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Other SportsChinese Grand Prix 2024: Verstappen on pole as Hamilton slumps to 18th...

Chinese Grand Prix 2024: Verstappen on pole as Hamilton slumps to 18th with Q1 exit

Max Verstappen will start Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix in pole position after leading Sergio Perez in a Red-Bull one-two in qualifying, while Lewis Hamilton must fight from 18th on the grid after crashing out in Q1.

Verstappen finished 0.322 seconds ahead of Perez as Red Bull clinched their 100th pole position, just hours after the Dutchman beat Hamilton to win the sprint race earlier on Saturday.

Perez was just 0.166 seconds clear of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, who will start in third, followed by McLaren duo Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.

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Speaking after the final qualifying session, Verstappen told Sky Sports: “After the sprint, it gave us a few more ideas for the car and I think the car worked even better in qualifying.

“We’re definitely very happy with how the whole of qualifying went. The car was really nice to drive and also in Q3, that final lap felt pretty decent.

“I’m also very happy to drive here in the dry. The conditions were pretty good, so it was a lot of fun.”

Hamilton hailed his second-placed finish in the sprint race as his best showing “in a long time”, but he was swiftly brought back to earth as he dropped out in Q1.

The seven-time world champion told Sky Sports his Mercedes had undergone “massive” set-up changes after the sprint race, alterations he regretted.

“I’ll give it my best shot – 18th is pretty bad,” Hamilton said. “When I was making the set-up changes, I was like, ‘it can’t get any worse, surely’, and it did!”

It was also a difficult day for Hamilton’s future team Ferrari, with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz finishing in sixth and seventh respectively.

Sainz crashed at the final corner in Q2, but he was able to get his damaged car back to the pits under a red flag for repairs which salvaged his session.

The Scuderia team-mates had clashed in the sprint race earlier on Saturday, when Sainz pushed Leclerc off the track in a failed attempt to defend fourth place.

Sainz apologised in the aftermath of the incident, saying: “I was doing everything I could to defend and I had a bit of a moment with Charles, so I apologise if I did something over the limit. I was doing everything to keep it under control.”

Chinese Grand Prix: Top 10 qualifiers

  1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:33.660
  2. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +0.322sec
  3. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) +0.488
  4. Lando Norris (McLaren) +0.505
  5. Oscar Piastri (McLaren) +0.613
  6. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +0.629
  7. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +0.637
  8. George Russell (Mercedes) +0.773
  9. Nico Hulkenberg (Haas) +0.944
  10. Valtteri Bottas (Sauber) +1.005
Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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