton! They’ve lost their best driver for someone who’s now struggling to get into Q3 at the last few events and who’s now been beaten by his team mate quite considerably for the last 7 in a row. Ouch.

      1. This is perhaps too kind to Sainz, but out of the current crop of drivers he is showing himself to be the one with the capacity to learn rather than do the same thing every race and have the same excuses. Lauda could do this, somehow beating the younger and perhaps more technically gifted Prost and teaching him something he never forgot. I think Charles has more raw talent than Sainz, but he needs to hold it together, and perhaps improve his preparation. Definitely an over-enthusiastic compliment to pay Sainz, and perhaps an unwelcome and premature one. He has surprised me and I like to be surprised.

        I would speculate that Lewis’ combination of good qualifying and excellent race pace, along with his consistency when it matters, would have him ahead of the other two. A good move by Ferrari? We’ll see next year!

      2. notagrumpyfan
        23rd March 2024, 12:23

        Ferrari must be kicking themselves getting rid of Sainz

        Based on the short season so far Sainz seems a better option for the second RBR seat than Ricciardo, Tsunoda, (Albon), and a product of their academy.
        I don’t think sticking with (0.4s slower) Perez is enough to keep winning the WCC.

  8. Today shows again what a special driver Verstappen is.

    1. What a special car the RedBull is.

      1. Yep, and it obviously takes a special driver to let it perform.

        1. it obviously takes a special driver to let it perform

          True, there’s probably only about six or so on the grid that could do the same.

          1. There is only one, and that is Max. Max in the Ferrari would have gotten the pole, doesn’t mater who would be in the RedBull. I know, hard to accept, and you will keep saying it comment after comment, but you are wrong. Max is the best driver, driving in one of the best cars, making it look like it is the best car. But it is the driver who gets it out of that car. Only Max.

    2. Poor qaulifier Perez only 3.5 tenths behind in P3 so not really special.

    3. Or a poor one. His RedBull is 0.5s quicker than the Ferrari, yet he was only able to beat Sainz by 0.27s.

  9. I saw Hamilton walking away after being eliminated in Q2. Looked like a weary old, beaten man. Like being punished for something he didn’t do.

    1. When HAM is slow Ferrari will end the championship ahead of Mercedes.

      1. Let’s see what happens in the race. Lewis has done reasonably well there so far. Needs to qualify further up. I think that’s more setup and the car than his driving. It will be hard to catch George now, let alone the Ferraris.

        I think there’s a potential problem at the start. George, Yuki, Lance and Hamilton are rather close together. Considering Alonso is behind his team mate and in front of Lewis, that might make him a liability, too. What happens when five drivers who take no prisoners get into a sandwich?!? If I was the smarter one of the five, I’d plan to survive the start…

  10. Two takeaways:
    1- Ham to Ferrari is 4 to 5 years too late. It is going to be an embarrassment for all concerned.

    2- Lec is a bottler when the heat is on, many of us have said so. Ferrari are lucky to have Sainz: he will deliver p3 on the podium, says my crystal ball!

  11. Not that hamilton had an impressive qualifying, but you can see with russell that the current merc level barely allows to get into q3, and someone (ben) said hamilton wouldn’t make it out of q1; reading too much into practice times?

    1. reading too much into practice times?

      Reading too much into FP2 times, probably.
      Interesting that, even after a nightmare experiment on his car for FP2, in Q2 Hamilton was within 6/100ths of Russell who had the quiet life of a smooth series of FP sessions.

  12. With Sargeant not participating, only four drivers were to be eliminated from the first phase.

    I’m still having a hard time understanding this. Sargeant was withdrawn from the event, leaving only 19 drivers participating. The FIA sporting regulations clearly state in 39.2:

    For the first eighteen (18) minutes of the session (Q1) all cars will be permitted on the track and at the end of this period the slowest five (5) cars will be prohibited from taking any further part in the session.

    Why were only four cars eliminated in Q1?

    1. Because maybe that is the common sense way to read the regulation?

      1. Please explain your thought process, then. Logan Sargeant was withdrawn from competition before Saturday. He therefor could not set a Q1 time among the slowest 5 qualifiers. He could not even set a “No time” and be among the slowest 5 qualifiers. He was no longer a participant in the event. His car was no longer one of the “all cars” which would have been permitted on track.

        So how is it ‘common sense’ that he would be counted as one of the slowest 5 cars in Q1?

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