Leclerc grabs pole
Charles Leclerc took pole position for Ferrari in crash-laden qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix on Saturday, pipping Red Bull’s world champion Max Verstappen on the upgraded Albert Park circuit.
Leclerc saved his best for last, his flying lap of one minute 17.868 seconds nearly three-tenths of a second quicker than Verstappen, leaving the Dutchman in a funk over the performance of his RB18 car.
Verstappen finished ahead of third-quickest teammate Sergio Perez, with McLaren’s Lando Norris to start fourth on the grid. Leclerc’s 11th career pole and second of the season set up another Sunday showdown with Verstappen.
Leclerc said he managed to “put everything together” in the third and final phase of qualifying. “The car is nice to drive ... We were again quite surprised by our pace in qualifying,” he said.
“We are again very close with Red Bull. So it’s going to be close racing tomorrow (Sunday). ”