Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen goes from first place on the grid in the Australian Grand Prix.
The 25-year-old Dutchman secured pole position in Melbourne and underlined his role as favorite for the race on Sunday (7 a.m. / Sky).
In his Red Bull, the defending champion edged out Brit George Russell in a Mercedes to second place. Verstappen drove the fastest lap in 1:16.732 minutes, Russell was 0.236 seconds behind. Third was record world champion Lewis Hamilton in the second Mercedes. Nico Hülkenberg finished tenth in the Haas racing car.
Before the third round of the season, defending champion Verstappen leads the overall standings by one point over his team-mate Sergio Perez. So far, both have won one Grand Prix each. Perez secured first place on the grid two weeks ago in Saudi Arabia, but retired early in Melbourne. He probably slipped off the track due to engine brake problems and had to start from the back without a lap time.
In 2015, at the age of just 17, Verstappen became the youngest Formula 1 driver in history to make his debut on the tradition-steeped track in Albert Park. The dominator has never won in Australia, only once he made it onto the podium. The last victory for Red Bull in Melbourne was taken by Sebastian Vettel twelve years ago.