Winners and losers from the 2024 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix qualifying

Sam Cooper
Yuki Tsunoda and Fernando Alonso

Yuki Tsunoda and Fernando Alonso had differing fortunes at Imola.

Max Verstappen overcame a misfiring RB20 to take pole ahead of the two McLarens at Imola.

30 years on from Ayrton Senna’s death at this venue, Verstappen paid tribute in his own way by equalling the Brazilian’s record for the most consecutive poles but it was by no means the easiest of the Dutchman’s career.

Winners and losers from 2024 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix qualifying

Winners

Max Verstappen

Come at the king, you best not miss.

Heading into qualifying, it would have taken a brave person to bet against Max Verstappen but if you were ever going to, this seemed the occasion.

Verstappen and Red Bull’s weekend has been fraught with frustration as they experienced Mercedes-esque levels of difficulties in terms of finding the right setup and even after FP3, it did not appear they had solved it.

In stepped Verstappen.

This was perhaps one of the best examples of driver vs machine as the true pace of the RB20 at Imola may well be much lower, as demonstrated by Sergio Perez’s session, but the skill and talent of Verstappen meant he was able to elevate it to a level no one else could get rid of.

With Imola being one of the harder tracks to overtake at, it will take a big effort for the Dutchman to not win his 59th race on Sunday.

McLaren

Continuing on from their Miami form, McLaren have looked the most hooked up team all weekend and even though some Verstappen brilliance stopped them from getting pole, the next two spots on the grid will be filled with papaya.

Oscar Piastri looked particularly quick on the Saturday and duly showed that with his first P2 start since Japan last year while Lando Norris was 0.017 seconds behind his team-mate, though Piastri will now drop to P5 after his grid penalty for impeding Kevin Magnussen.

Verstappen may be on pole but with a certified quick car, a win for McLaren is not out of the question.

Yuki Tsunoda

Yuki Tsunoda continues to have a rather brilliant season and has been at his best this weekend.

The RB was shown to have pace by both Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo but when it came down to it, it was the Japanese driver who was able to maximise the most of it.

The 24-year-old, who lives just down the road from the circuit, will start ahead of Lewis Hamilton tomorrow and could have even reeled in George Russell had he nailed his final lap.

It was a good afternoon for Ricciardo too who crept into Q3 for the first time this season.

Alpine

Alpine’s recovery continued with both drivers making it into Q2 for the second time in as many races.

The upgrades brought over the last few grands prix have clearly dragged them from the bottom of the order but there is still work to do if they want to rise further.

Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg’s continued strong Saturday performances almost meant he missed out on this list given how consistent he is but his lap in Q2 particularly is well worthy of mention.

The 1:15.569 was the sixth quickest of the session and even if he could not match it in Q3, a P10 spot is something he can work with on Sunday.

How to keep up with all the action from Imola this weekend

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Losers

Fernando Alonso

A nightmare day for Fernando Alonso and one that has been more familiar with the other side of the garage since the Spaniard moved to Silverstone.

Despite a relatively incident-free Friday, Alonso had some issues in FP3 which culminated in him spinning out and taking a heavy whack on his gearbox.

The Aston Martin crew’s attempt to get the car put back into one piece was successful but they almost need not have with Alonso finishing 19th in the session.

A rare off day for the two-time World Champion and one he was not optimistic about overturning.

Sergio Perez

Given their troubles this weekend, failing to make Q3 in the Red Bull may not have been the disaster for Sergio Perez that it has been in the past but the performance of Verstappen has shone a spotlight on the Mexican’s failure.

Billed as only second to Monaco in terms of track position importance Perez may well be stronger in the race usually but he has left himself with an almighty hill to climb, especially with quick cars ahead of him.

A points finish is still expected but any higher than that and it will have been a good day at the office for the 34-year-old.

Logan Sargeant

The walls really do seem to be closing in on Logan Sargeant.

On a weekend when his boss most publicly suggested the driver was healing for the door, and a few hours after Valtteri Bottas was spotted leaving the Williams motorhome, Sargeant could really have done with a strong showing today.

Instead, he saw his time deleted and relegated him down to the bottom of the standings.

If Alonso is concerned about the difficulty to overtake, that does not inspire confidence for Sargeant and we may well be seeing the last few races of the American’s F1 career.

Read next: Emilia Romagna GP: Max Verstappen shrugs off practice woes to grab pole position at Imola