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Other SportsAustralian Grand Prix qualifying results: Verstappen holds off Sainz to take pole...

Australian Grand Prix qualifying results: Verstappen holds off Sainz to take pole for Red Bull

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen overcame what the Red Bull driver called a “tricky” round of qualifying to hold off Carlos Sainz secure pole for the 2024 Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Ferrari’s Sainz – competing 15 days after an operation for appendicitis that kept him out of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – was on course to beat Verstappen until the Red Bull racer prevailed by 0.27 seconds after the top 10 shoot-out.

“Both of those laps felt very nice,” Verstappen said of his late comeback, adding that the test he faced had been a “bit unexpected”.

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“[Ferrari] seem very quick in the long runs, so there’s a bit of a question mark for tomorrow.

“But that makes it interesting. Bit of a tricky weekend but we managed to be there at the end.”

Sergio Perez finished third for Red Bull ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

Oscar Piastri was sixth in front of Mercedes’ George Russell, whose team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, trailed in 11th.

Australian Grand Prix 2024: Sainz ‘very happy’

“It has been a tough couple of weeks,” said Sainz. “A lot of days in bed, waiting to see if I could be here today.

“To make it this weekend and put it on the front row after leading all the way through qualifying, I almost could not believe it.

“I’m very happy to be here. I was a bit rusty yesterday but I got up to speed and was feeling good with the car.

“I am not going to lie, I am not in my most comfortable state when I am driving out there but I can get it done.

“There’s a lot of discomfort and weird feelings but no pain, so it allowed me to push flat out.”

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