Championship leader Leclerc outpaced Verstappen with his ultimate lap of a dramatic qualifying session in Melbourne on Saturday to be certain he will commence at the major of the grid.
The Ferrari driver, who has completed to start with and next in the opening two races of 2022, posted 1:17.868 late on in Q3 to finish .286s in advance of Verstappen.
“It feels fantastic and incredibly delighted to be commencing on pole,” Leclerc claimed. “Once again, we have been fairly stunned by our pace in qualifying, so we will see what transpires.
“Over-all, I am very delighted because it really is a monitor the place I’ve normally struggled in the earlier and I have struggled this weekend.
“You almost certainly couldn’t see from outdoors mainly because we ended up really quick, but I was having difficulties rather a great deal with faults, becoming inconsistent.
“I seriously labored on that to try out to place a superior lap collectively in Q3. I understood it was just all about placing it collectively and I managed to do it in Q3, so I am pretty joyful.”
Verstappen was edged out by Leclerc in a thrilling Saudi Arabian Grand Prix two months in the past and is 3rd in the drivers’ standings, with Carlos Sainz occupying second place.
Leclerc’s Ferrari workforce-mate Sainz will start out Sunday’s race down in ninth, even so, following becoming caught by pink flags that had been brought out next a crash for Fernando Alonso.
Red Bull’s Verstappen will for that reason have a chance to climb the standings this weekend, but the Dutchman is not totally happy with how the weekend has absent consequently significantly.
“I would have hoped to commence to start with, but we have to settle for exactly where we complete, but the total weekend has been a little bit tricky for me,” he said.
“I’ve by no means seriously discovered a stable grip no matter if it can be front or rear and which is just not great. For me, that’s really been the circumstance all 12 months.
“I’ve never ever observed a relaxed equilibrium wherever I could assault corners, especially in qualifying and which is a massive limitation – it is really a little something incredibly new for me in the last 3 yrs.
“Of class, I’m talking like I am P18, but I feel we have a large amount of potential in the auto we’re not exhibiting and I imagine which is a little bit of a disgrace.
“But I hope it to be limited [on Sunday]. It’s possible Ferrari will uncover a little something, but I hope not and hopefully we can have a superior fight yet again.”
Regardless of his issues, it is Verstappen’s first entrance row begin at Albert Park as he seeks just a next podium end in 6 appearances Down Beneath.
Verstappen’s workforce-mate Sergio Perez finished 3rd in qualifying, although that will be reviewed as he is below investigation.
That is because of to the Mexican failing to slow for double waved flags right after Lance Stroll inadvertently turned into Nicholas Latifi, with each motorists blaming each and every other for the crash.
Perez, who could only complete 4 in Jeddah past time out right after proclaiming pole – the very first Mexican to at any time do so – was more upbeat than Verstappen.
“It felt excellent. Q1, Q2 matters were being likely excellent. With all the red flags, it really is normally quite hard to hold the momentum heading,” he reported.
“I regret a bit the conclusion to go into Q3 with our technique on the tyres, but I think P3 is a respectable get started for tomorrow.”
Somewhere else in Saturday’s qualifying session, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who has taken a file 8 poles in Australia, concluded fifth, narrowly behind McLaren’s Lando Norris.
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