Formula 1: Max Verstappen on Australian Grand Prix pole ahead of George Russell

Verstappen beat Russell by 0.236 seconds as Mercedes had their best qualifying of the season. Sergio Perez crashed the second Red Bull on his first lap of qualifying and will start the race at the back. Verstappen pulled out a blinder of a lap on his final run and when Alonso went second in the Aston Martin with a lap 0.407secs off the world champion, the front of the grid seemed set given Ferrari’s lack of pace this weekend. But first Russell popped up between Verstappen and Alonso and then Hamilton snuck in there as well. Verstappen admitted Red Bull had struggled to get the optimum out of their car this weekend, which had been a scrappy one up to qualifying. “Until then the whole weekend it has been difficult to get the tyres in the right window and it was pretty tricky to find the grip and nail it on one lap. Alonso said in an interview with French newspaper this weekend that it was clear now Hamilton no longer had the best car that he “had weaknesses”.

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