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FACTS AND STATS: Tsunoda bags best qualifying of the year, as RB get two cars into Q3 at their home race

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Sean Kelly
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IMOLA, ITALY - MAY 17: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and Visa Cash App RB and Yuki Tsunoda of Japan

Max Verstappen might have struggled on Friday in Imola, but on Saturday he was back to his imperious best. The Dutchman continued his streak of pole positions, despite being put under huge pressure from the McLaren duo of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris – and he grabbed a very special record to boot. It was a pretty good day for RB, too. Here are some of the best facts and stats from Imola qualifying…

  • Verstappen ties Ayrton Senna’s F1 record of eight consecutive poles.

  • He also ties Alain Prost’s record of seven consecutive poles at the start of any F1 season.

  • Piastri was second, and was set for his second career front-row start for a Grand Prix after Suzuka in 2023. That was until a three-place grid penalty post-session for impeding.

READ MORE: Verstappen hails last-minute set-up changes after claiming surprise Imola pole and equalling Senna’s record

  • Norris was third, missing out on pole by less than a tenth of a second. He continues his run of qualifying two positions higher with each Imola appearance (ninth, seventh, fifth and now third).

  • After Piastri's penalty, Norris will start the Grand Prix second, for McLaren’s first Imola front row since Kimi Raikkonen in 2005.

  • Charles Leclerc bagged fourth, but he has never won a race from below the front row of the grid.

  • Carlos Sainz was fifth, and has now been out-qualified by his team mate 4-2 in Grands Prix this season.

IMOLA, ITALY - MAY 18: Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1)

Verstappen grabbed his seventh pole in seven races so far this season

  • George Russell qualified P6, for Mercedes’ first top-six start since the opening race in Bahrain.

  • Yuki Tsunoda bagged his highest start of the season with seventh, as his RB team mate Daniel Ricciardo bagged his first Q3 appearance of the season.

  • Lewis Hamilton made it to Q3 despite coming within 0.022s of being eliminated in Q1.

  • Nico Hulkenberg was P10, having made Q3 for the third straight race.

READ MORE: Verstappen grabs unexpected pole position in Imola ahead of Piastri and Norris

  • Sergio Perez could only manage 11th, the first time he’s failed to make Q3 this year at a venue that saw him make his maiden front-row start back in 2021.

  • Esteban Ocon grabbed 12th on the grid, tying Alpine’s best start of the season. Pierre Gasly also started 12th in Miami – the only time he has out-qualified his team mate this season.

IMOLA, ITALY - MAY 18: A detail view of the car of Fernando Alonso of Spain and Aston Martin F1

Alonso had a day to forget in Imola, as he qualified in a lowly P19

  • Lance Stroll out-qualified his team mate for the third time this season and second race in succession.

  • Alex Albon qualified 14th for the fourth consecutive race.

  • Valtteri Bottas was 16th, for the fourth time this season.

READ MORE: Alonso braced for ‘extremely tough’ race in Imola on weekend where ‘everything has gone wrong’

  • Zhou Guanyu has yet to make it out of Q1 this season, as Kevin Magnussen was eliminated in Q1 for the fourth straight race.

  • Fernando Alonso suffered just his second Q1 elimination since joining Aston Martin – the previous one being Austin in 2023.

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