The final F1 starting grid for the Australian Grand Prix has been set for Sunday, and several surprises came to the fore as the drivers struggled to get their tyres working throughout qualifying.
Cool temperatures in Melbourne saw the drivers opt to take multiple laps on the same tyres throughout the session, but it was Max Verstappen who took pole position after battling downshift issues through qualifying.
The reigning World Champion will be joined by George Russell on the front row of the Melbourne grid, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso making up row two.
As for the other Red Bull, Sergio Perez exited qualifying early after locking up at Turn 3 on his first flying lap, sliding into the gravel trap and bemoaning a continuation of the problem on his RB19 that plagued his FP3 session.
He'll be starting from the pit lane after Red Bull made changes to the car overnight while also fitted his RB19 with a third energy store and a third control electronics.
The Mexican driver will have company in the pit lane as Alfa Romeo also made changes to Valtteri Bottas' C43 overnight, the driver perplexed by his lack of pace in qualifying that left him down in 19th place.
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F1 starting grid: 2023 Australian Grand Prix
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:16.732 Mercedes + 0.236 Mercedes + 0.372 Aston Martin + 0.407 Ferrari + 0.538 Aston Martin + 0.576 Ferrari + 0.637 Williams + 0.877 Alpine + 0.943 Haas + 1.003 Alpine 1:17.768 AlphaTauri +0.331 McLaren +0.351 Haas F1 Team +0.361 AlphaTauri +0.567 McLaren 1:18.157 Alfa Romeo +0.023 Williams +0.040 Alfa Romeo Pit lane Red Bull Racing Pit lane
[Correct as of Sunday 2 April 2023]
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