Winners and losers from the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix qualifying

Sam Cooper
Lance Stroll

Lance Stroll had another quali performance to forget.

Max Verstappen took yet another pole while there was disappointment for Sergio Perez, Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll.

With one driver shoving his own trainer out of the way, it was quite a dramatic start to qualifying as Stroll exited in Q1.

More drama then came later on especially in regards to track limits with both McLaren drivers seeing their high positions slip away after they overstepped the mark.


Max Verstappen

Even a rare mistake from Max Verstappen was not enough to stop him getting pole. The Dutchman’s quickest lap came early on in Q3, setting a time of 1.23.778.

In his final lap, he ran over the white lines and as he was first out on the track, he was already in the pit lane when the other drivers were crossing the finishing line. In the end, he walked to the P1 spot, his car pushed there shortly after, as his pole position was confirmed.

A 10th pole of the year for Verstappen and one in which he will almost certainly start from as a three-time World Champion.

George Russell

Bumped up due to Lando Norris’ track limits deleted lap but that should not take away from a good quali performance from the Mercedes man. While plenty of drivers struggled to keep it within the lines, Russell made sure he did not fall foul of that particular rule that caught a fair few drivers out in the session.

The last time he started P2 he retired, so Russell will be hoping for a better showing on Sunday.

Valtteri Bottas

Another round of Valtteri Bottas and Alfa Romeo surprisingly doing very well. Considering he had not made Q3 in the last five races, he beat that streak in Qatar and will start P9 in Sunday’s race.

It was less good news for his Alfa team-mate Zhou Guanyu who will start at the back of the grid.

Nico Hulkenberg

If you were to bet on which one of the Haas drivers would outqualify their team-mate going into the 2023 season, chances are you would have gone with the driver who had already been racing for the past year, not the one who had been on the sidelines since 2019 and yet Nico Hulkenberg has consistently outperformed Kevin Magnussen.

With his performance in Qatar, he has confirmed his victory over Magnussen in terms of the quali head-to-head this season and has shown a real ability to find one-lap pace in the VF-23.


Lance Stroll

No doubt in all of our lives we will have at some point disappointed our dads but at least we can be sure we haven’t cost them millions of dollars in prize money. For the first time, Lance Stroll’s career seems to be under threat with rumours that Lawrence Stroll may sell his Aston Martin ownership but regardless of whether that is true or not, a Q1 exit will have done Lance no favours.

Another disappointing showing which in comparison to team-mate Fernando Alonso just looks even worse. Of Stroll’s four Q1 exits so far this season, he has recovered to a points finish just once but that came at a time when the AMR23 was still one of the best cars on the grid.

Now, with it being down compared to the likes of McLaren, Ferrari and Mercedes, a points finish in Qatar seems unlikely for the Canadian.

Any good grace he has with the team will also have taken a dent when he angrily shoved a team-mate in the garage after exiting the car.

Sergio Perez

Going into the weekend, Sergio Perez stated he wanted to show a “World Champion” quality but another Q3 no-show was not the way to go about that.

Having had his lap deleted after going wide in Turn 5, Perez dropped down to 13th meaning for the second time in the last three races, the Mexican will be in the back half of the grid as the lights go out.

Should Verstappen not win the title in the sprint, he almost certainly will in the race now. recommends

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Carlos Sainz

While Perez’s exit came as a result of an overstep, Sainz will be more disappointed with his as it was purely down to performance. Having failed to break into the top 10 on his flying lap, the Spaniard was left with too little time to get back to the line before the chequered flag and he was consigned to an early exit.

It will be a disappointing moment for Sainz, especially considering the good form he had been in of late.

Race control

It is not a great look when one driver arrives in the P2 slot only to be kicked out but it looks even worse when a driver has finished his top three interview only to be told he is actually P6.

The stewards were a little slow on the draw when it came to deleting lap times, leading to a rather disrupted end to the quali session.

Read next: Max Verstappen storms to pole as Lando Norris stripped of front row