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Verstappen dominates Spanish GP qualifying, Leclerc out in Q1

Mark Thompson / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Red Bull's Max Verstappen continued his 2023 dominance, putting it on pole with the fastest time during Saturday's qualifying at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya ahead of Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

It's Verstappen's first career pole position in Barcelona and his fourth of the year through seven races.

Ferrari's Carlos Sainz will start alongside Verstappen in the front row after finishing nearly half a second slower than the championship leader.

Pos. Driver Team Time
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:12.272
2 Carlos Sainz Ferrari +0.456
3 Lando Norris McLaren +0.520
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.546
5 Lance Stroll Aston Martin +0.722
6 Esteban Ocon Alpine +0.811
7 Nico Hulkenberg Haas +0.957
8 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +1.235
9 Oscar Piastri McLaren +1.410
10 Pierre Gasly* Alpine +0.544
11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Q2
12 George Russell Mercedes Q2
13 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo Q2
14 Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri Q2
15 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Q2
16 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Q1
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas Q1
18 Alex Albon Williams Q1
19 Charles Leclerc Ferrari Q1
20 Logan Sargeant Williams Q1

The stewards summoned Alpine's Pierre Gasly following the strong session that originally put him fourth on the grid. However, the French driver was found to have impeded both Verstappen and Sainz and was hit with a six-place grid penalty (three spots for each violation). He will now start from 10th.

Last year's pole-sitter and Sainz's teammate Charles Leclerc didn't make it out of the first qualifying session and will start 19th on the grid. It's the first time Leclerc hasn't made it to Q3 since last year's Canadian Grand Prix, ending a streak of 19 races. It's also his lowest grid position since the 2021 Russian Grand Prix when he qualified 15th but was penalized for engine modifications that put him 19th.

Sainz's former teammate Lando Norris will lead the second row after qualifying third. It's the highest McLaren has qualified this season, as both Norris and rookie Oscar Piastri made it into Q3.

"P3, almost P2, but it's a home race for Carlos, so I thought I'd give him a couple tenths (of a second)," Norris quipped following the session.

Norris will start alongside seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton.

The stewards also summoned Hamilton and George Russell after the two Mercedes drivers made contact during the dying moments of Q2. Hamilton's front wing was damaged as a result, while Russell failed to make it into Q3.

Like Sainz, it's also Fernando Alonso's home race. While he got plenty of fan support, he struggled in the final qualifying session, out-qualified by teammate Lance Stroll for the first time this year.

Verstappen's teammate Sergio Perez endured a disappointing qualifying, going off track near the end of Q2 and unable to put together a fast enough lap to make it into Q3. It's Perez's second straight race he'll start outside the top 10, but the Mexican still sits second in the driver standings.

Verstappen dominates Spanish GP qualifying, Leclerc out in Q1
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