Leclerc hits hard in Melbourne qualifying, Verstappen and Red Bull left behind

The Monegasque signed an authoritative pole position in Australia to quite clearly beat the Dutch world champion.

Charles Leclerc will start at the head of the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday in Melbourne (start of the race at 7 a.m., to follow live with commentary on our site). The Monegasque from Ferrari took an authoritative pole position and made an impression on the Albert Park track on Saturday ahead of the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz, relegated to 0”286 and 0”372 respectively .

Followed by Lando Norris on McLaren (4th, +0 »835) then Lewis Hamilton (5th, +0 »957) and George Russell (6th, +1 »065) in 4and line driving their Mercedes. In front of his home crowd, Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) will start in 7and position (+1 »164) ahead of Esteban Ocon (Alpine, +1 »193) and a Carlos Sainz well behind his Ferrari teammate (+1 »540).

Note the exit from the track in Q3 by Fernando Alonso who had to settle for 10and square. Victim of a hydraulic problem, the Spaniard was very fast before his accident and could aim for a place on the front or second row. Frustrating. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri, 11th), he failed in Q2. Like Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo, 12and) who remained out of 103 career Q3 qualifications.

Leclerc “surprised” by his pace

« The car is really fun to drive, I’m quite surprised by our pace in qualifying, » savored Leclerc at the microphone of Canal + after his 11and career pole position, his 2and of the season after the one in Bahrain. I’m happy to start in front because it’s a circuit that we haven’t been to for a while (2019) and where I’ve never felt very comfortable in the past. I look forward to tomorrow.” You have to go back to 2007 to see a Ferrari start on pole in Melbourne (Kimi Raïkkönen).

On the Red Bull side, we limited the breakage. « I haven’t felt well in this car since the start of the weekend, admitted a somewhat frustrated Max Verstappen. 2andit’s already not bad but I can’t reach the limits of the car.

Starting grid for the Australian Grand Prix:
1st line
Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari)
Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull-Honda)

2nd line
Sergio Perez (MEX/Red Bull-Honda)
Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren-Mercedes)

3rd line
Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes)
George Russell (GBR/Mercedes)

4th line
Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/McLaren-Mercedes)
Esteban Ocon (FRA/Alpine-Renault)

5th line
Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP/Ferrari)
Fernando Alonso (ESP/Alpine-Renault)

6th line
Pierre Gasly (FRA/AlphaTauri-Honda)
Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari)

7th line
Yuki Tsunoda (JPN/AlphaTauri-Honda)
Zhou Guanyu (CHN/Alfa Romeo Racing-Ferrari)

8th line
Mick Schumacher (GER/Haas-Ferrari)
Kevin Magnussen (DEN/Haas-Ferrari)

9th line
Sebastian Vettel (GER/Aston Martin-Mercedes)
Nicholas Latifi (CAN/Williams-Mercedes)

10th line
Alexander Albon* (THA/Williams-Mercedes)
Lance Stroll (CAN/Aston Martin-Mercedes)

* 3 penalty places applied to Albon for having caused a collision during the last GP in Saudi Arabia

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