The latest set of F1 2023 results threw up several surprises in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.
Q1 saw Sergio Perez carry on his woes from FP3 and slide off into the gravel after locking up at Turn 3, coming onto team radio and saying: “We need to sort that issue man, it was the same ****ing issue again.”
This will mean the Red Bull driver is set to start the race right at the back come Sunday, while home debutant Oscar Piastri also narrowly missed out on a place in Q2.
With rain thought to be on the way in the final stages of Q3, the drivers looked to get laps in as quickly as possible in the last part of qualifying – and after the first runs, only 0.086s separated the top four drivers, with Verstappen heading a crowded chasing pack despite nursing downshift issues on his Red Bull, before reporting downshifts were a problem for him.
But a storming final effort saw the two-time World Champion take half a second off his previous best, sealing a comfortable pole position, with Mercedes taking second and third on the grid.
It has set up what looks to be a tantalising race come Sunday, with a mixed-up grid and a fast but frail Red Bull looking to charge its way through the pack around Albert Park.
F1 2023 results: Australian Grand Prix qualifying
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:16.732
2 George Russell Mercedes + 0.236
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes + 0.372
4 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin + 0.407
5 Carlos Sainz Ferrari + 0.538
6 Lance Stroll Aston Martin + 0.576
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari + 0.637
8 Alex Albon Williams + 0.877
9 Pierre Gasly Alpine + 0.943
10 Nico Hulkenberg Haas + 1.003
11 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:17.768
12 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri +0.331
13 Lando Norris McLaren +0.351
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 Team +0.361
15 Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri +0.567
16 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:18.157
17 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo +0.023
18 Logan Sargeant Williams +0.040
19 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo +0.197
20 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing NO TIME SET