until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Verstappen sees off Ferraris for Miami GP pole

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

Formula 1 points leader Max Verstappen took his first Miami Grand Prix pole position by seeing off a challenge from Charles Leclerc in qualifying on Saturday.

Verstappen - who won the two previous Miami Grands Prix without starting either from the front row - beat Leclerc by 0.141s.

The Red Bull driver didn't improve on his second Q3 push, going two tenths slower, but his Ferrari adversary was likewise unable to even match his own opening attempt.

And the same was also true for Leclerc's team-mate Carlos Sainz, who will line up third on the grid.

Verstappen's team-mate Sergio Perez did improve with a second Q3 attempt - by three tenths - and thus salvaged fourth on the grid, ahead of an all-McLaren row three.

Lando Norris qualified ahead of Oscar Piastri in that intra-McLaren battle, having initially tried the medium tyre - which he had set the fastest time of yesterday's sprint qualifying on - before pipping Piastri on the soft.

Two more drivers gambled on the medium in Q3: Mercedes duo George Russell and Lewis Hamilton.

And Hamilton did improve his time with the yellow-walled tyre - after his soft-tyre Q3 lap was ruined by a big slide - but still ended up just short of seventh-placed Russell.

Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg maintained a 50% Q3 hit rate this season in ninth, while Yuki Tsunoda (RB) concluded the Q3 order in 10th.

Lance Stroll made it a clean sweep of qualifying victories over Aston Martin team-mate Fernando Alonso in Miami, following up a half-a-tenth sprint qualifying gap with a more emphatic two-tenths Q2 defeat on Saturday.

It placed Stroll 11th and Alonso 15th, and the Canadian was just 0.022s away from making Q3.

Also mounting a credible Q3 challenge was Alpine, a more competitive package here than usual in 2024 - but hindered by neither driver improving on their final Q2 laps.

Pierre Gasly led the team in 12th, beating team-mate Esteban Ocon - by half a tenth - for the first time in a grand prix qualifying session this season.

Ocon will be joined on row seven by Alex Albon's Williams, which briefly stopped in Q2 as Albon stood on the brakes after failing to get the car turned through Turn 17, complaining of tyres not holding up through the lap.

Valtteri Bottas (Sauber) in 16th was just 0.01s off leaving Alonso's Aston stranded in Q1, and Logan Sargeant (Williams) was close to the cut-off as well.

Sargeant - yet to escape Q1 this season - was just a tenth and a bit off team-mate Albon in that session, concluding his final lap with an anguished "are we good? Please tell me we're in" message to his team before being informed he'd suffered a Q1 exit again.

Daniel Ricciardo's excellent sprint race was followed up with a damp squib of a grand prix qualifying - as he lapped three tenths off team-mate Tsunoda in Q1, saying he "had no rear".

It meant the 18th-fastest time for Ricciardo, and because of his grid penalty from the Chinese Grand Prix - in which he decided of his own accord to re-overtake Hulkenberg under the safety car and drew the ire of the stewards - he is provisionally on course to start last.

The two drivers he outpaced were Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and Zhou Guanyu (Sauber).

Magnussen lamented "all these cars" queuing up to start their final laps as he was finishing his own, clearly compromised by the traffic.

And Zhou was four tenths off Bottas, while also becoming the subject of two separate stewards' investigations over forcing his Sauber ahead of Ricciardo's RB in the fast lane of the pits, and crossing the white line on pit exit.

Qualifying Results

1Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPT1m27.689s1m27.566s1m27.241s
2Charles LeclercFerrari1m28.081s1m27.533s1m27.382s
3Carlos SainzFerrari1m27.937s1m27.941s1m27.455s
4Sergio PérezRed Bull-Honda RBPT1m27.772s1m27.839s1m27.460s
5Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1m27.913s1m27.871s1m27.594s
6Oscar PiastriMcLaren-Mercedes1m28.032s1m27.721s1m27.675s
7George RussellMercedes1m28.159s1m28.095s1m28.067s
8Lewis HamiltonMercedes1m28.167s1m27.697s1m28.107s
9Nico HülkenbergHaas-Ferrari1m28.383s1m28.200s1m28.146s
10Yuki TsunodaRB-Honda RBPT1m28.324s1m28.167s1m28.192s
11Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1m28.177s1m28.222s
12Pierre GaslyAlpine-Renault1m27.976s1m28.324s
13Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1m28.209s1m28.371s
14Alex AlbonWilliams-Mercedes1m28.343s1m28.413s
15Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-Mercedes1m28.453s1m28.427s
16Valtteri BottasSauber-Ferrari1m28.463s
17Logan SargeantWilliams-Mercedes1m28.487s
18Daniel RicciardoRB-Honda RBPT1m28.617s
19Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1m28.619s
20Guanyu ZhouSauber-Ferrari1m28.824s
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