Verstappen on pole in Qatar as F1 title looms

6 months ago 125
Qatar GPThe Qatar Grand Prix is live on 5 Live and the BBC Sport website

Max Verstappen stormed to pole position at the Qatar Grand Prix and needed only one run in the final qualifying session to do it.

Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were promoted to second and third after penalties for McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.

Norris and Piastri were second and fourth, sandwiching Russell, but lost their times for exceeding track limits.

Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso starts fourth.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc starts in fifth after team-mate Carlos Sainz failed to make it through to the top 10 shoot out.

And there was another big scalp in the second session, when Red Bull's Sergio Perez was eliminated.

How to follow the Qatar Grand Prix

The penalties for Norris and Piastri led to comical scenes in the post-session television interviews.

First Russell asked: "Where's Lando?" when Piastri showed up to be interviewed after him. And then the Australian was told he also had a penalty just as he was finishing talking.

Piastri's first lap in the session was good enough to put him sixth on the grid, while Norris, who had both his lap times deleted for track limits transgressions, will line up 10th, behind the Alpines of Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon and Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas.

The qualifying session set the grid for the grand prix on Sunday. Saturday is devoted to the sprint event, with a qualifying session followed by a short race.

Verstappen will clinch the title as long as he does not lose six points or more to Perez in an event that awards eight points to the winner and then a sliding scale down to one point for eighth.

More to follow

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