Ferrari secured the inaugural pole of 2023 over Toyota during a fiercely competitive qualifying session at the season’s opening Grand Prix.
The Scuderia’s driver, Sebastian Vettel, clocked a blistering lap time of 1:17.922 to secure the first pole position of the year, edging out Toyota’s Fernando Alonso by a mere 0.042 seconds.
Vettel’s pole lap featured several high-speed corners, a testament to the high-performance capabilities of the team’s SF23 single-seater.
Toyota was quick to respond, with Alonso setting a string of fast laps in the closing stages of the session, but ultimately he was unable to match Vettel’s time.
The result marks a significant milestone for Ferrari, who have not tasted pole position since the 2019 season.
The session saw a number of other drivers register impressive times, including Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, who finished third and fourth respectively.
The 2023 Grand Prix has already seen a number of rule changes, including the introduction of new aerodynamic regulations and the adoption of an all-electric powertrain.
These changes have made for a more competitive field, with Ferrari and Toyota emerging as the early frontrunners.
Ferrari’s victory is a major boost for the Italian team, who will be hoping to carry their momentum into the race.
For Toyota, the result marks a missed opportunity to make a statement in the season opener, but the Japanese team is sure to be a formidable force throughout the year.