Miami Grand Prix qualifying, results, standings, Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Daniel Ricciardo, video clips
World championship leader Charles Leclerc clinched pole position and led Ferrari to a lockout in the front row on Saturday when he topped the times in qualifying for the inaugural Miami Grand Prix.
The 24-year-old Monegasque driver set the fastest lap in one minute and 28.796 seconds to edge his team-mate by two tenths in front of a sold-out cheering crowd at the Miami International Autodrome.
Reigning world champion Max Verstappen finished third after making a slight error on his last flying lap. His Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez was fourth, Valtteri Bottas fifth for Alfa Romeo and seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton sixth for Mercedes.
While Australian Daniel Ricciardo will start well back in 14th, with McLaren teammate Lando Norris leading in eighth.
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It was Leclerc’s third pole this year and the 12th of his career. For Sainz, this is the second time he has gotten a front row start. It was Ferrari’s first lockout on the front row since the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix.
“It’s amazing to be here and the fans are crazy,” said a delighted Leclerc. “It will be a big challenge tomorrow, but we are very motivated because there are so many Ferrari fans here. Hopefully we can come out on top!”
Verstappen, who in the championship and leads Leclerc by 27 points, swallowed his disappointment and said: “Overall I’m quite happy with qualifying as I only did four or five laps yesterday. But we have to start making those weekends less difficult.
Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly qualified seventh ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and Yuki Tsunoda in the second Alpha Tauri with Lance Stroll taking 10th for Aston Martin.
After his heavy shunt during the last practice of the morning, Esteban Ocon could not take part because his chassis had cracked on impact with the barriers at turn 14.
He was uninjured but expected to race Sunday’s 57-lap race from the back of the grid in a rebuilt car.
The opening Q1 session started in intense heat and humidity with an air temperature of 34 degrees and the track at 53 degrees, tiring conditions for everyone involved. The light breeze was welcome.
Kevin Magnussen set the opening pace before Verstappen took control, leading the early times ahead of Perez as Russell signaled that Mercedes had regained momentum by taking third place before Ferrari responded.
Hamilton, however, struggled to finish 18th before surging to fifth as former First Lady Michelle Obama surveyed his progress from the Mercedes garage.
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After a final flurry, Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou, Alex Albon and Williams team-mate Nicholas Latifi were knocked out, heavy traffic blunting their late attempts at survival.
– ‘I bounce back’ –
Q2 started with Mick Schumacher first out for Haas before Ferrari and then Red Bull set the pace, with Verstappen quickest ahead of Perez by four tenths. Hamilton took an early fifth place, but Russell struggled.
“I’m bouncing back,” Russell said after surviving a wild moment at turn six before taking seventh place as Leclerc was fastest in 1:9.130, a 0.072 advantage over Verstappen.
But it was not enough to survive the final race which dropped him to 12th behind the Alpine of double champion Fernando Alonso.
They missed the top-ten shootout with four-time champion Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin, McLaren’s Ricciardo and Haas’ Mick Schumacher.
Hamilton’s survival allowed Mercedes to avoid repeating the ignominy of failing to reach Q3 with either Imola car in April.
The shootout started with Leclerc in the lead before Verstappen clocked 1:28.991 – the fastest lap of the weekend so far – with Sainz in third.
The top three were separated by 0.080 after their opening races with Perez fourth ahead of Bottas and Hamilton.
That left them all poised to push again in their final races for pole as Ferrari led the way and Verstappen, pushing hard, failed to respond.
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