Seven out of seven for Verstappen

Seven out of seven for Verstappen

Max Verstappen will once again start from pole position this Sunday during the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. The Red Bull driver beat McLaren drivers Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris.

He started the weekend slowly, not winning any of the three free practice sessions. But when it comes to going “into qualifying mode”, Max Verstappen is there. The three-time world champion made it a fantastic seven out of seven by winning his seventh qualifying session (39 in total) out of seven held this season. Including that of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the end of 2023, it even makes eight in a row, Ayrton Senna’s record equaled. On this Imola circuit where the legendary Brazilian driver died thirty years ago, Max Verstappen delivered a festival at the wheel of his Red Bull, winning Q1, Q2 then Q3. During this Q3, he took the lead from the first minutes then kept it, while improving his time.

He finished with a time of 1’14″746, 74 thousandths better than Oscar Piastri and 91 better than Lando Norris. The two McLaren drivers are in great shape, even if they will have to work hard to aim for victory, on this Imola circuit where it is difficult to overtake. Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr complete the Top 5, ahead of George Russell (Mercedes), Yuki Tsunoda (Racing Bulls), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Daniel Riccardo (Racing Bulls) and Nico Hülkenberg (Haas).

Perez only eleventh

During Q1, won by Max Verstappen, it was Valtteri Bottas, Logan Sargeant, Guanyu Zhou, Kevin Magnussen and Fernando Alonso who fell by the wayside. The Spaniard, who went off the track during practice this morning, explained that his Aston Martin was too heavy during his first timed lap, as he experienced a mechanical problem. Lewis Hamilton, for his part, passed the cut by only 22 thousandths. But it was Q2, also won by Max Verstappen, which brought the biggest surprise, with the elimination of his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez, who will only start in eleventh position, Daniel Riccardo, from the satellite team Racing Bulls (who are at home in Imola), having beaten him by 15 thousandths. The Mexican missed his last timed lap.

Unsurprisingly, Alpine drivers Esteban Ocon (12th) and Pierre Gasly (15th) did not make it through Q2, nor did Lance Stroll and Alexander Albon. The Grand Prix will take place on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

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