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Max Verstappen poked fun at his rivals after learning that he will take pole position in Saturday’s sprint after a “terrible” qualifying session.

Verstappen beat Charles Leclerc to pole despite a messy third sector, with Sergio Perez finishing P3. Lando Norris had initially led qualifying but endured a tough final run.

Informed that he was taking pole position, Verstappen laughed down the team radio: “LOL. What happened to the others? This was terrible. I mean, I will take it!”

The 26-year-old later added: “It felt really terrible. Maybe that last session was just incredibly difficult to get the tyres to work.

“Already in SQ2, I didn’t feel great. SQ3, it just felt quite similar for me. I didn’t really improve on the soft. Somehow we were first. Of course, I happily take it.

“But it didn’t feel enjoyable out there to drive for whatever reason because in practice it felt really, really nice, I was very comfortable and confident, qualifying, not so much.”

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