Leclerc will start ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez after the one-hour qualifying session, which is split into three segments with five cars each being knocked out in Q1 and Q2 before the top-10 shootout of Q3.
Australian Grand Prix qualifying results: Leclerc on pole from Verstappen
What happened in Australian Grand Prix Q1?
Leclerc set the early pace at 1m19.391s, which was quickly beaten by Sainz on 1m19.179s. Leclerc took P1 back on his second push lap of 1m18.881s, with Verstappen rising to second, just 0.044s in arrears.
Verstappen grabbed P1 at 1m18.580s on his third attempt, a quarter of a second ahead of Perez and the Ferraris.
Williams’ Nicholas Latifi brought out a red flag for the second Q1 in a row with two minutes to go, as he collided with fellow Canadian Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) in a bizarre incident that sent him spinning into the wall.
Falling at the first hurdle were Alex Albon (Williams, who has a three-place grid penalty and stopped on track on his in-lap), Kevin Magnussen (Haas), Sebastian Vettel (whose Aston Martin was repaired after a big shunt in FP3 ), Latifi and Stroll.
After the session had concluded, Stroll was given a three-place grid penalty for causing the crash and Albon was disqualified for not having enough fuel in his car.
Australian Grand Prix Q1 results: Verstappen fastest from Perez
What happened in Australian Grand Prix Q2?
Verstappen set the bar at 1m18.611s, which was beaten by Perez on 1m18.340s. On his in-lap, Verstappen appeared to impede Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, which he hadn’t been told was on a fast lap, while stewards will investigate whether Perez slowed enough for yellow flags.
In the closing moments, Sainz took P2, ahead of Leclerc and Verstappen.
Knocked out at this point were Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo), Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri, who suffered a gravelly off), Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo) and Mick Schumacher (Haas).
Australian Grand Prix Grand Prix Q2 results: Perez fastest from Sainz
What happened in Australian Grand Prix Q3?
On the first runs, Verstappen lapped in 1m18.399s before Perez circulated 0.001s faster. Leclerc grabbed P1 with 1m18.239s, just as Fernando Alonso shunted his Alpine at Turn 7, smashing his front-left corner against the wall and blamed his hydraulics for not being able to downshift. The lights turned red just before Sainz crossed the line.
On the final runs, Perez improved to 1m18.240, this time 0.001s off Leclerc’s fastest time.
Verstappen grabbed pole with 1m18.154s but Leclerc snatched it back on 1m17.868s. Sainz, meanwhile, suffered a moment at Turn 6 and didn’t complete a clear lap – meaning he starts down in ninth.
Perez will start third, ahead of Lando Norris (McLaren) and the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. Home hero Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) was seventh from Esteban Ocon (Alpine), Sainz and Alonso.
Australian Grand Prix Q3 results: Leclerc takes pole
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