Formula 1: Verstappen grabs unexpected pole position; equals Senna’s record in Imola

Imola (Italy):  Max Verstappen has added to his run of pole positions by clinching P1 on the grid for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, with the Dutchman narrowly triumphing over his rivals with an unbeatable lap in Imola and in the process has equalled legend Ayrton Senna’s record for most consecutive pole positions.

Red Bull Racing driver Verstappen had set a strong benchmark during the initial runs of Q3 and improved even further during his final effort, pumping in a time of 1m 14.746s as he tried to get back to winning ways after the Miami GP.

This puts Verstappen 0.074s clear of second-placed Oscar Piastri – who faces a post-session stewards visit for allegedly impeding the Haas of Kevin Magnussen earlier – and McLaren teammate Lando Norris in third.

Verstappen thus bagged an eighth consecutive pole position equalling Senna’s record of eight in a row set in 1988/89, starting from Spain in 1988 to USA in 1989. Three-time World Champion Verstappen, who also set the fastest lap in qualifying at Imola, had started his pole-winning sequence in Abu Dhabi at the end of the 2023 season and has not been bested this season in qualifying.

Charles Leclerc was the lead Ferrari driver in fourth ahead of Carlos Sainz in fifth, with the Scuderia not quite matching the pace they had displayed earlier in the weekend. George Russell went sixth for Mercedes, while Yuki Tsunoda impressively took seventh place in front of RB’s home crowd.

Lewis Hamilton claimed P8 in the Mercedes, with the top 10 rounded out by RB’s Daniel Ricciardo in P9 and the Haas of Nico Hulkenberg in P10.

After a frenetic end to the third and final practice hour earlier in the day, most of the teams and drivers were set to go again when Q1 got underway at 1600 local time.

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