After some light rain fell on the Albert Park track just before the one-hour practice, the C4 softs tires were good for multiple laps and needed to be warmed up in order to do their best. When it came to qualifying, most of the drivers chose two different sets of five laps with two fast run times. The session turned out to be full of action for all the spectators who had gathered at Melbourne.
Verstappen raced very well the whole way and just before the end he went even faster with a time of 1m16.732s which was good enough to get pole position. However, in the last few seconds Russell and Hamilton were both slightly faster than Fernando Alonso who dropped down to fourth place.
The younger British driver was the only one who was able to do a lap in 1m7.968 seconds, which was faster than Verstappen’s time. His team-mate got stuck with Nico Hulkenberg from Haas as they were fighting for position on their last warm-up laps.
After them came Carlos Sainz from Ferrari, then Lance Stroll in an Aston Martin, and finally Charles Leclerc in the second Ferrari car.
Leclerc did his best and before the race ended he had time for one more run. He set a fast time of 1 minute 17.369 seconds which was a personal record, but he couldn’t improve on it.
Alex Albon from Williams got their best result of 2023 by qualifying in 8th place, beating everyone else in the final minutes of Q3 with Pierre Gasly and Hulkenberg coming in at 10th spot.
Esteban Ocon almost set a new record on his last lap, but he encountered cars and had to slow down near the end which meant he was 0.007 seconds slower than Albon who passed him while Yuki Tsunoda, Lando Norris, and Kevin Magnussen all tried their best times at the end of the lap.
Nyck de Vries didn’t do well in his racing debut with the AlphaTauri team, as he was knocked out of the competition in 15th place. During the competition’s first lap, Perez crashed and slid off the track and into some gravel which had happened to him twice before on training runs.
Perez was skating along the gravel, but when he attempted to turn right, he got stuck close to a muddy road which was next to a big wall. The Mexican driver who was driving him seemed very angry because he had experienced the exact same problem earlier in the day just like Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said they would before.
After a short 8-minute wait, the race started again. Five racers were eliminated due to their poor performance which included Oscar Piastri from their hometown, Zhou Guanyu, Logan Sargeant, and Valtteri Bottas. At the beginning of Q1, Sargeant lost control of his car coming out of the final corner, causing him to spin around in circles and he had to quickly go back into the pits.