In Melbourne , Max Verstappen battled with Charles Leclerc to try and take his first pole of the season, however the Monegasque Ferrari driver edged out the Dutchman by 0.286s thanks to a masterful final lap that gave him his second pole of the campaign.
Despite starting from the front row tomorrow, with ample chances of victory, Verstappen acknowledged that he had not felt comfortable behind the wheel of the Red Bull RB18 throughout the weekend, assuring that he was getting out of control “everywhere”.
“I really haven’t been feeling well all weekend,” said the Dutchman as soon as he finished a qualifying session that was stalled by two red flags due to incidents caused by Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi, and Fernando Alonso.
“I think there hasn’t been a single lap where I felt really comfortable, I had to fight continuously. Of course, being second is still a good result, but I haven’t felt so good that I could go to the limit. We’ll try to analyze it “.
“Probably in the race pace everything will be a little more even. Of course, I’m happy to be second, but I think that also as a team we want more,” added the reigning Formula 1 world champion.
Leclerc , for his part, said he was surprised by his qualifying pace as Albert Park was a circuit where he had struggled in the past and acknowledged he wasn’t able to put in a good lap until he reached Q3.
“It felt good, especially as it’s a track where I’ve always had problems in the past,” said the reigning F1 championship leader in 2022.
“This weekend we have worked a lot. The three free practice sessions have been a bit complicated for me. I could do good laps, but not put it all together.”
“In Q3 I put it all together for the first time, so I feel really good and I’m really happy to start from pole tomorrow.”
“The car is comfortable to drive, but the Red Bulls were very quick in the second practice session with high fuel load,” he said, referring to tomorrow’s race at the Australian GP.
“To be honest, we were quite surprised by our qualifying pace, so anything is possible tomorrow. We just have to make a good start and then hopefully we can keep that top position,” concluded Charles Leclerc .
Verstappen ‘s teammate Sergio Pérez finished third just under a tenth behind his teammate, while Carlos Sainz was unable to move past ninth after having to abort his first attempt due to a red flag and a problem. before taking to the track on his second timed lap.