Emilia Romagna GP: Max Verstappen gets record equalling consecutive pole ahead os Sunday’s race

In qualifying for Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Max Verstappen matched Ayrton Senna’s historic record of eight consecutive Formula 1 pole positions after striking back spectacularly to deny Miami winners McLaren.

After a challenging start to the weekend for world champions Red Bull, Verstappen faced a serious challenge from the McLaren drivers. However, he eventually found the speed he needed in qualifying, as he finished with a final lap of 1:14.746 to edge out Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri to the front of the grid by less than a tenth of a second.

But Piastri’s second-place finish on the grid always seemed fragile after the Australian was under stewards’ scrutiny for obstructing Kevin Magnussen in the first round. Later on, it was revealed that Piastri had received a three-place penalty, reducing him to fifth and moving teammate Norris up to the front row beside Verstappen.

Verstappen’s eighth consecutive pole, which dates back to the 2023 season’s final round in Abu Dhabi last November, ties the record set by the legendary Brazilian Senna in 1989. This weekend at Imola, thirty years after his passing at the Italian circuit, F1 has been paying tribute to the triple world champion.

Verstappen’s seven straight poles also ties him with Alain Prost, another sporting icon.

Through practice and the first part of qualifying, Ferrari appeared to pose a serious threat to Verstappen’s dominance, helped by their biggest upgrade of the season for their home race. However, their challenge faded in Q3, with Carlos Sainz finishing fifth and Charles Leclerc finishing fourth.

Piastri’s penalty moves Leclerc and Sainz up to third and fourth place, respectively.

Mercedes qualified sixth and ninth, respectively, behind their main competitors despite further modifications to their W15 chassis, albeit at least their lead of 0.488 seconds was closer than in previous races.

For the sixth time in seven races, George Russell outqualified Lewis Hamilton, continuing a trend that began during their last year together.

Yuki Tsunoda of RB, who has excelled throughout the weekend thus far and finished eighth ahead of Hamilton, is separating the British pair on the grid. When Tsunoda placed third in Q2, he had hinted at an even bigger surprise.

In the second RB, Daniel Ricciardo finished ninth, while Nico Hulkenberg, who never stops impressing, completed the top 10.

However, Fernando Alonso (Q1) of Aston Martin and Sergio Perez (Q2) of Red Bull both experienced unexpected early retirements after previously crashing in the final practice.

Emilia Romagna GP Qualifying Timesheet

Driver Team Time
1) Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:14.746
2) Oscar Piasti McLaren +0.074
3) Lando Norris McLaren +0.091
4) Charles Leclerc Ferrari +0.224
5) Carlos Sainz Ferrari +0.487
6) George Russell Mercedes +0.488
7) Yuki Tsunoda RB +0.719
8) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.758
9) Daniel Ricciardo RB +0.928
10) Nico Hulkenberg Haas +1.234
Knocked out in Q2
11) Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:15.706
12) Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:15.906
13) Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:15.992
14) Alex Albon Williams 1:16.200
15) Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:16.381
Knocked out in Q1
16) Valtteri Bottas Sauber 1:16.626
17) Zhou Guanyu Sauber 1:16.834
18) Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:16.854
19) Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:16.917
20) Logan Sargeant Williams No time set

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