By Robert Haile
Ferrari are taking the challenge to Red Bull in Australia as Charles Leclerc bags his second pole position of the season.
The red of Ferrari had been missing from the front of the grid but seem to be mounting a challenge to Red Bull and Max Verstappen.
Leclerc said: “I’m happy with my result today. This circuit is really tricky and I’ve always struggled here in the past.
“It may not have seemed like it this weekend because we’ve been quite fast, but I’ve done a lot of work to optimise my performance.
“The team did a great job. We stayed calm at all times, despite red flags, yellow flags and traffic.
“The biggest limitation for me was the sun. It was low and at an inconvenient angle and it was almost impossible to see where I was in Q2 and most of Q3.
“I took a lot of risks and I’m glad that I managed to put together such a good lap in the end.
“It doesn’t look too bad in terms of race pace. It’s very close with our competitors so it will be a difficult but exciting race tomorrow.”
The race might be a different story as his teammate, Carlos Sainz is down in ninth and both Red Bull drivers are next to him, Verstappen in second and Sergio Perez in third.
In a shock or maybe not so much McLaren’s fortunes seem to have changed as Lando Norris bag forth and Aussie Daniel Ricciardo in seventh.
In session one Williams Nicholas Latifi and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll after completing laps came together with the Williams coming off worse and both staying in the elimination zone.
Joining them are Sebastian Vettel for Aston Martin, Alex Albon for Williams and in a surprise poor qualifying for this season is Kevin Magnussen for Haas.
Session two both Alfa Romeo’s exited with Vallteri Bottas’s record of making the final qualifying session came to an end at 103.
Joining them are both AlphaTauri’s and Mick Schumacher’s Haas.
The later in the day final session caught the drivers out as they had to change visors on their helmets to deal with the sinking sun.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc set the pace early in the session with both Red Bull’s behind him, Fernando Alonso was running a potentially fastest lap when his Alpine slide off the road and into the wall bringing out another red flag.
McLaren’s form improved with Lando Norris finishing fourth and home favourite Daniel Ricciardo in seventh.
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell’s Mercedes split the McLaren’s tucking in at fifth and sixth.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon after sitting an early fourth dropped to eighth with Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari in a surprise ninth.
Australian Grand Prix Grid
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
- Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
- Lando Norris (McLaren)
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
- George Russell (Mercedes)
- Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)
- Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
- Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
- Fernando Alonso (Alpine)
- Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)
- Vallteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)
- Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)
- Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo)
- Mick Schumacher (Haas)
- Alex Albon (Williams)*
- Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
- Sebastian Vettel (Aston Marin)
- Nicholas Latifi (Williams)
- Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)*
Albon and Stroll both have been penalised three grid places.