World championship leader Charles Leclerc triumphed in qualifying in Melbourne, distancing the two Red Bulls. Schumacher beat Haas team-mate Magnussen.

Formula 1 leader Charles Leclerc will start the Australian Grand Prix from first place on the grid. The Monegasque secured pole position in Melbourne on Saturday in 1:17.868 minutes, edging out world champion Max Verstappen in the Red Bull by 0.286 seconds for second. It is Leclerc’s eleventh pole of his career and second of the season.

Close behind was Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull in third. While a duel between Scuderia Ferrari and Red Bull is on the horizon again Down Under, record world champion Lewis Hamilton still managed to finish fifth in the Mercedes, which continues to be too weak.

Vettel still unlucky

After surviving a coronavirus infection, Sebastian Vettel retired in the first of three stages. An accident in the third free practice session with a crash into the track boundary meant that the four-time world champion was only able to set one fast lap in qualifying. He could only secure 18th place. Vettel’s Aston Martin team only managed to get the car roadworthy again at the last second. Vettel had missed the first two rounds of the season due to a positive coronary test and is making a late start to the season in Melbourne.

Vettel’s teammate Lance Stroll also retired in the first section of qualifying. The Canadian collided heavily with his compatriot Nicholas Latifi of Williams. Both North Americans destroyed their cars in the crash, which led to a lengthy interruption. This was the only reason why Vettel was still able to drive.

Schumacher in Q2

Mick Schumacher finished 15th in the Haas, but distanced his strong team mate Kevin Magnussen, who finished 17th.

Before the third round of the season this Sunday, Leclerc (45 points) leads the overall World Championship standings ahead of Carlos Sainz (33) in the second Ferrari and defending champion Verstappen (25).