Leclerc leads Ferrari 1-2 in Miami qualifying

Charles Leclerc led a Scuderia Ferrari 1-2 in Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix qualifying ahead of Carlos Sainz, while a last-lap mistake from Max Verstappen dropped the defending champion from provisional pole to third position.

Verstappen led after the first runs in Q3 with a time of one minute, 28.991 seconds, with Leclerc and Sainz trailing – just 0.080 seconds covering all three.

On the final runs, Leclerc headed the pack and was up on his own personal best time from the off, then taking the best time in the middle sector to roar to a one minute, 28.796 seconds.

Running behind, Sainz registered a stunning first sector 0.2 seconds quicker than his teammate, but he lost time as the lap went on and he ended up 0.190 seconds adrift.

But that was still enough to slot him ahead of Verstappen’s run one time, which secured second position on the grid for Sunday’s race as the Red Bull driver abandoned his final effort.

Verstappen had to catch a massive oversteer snap he encountered after throwing his RB18 through the fast, flowing Turns 5 and 6, sliding off at the latter corner and winding up 0.6 seconds down on Leclerc in sector one – after which he toured back to the finish line and accepting his defeat with the note that he “fucked it”.

Sergio Perez took fourth for Red Bull ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.

Pierre Gasly took seventh, with Lando Norris, Yuki Tsunoda and Lance Stroll rounding out the top ten.

In Q2, Fernando Alonso set his best time right at the end, but could not reach the top ten shootout as he was eliminated in P11, on spot ahead of FP2 pace-setter George Russell.

Russell went for most of Q2 without a time on the board as he struggled with wild oversteer snaps through the track’s flowing first sector and porpoising elsewhere, but finally reached the top ten with his final effort.

But that came nearly two minutes before the middle segment of qualifying had finished and he did not have enough time to return to the pits for fresh tyres and so was pushed down the order and eliminated.

He finished ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who lost time by sliding out of the chicane at the end of the second sector for his P13 result, ahead of McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo and Haas driver Mick Schumacher.

In Q1, a series of late improvements from several drivers languishing down the order after the early running – including Hamilton and Alonso – shuffled Kevin Magnussen down to P16 and out.

Zhou Guanyu was knocked out in P17, frustrated to hit heavy traffic at the final corners of his last flying lap, describing the scenes as “dangerous” and urging Alfa Romeo to report the incident to the sport’s governing body, the FIA.

Williams had hoped Alex Albon could replicate his strong speed FP3, where he finished ninth, but he rued not setting personal best times in the final two sectors of his last lap, which left him down in P18.

That was ahead of Nicholas Latifi in the other Williams, who set a personal best right at the very end of Q1 but could not climb off the back row of the grid for Sunday’s main event.

Esteban Ocon took no part in qualifying after a crack was discovered in his chassis following his heavy crash at the chicane in FP3 and he will start the race last as a result.

So congratulations to Ferrari with this front row lock-out. Championship leader Charles Leclerc achieved a brilliant pole position to beat Max Verstappen and edged ahead of his teammate Carlos Sainz. Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix is going to be interesting as this is the first time the drivers will go racing. Hopefully a good race on Sunday.

Qualifying times, Miami:
1 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:28.796
2 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:28.986
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:28.991
4 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:29.036
5 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1:29.475
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:29.625
7 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1:29.690
8 Lando Norris McLaren 1:29.750
9 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 1:29.932
10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:30.676
11 Fernando Alonso Alpine 1:30.160
12 George Russell Mercedes 1:30.173
13 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1:30.214
14 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1:30.310
15 Mick Schumacher Haas 1:30.423
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:30.975
17 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:31.020
18 Alex Albon Williams 1:31.266
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams 1:31.325
20 Esteban Ocon Alpine No time

3 thoughts to “Leclerc leads Ferrari 1-2 in Miami qualifying”

  1. Qualifying review as reported by

    Charles Leclerc took pole position in a stunning battle for pole at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix qualifying session, his title rival Max Verstappen settling for third on the grid – while Carlos Sainz backed up a Ferrari one-two.

    Leclerc aced the first two qualifying sessions but Verstappen was closing in, setting up a grandstand finish in the top-10 shootout. Q3 saw the reigning champion take provisional pole but Leclerc eclipsed him for a final pole time of 1m 28.796s, Sainz filing in second by 0.190s.

    Verstappen made a mistake in his final flying lap and was eventually third, just 0.005s behind Sainz, while Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez took P4.

    Valtteri Bottas, a new Ferrari power unit in his Alfa Romeo, delivered with P5 – ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who was sixth despite having had to put in a quick final lap in Q1 to avoid elimination.

    Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda both made it to Q3 for AlphaTauri, the Frenchman qualifying seventh and the Japanese driver ninth. Between them was Lando Norris, eighth in qualifying despite going P3 in Q2. Lance Stroll rounded out the top 10 for Aston Martin.

    Alpine’s Fernando Alonso missed out on Q3 in P11, ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell – who dealt with severe porpoising in Q2 – while Sebastian Vettel was disappointed to take P13 for Aston Martin. Gear shift issues for Daniel Ricciardo put him 14th on the grid for McLaren, while Mick Schumacher was last in Q2, finishing P15 on Saturday.

    His Haas team mate Kevin Magnussen (P16) missed out on Q2 by a tenth, and Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu took P17 having been compromised by traffic in his final flying run. Neither Williams driver made it out of Q1, Alex Albon taking P18 and Nicholas Latifi 19th.

    Esteban Ocon did not take part in qualifying after his FP3 crash and is likely to start Sunday’s Grand Prix from the pit lane.

