Max Verstappen takes Chinese GP pole as Lewis Hamilton suffers qualifying disaster

Max Verstappen claims another pole in China, as Lewis Hamilton suffers an early qualifying exit.

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen claimed pole position for the F1 Chinese Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton suffered a disaster, qualifying a lowly 18th.

Following up on his sprint race victory on Saturday morning, the reigning world champion stormed to his sixth successive pole in regular qualifying, beating Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez by 0.322 seconds.

Fernando Alonso produced a brilliant lap to put his Aston Martin third on the grid for Sunday’s grand prix as he got within 0.488s of Verstappen’s time.

After finishing second in the sprint race, Hamilton had a nightmare qualifying as he faced a shock early exit in Q1, leaving him only 18th on the grid.

A lock up into the hairpin cost Hamilton six tenths - which would have easily seen him progress into Q2 - as the seven-time world champion was eliminated in the first part of qualifying for the first time since the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Lando Norris was fourth-fastest after outpacing McLaren teammate Oscar Piastri, while Charles Leclerc got the better of Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz, who survived a spin into the barriers in Q2, to take sixth.

George Russell was eighth as the lead Mercedes driver, with Nico Hulkenberg and Valtteri Bottas completing the top-10 for Haas and Sauber respectively.

Lance Stroll failed to join his Aston Martin teammate in Q3 as he could only take 11th, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo’s RB.

Esteban Ocon was 13th as both Alpines advanced to Q2 for the first time this season, with teammate Pierre Gasly 15th - behind the Williams of Alex Albon.

Home hero Zhou Guanyu could not replicate his qualifying heroics from Friday as he ended up 16th for Sauber, ahead of Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and Hamilton.

RB’s Yuki Tsunoda was at a loss to explain how he was only 19th-fastest, while Logan Sargeant will prop up the field for Sunday’s grand prix after being slowest of all in his Williams. 

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