Verstappen pips Leclerc to pole for Miami Grand Prix

Verstappen pips Leclerc to pole for Miami Grand Prix

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen narrowly beat Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to pole for the 2024 FIA Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix in a close session in which both drivers said it was impossible to put in a clean lap. Carlos Sainz took third place in the other Ferrari, with Sergio Pérez fourth in the other Red Bull. 

 

“It has just been extremely difficult to put a lap in where everything just works,” said Verstappen after he beat Leclerc by just 0.141s in the tight session For some reason it's just extremely difficult to make the tyres work around the whole lap. Yeah, sometimes you have little moments here and there and it's just not very consistent, let's say it like that. And that makes it very difficult to, let's say, try and hit a perfect lap.”

 

Leclerc agreed, adding: “Tyres, especially in the second sector, are very inconsistent. And there are quite a few corners where you don't really know what you're going to get. And that makes it very, very difficult. So it was a very tricky qualifying. But second is not a bad place to start the race.”

 

Sainz took an early P1 ahead of team-mate Leclerc thanks to a lap of 1:28.159 and Pérez slotted into third place on 1:28.288 ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell. Verstappen was one of the last out on track for his first run and the Dutchman sounded a note of caution as he embarked on his out lap, saying his clutch “didn’t sound very good”. He quickly eased those concerns, however, with an opening flyer of 1:28.023 that put him 0.136 ahead of Sainz. 

 

Sainz, though, was already out for his second run and the Spanish driver reclaimed P1 with a lap of 1:27.937. McLaren’s Lando Norris then moved to P2, eight hundredths of a second off the Ferrari driver, but Pérez was also on another hot lap though and the Mexican found a big improvement as he lowered the benchmark to 1:27.772. Verstappen had the last word, though, and the champion took P1 with a lap of 1:27.689, just under a tenth clear of Pérez. Norris claimed an eventual third place on 1:27.913 with Sainz in fourth. 

 

The shock faller at the end of the session was RB’s Daniel Ricciardo. After his heroics with P4 in the earlier Sprint, the Australian found his best Q1 time of 1:28.617 was only good enough for P18 behind Sauber’s Valtteri Bottas and Williams’ Logan Sargeant who went out in P16 and P17 respectively. Ricciardo’s race will also be hampered by a three-place grid penalty for an incident at the Chinese Grand Prix. Also ruled out behind the RB driver were Haas’ Kevin Magnussen in P19 and last-placed Sauber driver Zhou Guanyu.

 

The Red Bull drivers emerged in Q2 on used tyres and Pérez’s opener – almost half a second off his Q1 best – was only good enough for seventh place, while Verstappen had to settle for P5. Leclerc went quickest with a time of 1:27.533 on new tyres, ahead of McLaren's Oscar Piastri, with Norris third ahead of Sainz. 

 

And even with fresh rubber on board, Verstappen could not match Leclerc and he crossed the line in 1:27.566 to finish in P2 ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Piastri. Pérez eased through to Q3 in fifth place, ahead of Norris who gambled successfully with a set of used Medium tyres for his final run.

 

Out at this stage went Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, who was eliminated in P11 ahead of the Alpine cars of Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, the Williams of Alex Albon and the second Aston of Fernando Alonso. 

 

Verstappen wasn’t to be denied a sixth pole from six qualifying sessions in 2024 however. Pérez initially took top spot with a time of 1:27.754, but the Dutchman went a full half a second quicker than his team-mate to stop the clock at 1:27.241. 

 

That time proved to be untouchable. Leclerc got closest, 0,141s behind, while Sainz took third place on 1:27.455. Pérez improved on his final run to take fourth thanks to a lap of 1:27.460. McLaren’s Norris and Piastri will line up fifth and sixth respectively ahead of the Mercedes cars of Russell and Hamilton. Yuki Tsunoda will start in P9 ahead of Haas’ Nico Hülkenberg. 

2024 FIA Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix – Qualifying 
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:27.241 - -
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:27.382 0.141 
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:27.455 0.214 
4 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Racing 1:27.460 0.219 
5 Lando Norris McLaren 1:27.594 0.353 
6 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:27.675 0.434 
7 George Russell Mercedes 1:28.067 0.826 
8 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:28.107 0.866 
9 Nico Hülkenberg Haas 1:28.146 0.905 
10 Yuki Tsunoda RB 1:28.192 0.951 
11 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:28.222 0.981 
12 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:28.324 1.083 
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:28.371 1.130 
14 Alexander Albon Williams 1:28.413 1.172 
15 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:28.427 1.186 
16 Valtteri Bottas Kick Sauber 1:28.463 1.222 
17 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:28.487 1.246 
18 Daniel Ricciardo RB 1:28.617 1.376 
19 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:28.619 1.378 
20 Zhou Guanyu Kick Sauber 1:28.824 1.583 

 


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