Australia Qualifying Analyzed: Red Bull dominates but with big hit for Perez
Formula 1 is back in Australia with some early sessions for the European and American fans, this time with qualifying for Sunday's Grand Prix.
This is the second race held in the country following a two-year absence due to the Covid-19 pandemic until 2021. Charles Leclerc won around the Albert Park circuit last year, but the result seems unlikely to repeat with the current Red Bull pace, as well as Ferrari's issues.
First things first
Max Verstappen has qualified on pole position for tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix, with George Russell and Lewis Hamilton completing the top three in what seems to be an improvement for Mercedes from their previous performances.
Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll qualified 4th and 6th respectively, with Carlos Sainz breaking them in half.
It was a nightmare for Charles Leclerc - the Ferrari driver from Monaco qualified 7th ahead of Alexander Albon. This is certainly not the result he was hoping for, and the drama at the Maranello-based team only continues.
Perez suffers from the start
Sergio Perez suffered through the final practice sessions. He complained multiple times to his engineer about the setup of his car. Replays showed him lock up, or go wide in different turns around the circuit. The Mexican really seemed to struggle.
Then, only minutes into the first session in qualifying, Perez went off the track at turn 3 and beached his car. He then jumped out and had his Red Bull machinery towed away by the race marshals.
"We need to sort that issue man, it was the same *** issue again!"
Sergio Perez heard screaming on the radio.
The session resumed 6 minutes later with Max Verstappen being the first driver to go out on the track.
Heartbreak for Alfa Romeo
The team, especially Valtteri Bottas, seemed really in sync with the Australian vibe. However, where things mattered the most -on track, that is- it didn't turn out the way they wanted.
The former Mercedes driver qualified P19 for tomorrow's race, only ahead of Red Bull's Perez who failed to set a competitive laptime following his incident. His teammate, Guanyu Zhou, only achieved P17 ahead of William's Logan Sargeant, who seemed heavily disappointed in the replays.
Overall, it's not a good sight for the Alfa Romeo team, and they are hoping to revert their nightmare qualifying with good running during the Grand Prix.
Aston Martin: Revisited
No, it wasn't a one-off miracle that quickly wears off. Aston Martin continues to challenge the top teams, with Fernando Alonso performing well above the Ferraris in the first two qualifying runs on Saturday. His teammate, Lance Stroll, ran significantly lower, but still within good margins into Q3, in P9 ahead of an impressive Alexander Albon.
They were outperformed by Mercedes in Q3, but, still, it was a great performance from the British-based squad.