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PREVIEW: It's F1® Qualifying day at Albert Park

Phil Branagan
Friday, 22 March 2024

Day 3 of the FORMULA 1 ROLEX AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX 2024 promises to be one of the most memorable on the Australian motor racing calendar, with the Formula 1® grid set to be formed for Sunday’s race.

With Max Verstappen already claiming pole position in the opening two rounds of the season, the sole Practice session for the day, at 12:30 pm, is of particular importance.

Teams will need to fine-tune their cars to get the maximum speed for both Qualifying and the race, as no major adjustments are permitted prior to Sunday.


Verstappen has not had Qualifying all to himself at Albert Park, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc taking pole two years ago. Nothing would make the Ferrari faithful happier than to see a red car start at the front in Melbourne again.

He managed to top the champion in Friday's Practice; will a Ferrari finish in pole position during the one-hour Qualifying session, which is set for 4:00 pm?

With the form of the McLaren-Mercedes pair of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris, the race looks a better bet than Qualifying, the orange cars looking very good over a longer run. Piastri could be the man to end the hoodoo of Australian drivers standing on the Albert Park podium.

WATCH: Sh*t F1® Questions

But that is far from the only F1® action for the day. How about Doohan vs Doohan? Yes, five-time World 500cc champion Mick Doohan and his son Jack will stage race of their own, father on a production MotoGP™ Honda RCV213 and son in a Benetton B200 from 2000.

The special moment will take to the track at 9:55 am and again at 3:15 pm.

Formula 2® and Formula 3® will have the first of their two races. The F3® Sprint race over 20 laps will start at 11:15 am, with Italians Leonardo Fornaroli and Gabriele Minì on the front row of the grid. Aussie drivers Christian Mansell and Tommy Smith will start from ninth and 30th, respectively.

In F2®, the 20-lap Sprint race is due to start at 2:15 pm. In Qualifying, the cars of Dennis Hauger and Kimi Antonelli emerged from a red-flagged Qualifying session to seal the front row spots, and the race looks like it will be between them.

Two Qualifying sessions for the MSS Security Supersprint will actually kick off the on-track activities at 9:00 am, starting with the Qualifying session for Race 3 and then Race 4 (which will take place on Sunday). The 14-lap race will start at 5:35 pm, and Will Brown and Broc Feeney, who have already split the Thursday and Friday wins, look to be the favourites; the Red Bull Chevrolet drivers maintain the team’s unbeaten record in the opening two rounds.

In Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup, the third and final race for the Porsche 911s will start at 6:25 pm, with Harri Jones the favourite to clean-sweep the weekend after two dominant wins on Thursday and Friday.

View Saturday's complete schedule.