Perez on pole for Miami GP, Leclerc crashes in Q3

 Perez on pole for Miami GP, Leclerc crashes in Q3

Sergio Pérez will start the 2023 FIA Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix from the front of the grid after the Red Bull driver’s first flying lap of Q3 proved good enough for pole position due to a crash for Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc on his final run of the top-10 shooout. The incident brought out the red flags and the session wasn’t resumed meaning no driver managed to get in a final lap. Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso qualified in P2 ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, while championship leader Max Verstappen will start from ninth place on the grid. 

In Q1, Vertstappen took P1 with his first lap of the session, thanks to a lap of 1:28.424. The champion was soon beaten by Pérez  who set a time of 1:28.306. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc then split the Red Bull pair with a lap of 1:28.422, just 0.002 ahead of Verstappen and a little over a tenth off Pérez . 

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, was heading back to the pit lane. The Mercedes driver came across the slow Haas of Kevin Magnussen and to avoid a collision, Hamilton had to swerve and clip the wall. He was soon back on track, however, with no serious damage detected. 

Verstappen was on another hot lap, though, and he took over at the top with a lap of 1:27.363. Pérez  also improved and moved back to second place, 0.350s behind his team-mate and more than a tenth ahead of Leclerc. In the final moments, Sainz moved 0.003s ahead of Pérez with Leclerc fourth ahead of Magnussen, while Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who had needed a good final lap, jumped from last to fifth with his last effort. 

Ruled out at the end of the first segment were McLaren’s Lando Norris in P16, followed by AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tusnoda, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and local hero Logan Sargeant of Williams. 

Verstappen and Pérez were first on track at the start of Q2 with both on new soft tyres. Verstappen was first across the line with a lap of 1:27.100. Pérez was right behind his team-mate on track and he followed Max on the timesheet too, slotting into P2, just over two tenths off the champion. 

Once again, Sainz split the Red Bull drivers on the first runs, 0.038s behind Max and just under two tenths ahead of Pérez. Alonso was fourth, with Leclerc in fifth. 

With a minute left on the clock Leclerc jumped up to P1 with a final lap of 1:26.964. Verstappen was, however, setting personal bests across his final lap and the Red Bull driver returned to P1 with a lap of 1:26.814. Alonso took third behind Leclerc, with Sainz in fourth. Pérez eased through to the top-10 shootout in fifth place. 

There was no place in the final segment of Qualifying for Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes driver was ruled out in P13. Also out were Williams’ Alex Albon in P11 followed by Haas’ Nico Hülkenberg , with Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu behind Hamilton and AlphaTauri’s Nyck de Vries in P15. 

At the start of the top-10 shootout Verstappen was forced to abandon his first flying lap after making a mistake in Turn 5. That left the door open for Pérez and the Mexican took provisional pole with a lap of 1:26.841. 

In the final runs, Verstappen led his team-mate out of the garage but neither would get a chance at a final flyer. Ahead of the Red Bulls, Leclerc began his final flyer, but the Monegasque driver lost control in Turn 6 and spun backwards across the run-off and into the barriers. With just 1m36s left on the clock and no time for drivers to complete a warm-up lap if the clock was restarted, Race Control ended the session and Pérez  took the third pole position of his career and his second of 2023. 

Behind the Mexican, Alonso claimed his second front row start of the year with second place and Sainz took third. Magnussen profited from the misfortunes around him to take a surprise fourth place ahead of Alpine’s Pierre Gasly, Mercedes’ George Russell and Leclerc. Max, meanwhile, will launch a fight back towards the front from ninth place on the grid behind the Alpine of Esteban Ocon. 

2023 FIA Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix – Qualifying 
1 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Racing 1:26.841 
2 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:27.202 0.361
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:27.349 0.508
4 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:27.767 0.926
5 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:27.786 0.945
6 George Russell Mercedes 1:27.804 0.963
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:27.861 1.020
8 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:27.935 1.094
9 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 
10 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 
11 Alex Albon Williams 1:27.795 0.954
12 Nico Hulkenberg Haas 1:27.903 1.062
13 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:27.975 1.134
14 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:28.091 1.250
15 Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri 1:28.395 1.554
16 Lando Norris McLaren 1:28.394 1.553
17 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1:28.429 1.588
18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:28.476 1.635
19 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:28.484 1.643
20 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:28.577 1.736

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