Max Verstappen matched Ayrton Senna’s all-time record of eight consecutive pole positions by beating both McLaren drivers in Imola.

Despite struggling for balance with his Red Bull throughout practice, the world champion managed to take pole position by less than a tenth of a second.

Oscar Piastri took second just ahead of McLaren team mate Lando Norris. However, Piastri is facing an investigation and likely penalty for impeding Kevin Magnussen in the opening phase of qualifying.


Teams were greeted with virtually identical conditions for the start of qualifying that they had for the three practice sessions, with sunny skies and warm ambient temperatures of around 23C. Following his crash in final practice, Fernando Alonso was able to participate in the session after Aston Martin completed repairs to his car.

Charles Leclerc set the early pace on medium compound tyres with a 1’16.463, two tenths of a second quicker than Lewis Hamilton’s first effort on softs. Lando Norris used soft tyres to go quicker than Leclerc with a 1’16.194, before Max Verstappen’s first effort saw him go to the top of the times with a 1’16.013.

Final practice pace-setter Oscar Piastri was the first driver in the 1’15s with his first push lap on soft tyres. Both Ferrari drivers opted to attempt a second flying lap on the same set of mediums they had used for their first attempts. Sainz improved to fourth, while Leclerc also improved to sixth.

Heading into the final minutes of the session, Alonso was the first driver at risk of elimination in 16th after running off the track at the exit of Tamburello and bouncing across the gravel. Both Haas drivers, Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg, were also at right, with Zhou Guanyu and Logan Sargeant alos in need of improving.

Alonso abandoned his final lap attempt and was eliminated in 19th on the grid. Sargeant improved but not by enough, but his final lap was deleted for a track limits violation, dropping him to last with no valid lap times. The Williams driver lost an earlier effort after going off at the exit of Villeneuve.

Magnussen was unable to follow his team mate Hulkenberg in Q2 after complaining that he was impeded by Piastri on his final attempt. The stewards announced Piastri would be investigated after qualifying. Hulkenberg’s progression eliminated Valtteri Bottas, who joined team mate Zhou back in the Sauber garage at the end of Q1.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Q1 result

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free


With both Ferraris making it through into Q2 on the medium rubber, Sainz and Leclerc now had an extra set of soft tyres available to use for the final two phases of qualifying. They put them to use immediately as Leclerc used a fresh set to go quickest of all after the first Q2 runs with a 1’15.328.

While Verstappen was a few hundredths of a second slower than the Ferrari, he was not closest to Leclerc. That was Yuki Tsunoda, whose first run left him just 0.030s off the Ferrari, while the two McLarens of Piastri and Norris sat fourth and fifth.

As the field returned to the pits to prepare for their second laps, Williams took advantage of the clear track to give Alexander Albon an early second run on soft tyres. He improved on his position but only up to 12th, having equalled George Russell’s lap time in the Mercedes, but he was now sure not to progress into Q3.

Both McLarens, and Verstappen in the Red Bull, chose to run on used softs for their last attempts, while the Ferraris opted for fresh tyres. Both Mercedes of Russell and Lewis Hamilton used fresh tyres to improve into the top ten, with Sergio Perez falling into danger in 11th place.

Perez could not improve by enough on his final lap and missed out on the top ten by 0.015s, becoming the headline elimination from the second section of qualifying. Joining him out was Ocon in 12th ahead of Lance Stroll in 13th. Albon ended up in 14th by the end of the session with Pierre Gasly eliminated slowest in 15th.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Q2 result

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free


After Verstappen had posted the fastest time of the weekend at the end of Q2, it looked like there would be a close battle for pole position heading into the final shootout.

Verstappen was one of the first over the line to complete this first flying lap attempt and he managed to get under the 1’15 barrier for the first time with a 1’14.869. Norris was closest to him with his first effort, posting a time 0.073s slower than the world champion, while Leclerc was just as far away from Norris in third than Norris was from Verstappen.

Piastri sat in fourth after his first lap was almost three tenths slower than Verstappen, with Sainz in fifth, half a second off the pace. The two Mercedes of Russell and Hamilton were split by Tsunoda in the RB, while his tam mate Ricciardo opted for just a single push lap at the end of the session.

The Ferraris were the first over the line to complete their final push laps, but while both Leclerc and Sainz improved their times, neither gained any positions from their final efforts. Verstappen benefited from a slipstream from Hulkenberg at the start of his lap and improved over the lap to a 1’14.746.

Only the McLaren drivers had the potential to upset the Red Bull driver, but while both Piastri and Norris got within a tenth of Verstappen, they could not beat him. Verstappen’s eighth consecutive pole position equalled that of Ayrton Senna’s all-time record and also Alain Prost’s record of seven consecutive poles to start a season.

Piastri beat team mate Norris to second but is facing a likely penalty for impeding Magnussen in Q1. Leclerc took fourth for Ferrari ahead of team mate Sainz, with Russell the highest-placed Mercedes in sixth.

Tsunoda split the Mercedes in seventh as Hamilton failed to match his team mate’s time. Ricciardo’s sole effort put his in ninth, with Hulkenberg the slowest of the top 10 drivers.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Q3 result

2024 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

Browse all 2024 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here