Leclerc grabs pole ahead of Verstappen for Austra-lian Grand Prix

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Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc claimed pole on Saturday for the Australian Grand Prix ahead of title rival Max Verstappen — and in the process broke Lewis Hamilton’s stranglehold on the grid in Melbourne. Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez is on the second row after coming in third ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris.

Mercedes’ Hamilton, who has been the pole-sitter eight times in Melbourne, including the last six in a row at Albert Park, will start fifth. It is a second pole of the year for Leclerc after the season-opening race in Bahrain, where he went on to win.

He knocked out his rivals with a flying lap at the death of one minute 17.868, fractionally ahead of Red Bull’s world champion Verstappen, who won in Saudi Arabia two weeks ago. “It felt good.

Even more because it’s a track where I’ve always struggled in the past, in Q3 I managed to put everything together so it feels great, very happy,” said Monaco’s Leclerc.—APP

 

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