Max Verstappen grabbed pole position for Formula 1's Qatar GP ahead of Lando Norris before both McLaren drivers got their lap times deleted after the session.

The session at the Losail circuit was dominated by track limits transgressions, plus the drivers struggling for rear grip around the high-speed layout.

Verstappen posted a 1m23.778s on his first run in Q3, which turned out to be the pole time as he lost the rear of his RB19 going through Turn 5 on his second attempt.

Norris had already lost a lap time to track limits in Q1 and this occurred again on his first Q3 flier, where like Verstappen he went too wide at Turn 5.

He initially got to within 0.3s of Verstappen's leading with his second Q3 attempt, but edging out too wide through the long Turn 10 left proved to be costly for Norris and he was dropped back to 10th.

Norris's errors promoted Mercedes driver George Russell to second, ahead of Oscar Piastri and Lewis Hamilton, who had been second after the first Q3 runs but abandoned his second go after a wild oversteer moment at Turn 7 sent him off track.

But Piastri's lap time was also deleted while he was interviewed post-session, moving Hamilton up to third on the grid. Piastri will start sixth.

Fernando Alonso took fifth for Aston Martin ahead of Charles Leclerc, who also abandoned his second Q3 flier after needing two attempts to set a time on the first runs in the final segment as he went off at Turn 4 – a spot of repeated issue for the Ferrari driver throughout qualifying.

Alpine's Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon finished seventh and eighth, ahead of Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas and the demoted Norris.

In Q2, Yuki Tsunoda topped the list of those eliminated, with Carlos Sainz and Sergio the high-profile early fallers ahead of Alex Albon and Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg.

Sainz could not gain time switching to new softs late in the middle segment – abandoning his first lap after a moment at Turn 7 and getting involved in an incident with Verstappen where Sainz appeared to repeatedly cut in front of the Red Bull's line as they prepared for their final Q2 efforts.

This incident will be investigated now qualifying has concluded.

Perez was knocked out after losing his best time – one that only had him on the fringes of the Q2 top 10 anyway – and was deleted for slipping beyond track limits at Turn 5 on his final effort.

In Q1, Albon's last gasp improvement knocked his Williams team-mate Logan Sargeant out by just 0.092s with the American driver ruing losing time in the high-speed corners in the track's final sector.

Behind came Lance Stroll in the second Aston, ahead of Liam Lawson, Kevin Magnussen and Zhou Guanyu.

Hamilton, Tsunoda, Lawson and Piastri also face a post-qualifying investigation for possibly failing to follow the race director's instructions regarding the maximum lap time aimed to reduce traffic issues in qualifying.

 
 
     
Driver Info
 
 
 
   
Cla Driver # Chassis Engine Time km/h
1 Netherlands M. Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1 Red Bull Red Bull 1'23.778 231.182
2 United Kingdom G. Russell Mercedes 63 Mercedes Mercedes +0.441 229.971
3 United Kingdom L. Hamilton Mercedes 44 Mercedes Mercedes +0.527 229.737
4 Spain F. Alonso Aston Martin Racing 14 Aston Martin Mercedes +0.591 229.562
5 Monaco C. Leclerc Ferrari 16 Ferrari Ferrari +0.646 229.413
6 Australia O. Piastri McLaren 81 McLaren Mercedes +0.762 229.098
7 France P. Gasly Alpine 10 Alpine Renault +0.775 229.063
8 France E. Ocon Alpine 31 Alpine Renault +0.985 228.495
9 Finland V. Bottas Alfa Romeo 77 Alfa Romeo Ferrari +1.280 227.703
10 United Kingdom L. Norris McLaren 4 McLaren Mercedes    
11 Japan Y. Tsunoda AlphaTauri 22 AlphaTauri Red Bull +1.523 227.054
12 Spain C. Sainz Ferrari 55 Ferrari Ferrari +1.550 226.982
13 Mexico S. Perez Red Bull Racing 11 Red Bull Red Bull +1.684 226.627
14 Thailand A. Albon Williams 23 Williams Mercedes +1.929 225.979
15 Germany N. Hulkenberg Haas F1 Team 27 Haas Ferrari +2.005 225.779
16 United States L. Sargeant Williams 2 Williams Mercedes +2.432 224.660
17 Canada L. Stroll Aston Martin Racing 18 Aston Martin Mercedes +2.567 224.309
18 New Zealand L. Lawson AlphaTauri 40 AlphaTauri Red Bull +2.857 223.558
19 Denmark K. Magnussen Haas F1 Team 20 Haas Ferrari +3.268 222.503
20 China G. Zhou Alfa Romeo 24 Alfa Romeo Ferrari +3.654 221.520