Verstappen, Russell and Hamilton reflect on chaotic F1 Qatar Grand Prix qualifying session

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Max Verstappen was the dominant force throughout qualifying, comfortably beating the McLaren and Mercedes drivers to take pole for Sunday’s Qatar Grand Prix.

“Great start to the weekend,” Verstappen said in his post-qualifying interview. “It’s quite tricky out there with the new tarmac. It still needs to rubber in. Very peaky grip. As soon as you overpush, the rear steps out.

“Of course very happy to be on pole, it’s been a good day for us.

“I want to win on Sunday. We put it on pole and naturally you want to win the race but let’s make sure tomorrow we have a good day. I think the car is quick.

“Tomorrow it’s going to be a bit more difficult to get the tyres ready to work well with the tyres.

“It’s a great start to the weekend and the car is working well. That’s all I can hope for really.”

Mercedes’s George Russell will line up alongside polesitter Verstappen.

Photo credit: Red Bull Content Pool

“Really tricky day for everybody. New tarmac, really slippery, very windy here,” he said.

“We went out in qualifying and the lap times were just immense compared to this morning.

“I’m really happy with P3 [P2]. I think we did a bit better than expected.

“The McLarens look quick. We know Red Bull and Max are in a league of their own. Our fight is with Ferrari and we need to be consistent.”

Although Lando Norris had a strong showing, he lost P2 after both McLaren drivers had their laps deleted for exceeding track limits.

In the midst of the post-session chaos—which included Oscar Piastri being told about his deleted lap during his post-qualifying interview—Hamilton unexpectedly found himself promoted to P3.

“Not massively satisfied,” he admitted after the session. “It’s just great for the team to be on the first two rows.”

“Difficult at the beginning of the session, tricky conditions out there with the wind. Ultimately, a pretty average session for me.

“I’m going to give it everything and try and bag those points. It’s great we are ahead of the Ferraris which is key.”