The F1 Australian Grand Prix Qualifying Live: Will Verstappen Retake Pole Position?
Verstappen Hopes to Take Pole, Perez and Alonso Give Competition
The F1 Australian Grand Prix ramps up today, with Albert Park getting ready for qualifying. Will Red Bull driver and heavy favourite Max Verstappen return to the front of the grid, or can Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc repeat his stunning performance from last year in Melbourne? Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez will also be in the hunt as he searches for his second pole of the season, whilst a resurgent Fernando Alonso will challenge with his new team Aston Martin. The Sporting News will follow all the action live from Australia below.
Max Verstappen Takes Pole for F1 2023 Australian Grand Prix
END OF Q3: Max Verstappen takes pole for the F1 2023 Australian Grand Prix!! He was certainly made to work for it, but he put in a stellar lap when it mattered to secure first position.
Verstappen Goes Fastest with Reports of Rain Approaching
4 mins left of Q3: There are some reports of rain approaching at Albert Park near the end of the session, so most teams are heading out again now to get in another lap on soft tires. 6 mins left of Q3: And just like clockwork, Verstappen goes fastest again! He leads Hamilton by nine-thousandths of a second. 7 mins left of Q3: This is anyone’s game! Most drivers have completed their first runs, and Verstappen sits in P6. Hamilton leads, followed by Alonso.
Verstappen Aims to Be the Driver to Beat
START OF Q3: Here. We. Go. Verstappen is certainly the driver to beat here, but the likes of Alonso, Russell and Leclerc have shown some impressive pace.
Haas’ Nico Hülkenberg Surprises in Q2
END OF Q2: Well, that was a frenetic ending. Haas driver Nico Hülkenberg put in a monster lap to finish P5, causing an unexpected shuffling of the standings. Albon also extracted the most out of his Williams to qualify. Despite a strong Q1 showing, Esteban Ocon couldn’t do enough to make the top 10, whilst McLaren’s struggles continue following Norris’ elimination. 5 mins left of Q2: Still all to play for in this session. Half a second separates the top 8 drivers, so we can expect an exciting conclusion. Very clean driving as well. Norris briefly ran wide, but no other significant incidents yet. 10 mins left of Q2: Verstappen sets the early pace (again), recording a 1:17.219. Alonso and Leclerc follow closely behind.
Verstappen Sets the Fastest Time in Q1
START OF Q2: It’s busy again on the circuit, with 10 of the 15 possible cars already on track. END OF Q1: Disappointment for the Australian crowd, with Piastri bowing out in Q1. He will start tomorrow’s race from P16. Also a tough afternoon for Alfa Romeo, with both their drivers eliminated. Verstappen finished P1, whilst Mercedes duo George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were second and third, respectively. 3 mins left of Q1: A lot of movement here as drivers keep setting personal bests. As it stands, Piastri and his McLaren teammate Lando Norris are in the elimination zone. 8 mins left of Q1: No surprises here… Max Verstappen has now set the fastest time in Q1 – a 1:18.063. Albon is only less than a tenth of a second behind though, so the Dutchman will likely need to do another lap to guarantee his place. Q1 resumes: We’re back in action. Nico Hülkenberg currently has the fastest lap out of the few drivers that have set a time. 13 mins left of Q1: Logan Sargeant spins near the final corner, but is able to comfortably return to the pits. 15 mins left of Q1: Half of the drivers are already out on track as teams look to set some early lap times. Grey clouds loom over the circuit, but rain is still not likely. START OF Q1: We’re underway at Albert Park! The Williams duo of Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant lead us out on track. At the end of this session, 15 drivers will progress to Q2, with the five slowest drivers eliminated.
Damon Hill Confident in Youngster Oscar Piastri’s Ability
15 minutes to go: There is plenty of pressure on local driver Oscar Piastri in his Australian Grand Prix debut, but former F1 world champion Damon Hill is confident in the youngster’s ability. “I haven’t seen anything that makes me concerned about the way he is driving,” Hill said on Channel 10’s broadcast. “I think so far he has done a fantastically good job.” 30 minutes to go: The atmosphere continues to build at Albert Park. Single-day attendance records were broken on Thursday and Friday, and organisers are predicting the same outcome again today. Last year, 123,247 fans were in attendance for qualifying Saturday. 1 hour to go: Notably, the F2 sprint race – which finished moments ago – was impacted by some rainfall. Melbourne is renowned for its unpredictable weather, so even though there is a low chance of rain during qualifying, you cannot rule anything out. 1.5 hours to go: Max Verstappen has highlighted why he is the favourite this weekend, finishing P1 in the third and final practice session. He also recorded the fastest-ever F1 lap around Albert Park – 1:17.565. The session will begin at 4:00 pm local time (AEDT).
Red Bull Drivers Expected to Lead the Pack
It’s fair to say that both Red Bull drivers – Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez – will be the ones to beat this afternoon at Albert Park, but can any other teams challenge them? Notably, McLaren driver Oscar Piastri will be making his home qualifying debut, and he can expect plenty of support from the Melbourne crowd. F1 fans in the USA can catch all the action in 2023 with all 23 races set to be shown live on ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2. For Spanish-language viewers, they can find live broadcasts on ESPN Deportes, though ESPNews and ESPNU will also show some practice and qualifying sessions live throughout the year. As well as on the official F1 TV service, the action can be live streamed on Hulu + Live TV with subscriptions. Elsewhere, Sling TV will also show the action, as too will FuboTV in the US. For fans in Canada, TSN will carry the English-language telecast of races. For those looking