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All you need to know about F1's qualifying rules

Formula 1 qualifying is one of the most important parts of a Grand Prix weekend. Where drivers finish in qualifying determines how the grid lines up for the race on Sunday. Qualifying is divided into three parts, in which the starting positions for the race are determined by the drivers' fastest lap times.

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The Saturday qualifying session is split between three separate knockout phases in which the slowest five drivers are steadily eliminated. The positions at the end of the final session determine the starting grid for the Sunday race.

Q1 - All 20 drivers begin this session, during which they have 18 minutes to get laps in, with the slowest five drivers dropping out and their grid spots for Sunday locked in.

Q2 - The remaining 15 drivers move into the second part of the qualifying battle, with just 15 minutes now on the clock to set the fastest lap possible and the slowest five drivers again being knocked out at the end of the session.

Q3 - In this final 12-minute sprint, the remaining 10 drivers fight it out for the fastest time and pole position.

After qualifying, grid penalties regularly get handed out to drivers who have broken the rules in one of two ways: via a behavioural infringement or breaching technical regulations.

For example, if the driver who qualified on pole receives a five-place grid penalty, they would start from P6. Other affected positions on the grid are changed accordingly.

What about qualifying on F1 Sprint weekends?

After successful trials in 2021, there will be three more Sprint weekends in 2022, at Imola, the Red Bull Ring and Interlagos.

The schedule will be different for these Grands Prix, with the traditional qualifying session taking place on Friday evening and the 'Sprint' race on Saturday afternoon.

Qualifying determines the grid for the Sprint, with the result of the Sprint (a 100km race lasting around 25-30 minutes) confirming the grid for Sunday's Grand Prix.

In a change to the system for 2022, the driver who sets the fastest time in qualifying will now be recognised as the pole-sitter, with this previously going to the winner of the Sprint.

Another change will see the top eight finishers in the Sprint score points, ranging from eight to one – compared to only the top three last season.

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