Chinese GP: Verstappen and Perez complete Red Bull front row lock out in qualifying

Red Bull’s historic 100th Formula One pole position was secured by Max Verstappen on a personal fantastic Saturday, while Lewis Hamilton unexpectedly withdrew and classified 18th for Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix.

After an exciting first Sprint race of the season, in which Verstappen finished first and Hamilton second, their days took completely different turns around the difficult Shanghai International Circuit during the qualifying session that set the grid for the main Grand Prix on Sunday.

In a Red Bull front-row lockout with teammate Sergio Perez, Verstappen dominated dry qualifying for the Grand Prix, extending his run of poles to five at the beginning of the 2024 season and a career-best sequence of six overall. Hamilton, on the other hand, was eliminated in Q1 following an error at the hairpin on his final attempt and will start on the penultimate row of the grid.

While Verstappen dominated the hour and won all three knockout stages, Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin had a provisional second position after the first Q3 laps and looked like he could prevent Red Bull from locking out the front row.


On his last several attempts to pass the Spaniard, Perez proved to be 0.166s quicker; nonetheless, Alonso believed he would have taken second place if he hadn’t “lost two tenths in two corners” at the beginning of his own final lap.

Lando Norris of McLaren, who won the Sprint on Friday in rainy circumstances, was just behind fourth place ahead of teammate Oscar Piastri. Alonso had eased back to a still outstanding third.

But Ferrari’s poor weekend continued, with Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc finishing just sixth and seventh, respectively.

Sainz’s situation might have been worse, though, as he was able to drag his car—minus its nosecone—back to the pits for repairs during the red flag period in Q2. The crash occurred at the last corner.

Following Sainz’s return to the track, Aston Martin filed a post-session protest with the stewards, claiming it violated the F1 Sporting Regulations.

George Russell qualified for Q3 in the sister Mercedes following Hamilton’s shocking early withdrawal, but he was only 0.773s behind the leading Verstappen, continuing the team’s dismal start to 2024.

Nico Hulkenberg of Haas and Valtteri Bottas of Sauber both performed admirably to finish ninth and tenth, respectively. Bottas made his Q3 debut this season on a much-needed stronger weekend for Sauber.

Daniel Ricciardo’s season is improving in China despite his ongoing search for his first top-10 finish of 2024. He outqualified RB teammate Yuki Tsunoda for the Sprint and then repeated the feat for Sunday’s Grand Prix. Ricciardo finished in 12th place, and Tsunoda came in a disappointed 19th.

Chinese GP Qualifying Timesheet

Driver Team Time
1) Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:33.660
2) Sergio Perez Red Bull +0.322
3) Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +0.488
4) Lando Norris McLaren +0.505
5) Oscar Piasti McLaren +0.613
6) Charles Leclerc Ferrari +0.629
7) Carlos Sainz Ferrari +0.637
8) George Russell Mercedes +0.773
9) Nico Hulkenberg Haas +0.944
10) Valtteri Bottas Sauber +1.005
Knocked out in Q2
11) Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:34.838
12) Daniel Ricciardo RB 1:34.934
13) Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:35.223
14) Alex Albon Williams 1:35.241
15) Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:35.463
Knocked out in Q1
16) Zhou Guanyu Sauber 1:35.505
17) Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:35.516
18) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:35.573
19) Yuki Tsunoda RB 1:35.746
20) Logan Sargeant Williams 1:36.358

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