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Tue. May 28th, 2024

Max Verstappen is poised to win a third consecutive World Championship after dominating qualifying for the Qatar Grand Prix on Sunday. The Red Bull driver will start from pole position on Sunday, and only needs to avoid losing more than six points to Sergio Perez in Saturday’s Sprint Race to secure another title. “Great start to the weekend,” Verstappen said.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen raced to pole position at the Qatar Grand Prix after a dominant display in qualifying on Friday, with Mercedes’ George Russell in P2.
The Dutchman only needed one run in the final qualifying session to secure the top position on the grid, as he closes in on a third successive Drivers’ Championship.
Verstappen can clinch the title in Saturday’s sprint race, as long as he doesn’t lose six or more points to Sergio Perez.

“Great start to the weekend,” Verstappen said after a successful qualifying session. “It’s quite tricky out there.
“The new tarmac, it still needs to rubber in but very happy to be on pole. It’s been a good day for us.”
Looking ahead to Sunday’s race, he added: “I want to win it. We put it on pole, so naturally you want tot win the race but let’s make sure we have a good day tomorrow as well.

“I think the car is quick. Of course, tomorrow, it’s again going to be a bit more difficult to get the tyres ready to work well, with the sand coming onto the track as well.”
Mercedes pair Russell and Lewis Hamilton capitalised on penalties for McLaren duo Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri for exceeding track limits, to move up to second and third respectively.

Verstappen takes pole in Qatar to close driver points gap

Russell initially finished third, with Norris and Piastri second and fourth.
“It was a really tricky day for everybody,” Russell explained, echoing Verstappen’s words. “The new tarmac was really slippery and all the sand is blowing onto the track.
“We went out in qualifying and the lap times were just immense compared to the times we were doing this morning. That was good fun.”
“Not particularly happy with myself,” Piastri said, following his drop to P6. “Very, very scruffy on that last lap. Bit more on the table but I’ll take a top three.
“[Another podium] would be nice. It’s been a very different experience this weekend compared to Suzuka. Straight into today and very, very slippery track.
“It’s been a learning curve but we’ll try our best.”

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso took fourth spot while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will start in fifth position.
Leclerc’s team-mate Carlos Sainz failed to make it into the top 10, as did Verstappen’s fellow Red Bull driver Perez, who was eliminated in Q2.

With the grid for Sunday’s race set, attention turns to Saturday’s sprint qualifying, which will feature a qualifying session followed by a short race.

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