    Q1 – Leclerc strikes first as Hamilton avoids shock elimination

    Miami had plenty of drama still to offer after three action-packed practice sessions, Esteban Ocon absent from qualifying after his FP3 crash – meaning there would be 19 drivers taking part in the first-ever Miami Grand Prix qualifying session.

    Verstappen set the early benchmark in Q1 but times tumbled, Charles Leclerc eclipsing him to go top with a time of 1m 29.474s, the Red Bull driver then improving to go second by 0.362s. Carlos Sainz was third and six-tenths off his team mate while Perez took fourth, another two-tenths behind.

    Lewis Hamilton abandoned his first effort and a subsequent lap was deleted for track limits, putting the Mercedes driver in the drop zone with time ticking down. But he jumped from P18 to P5 with his last-gasp effort, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso also joining him in Q2 with a late flyer for P6.

    Lance Stroll was a surprise seventh for Aston Martin, keeping a rapid Yuki Tsunoda behind by half a tenth, while Mercedes’ George Russell (P9) and McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top 10.

    Mick Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly made it out of Q1 along with 15th place Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas, the Finn through at the expense of Haas’S Kevin Magnussen.

    Along with Magnussen, Alfa Romeo’s frustrated rookie Zhou Guanyu – bailing out of his final effort due to traffic – was eliminated, as were Williams drivers Alex Albon (P18 due to insufficient tyre warm-up) and Nicholas Latifi (P19).

    Knocked out: Magnussen, Zhou, Albon, Latifi

    Q2 – Leclerc piles on the pressure as the midfield melee erupts

    Fifteen drivers remained, Ferrari with the edge over Red Bull with grip and tension ramping up in equal measure. Both Ferraris emerged on used softs; both Red Bulls on new softs to start the session. First forays saw Verstappen top with a time of 1m 29.202s and Perez second by 0.471s, the Ferraris half a tenth behind in third and fourth.

    In the provisional drop zone was Stroll, Schumacher, Vettel, Ricciardo and Russell, who backed out of two efforts with the car porpoising heavily. With six minutes remaining, Russell was still in P15 without a time on the board; Ricciardo was 14th thanks to a gear shift issue on his lap.

    Further runs would see the pack shuffle, the Scuderia re-emerging for Leclerc to go top again with a time of 1m 29.130s, Verstappen now 0.072s behind. Norris jumped to P3 with a late flyer, 0.504s off the pace, dropping Perez to P4 and Sainz to P5.

    Bottas rose to sixth ahead of former team mate Hamilton while an assured Stroll clinched Q3 for the first time since the Turkish GP, in P8. AlphaTauri duo Tsunoda (P9) and Gasly (P10) also made it through to Q3.

    That meant Alonso (who felt he was impeded by compatriot Carlos Sainz) missed out by just 0.032s – and Russell finished P12 amid severe porpoising, another 0.013s off the two-time champion. Although Vettel improved, he was just four-hundredths away in P13 having made a mistake in the chicane. Ricciardo could only manage P14, having been delayed getting out on track for his final run, while Schumacher rounded out the top 15 for Haas.

    Knocked out: Alonso, Russell, Vettel, Ricciardo, Schumacher

    Q3 – Verstappen and Leclerc face off and Sainz enters the fray

    The final 10 comprised seven teams, only Haas, Williams and Alpine missing out on Q3. And while Verstappen was closing in on Leclerc, this seemed the championship leader’s pole position to lose.

    First efforts however saw Verstappen make a break for P1 with a time of 1m 28.991s, with Leclerc just 0.064s off and Sainz 0.080s behind in the fight for provisional pole. Perez’s first effort put him half a second behind in P4.

    The tension was at fever pitch for the final flying laps in Q3, Perez allowing Verstappen past as the Red Bull pair geared up. Verstappen was now in the driving seat for pole.

    Leclerc improved in Sector 1, set a purple second sector, but couldn’t improve in his third. Yet, that would be enough for an eventual time of 1m 28.796s and pole position as a frustrated Verstappen made a mistake and backed out of his final effort.

    Jumping to second was Sainz, the Spaniard denying Verstappen a front-row start and securing a Ferrari one-two in Miami, the Dutchman dropping to third ahead of team mate Perez.

    Bottas rounded out the top five ahead of Hamilton, while Gasly took seventh. And despite his Q2 heroics, Norris settled for P8. Tsunoda (P9) and Stroll will start in the top 10 for the inaugural Miami Grand Prix.

  2. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz admitted it was “not easy to get confidence back” after Miami practice shunt but he managed to qualify a solid P2. has the full details.

    Carlos Sainz said it “wasn’t easy at all to get the confidence back” for qualifying at the Miami Grand Prix after suffering a heavy crash during FP2.

    The Spaniard had a heavy crash in Friday’s second practice session, spinning and hitting an unprotected concrete wall on the outside of Turn 14.

    But he managed to regroup ahead of qualifying on Saturday and will line up second for tomorrow’s race behind teammate Charles Leclerc, with his quickest time just 0.19s off the pace.

    Asked how he had turned it around after his earlier accident, Sainz said: “Well, just building a bit from the pretty heavy crash yesterday, it wasn’t easy at all to get the confidence back in such a difficult circuit like it is this new one on Miami.

    “But yeah, kept it cool until Q3. I think I pulled out a couple of good laps. Not quite enough for pole position, but given from where I was coming yesterday, I will take it.”

    He added: “I think it is gonna be an interesting day with everything that’s going on this weekend. I haven’t done any long runs yet. I haven’t put the fuel on the car and tried it.

    “So tomorrow laps to the grid will be the first time to have a feel, which could be quite challenging.

    “But at the same time, I’m feeling confident with the car. The car is really good to drive around here, so I think we can do a good job.”

    Sainz had looked set to line up third for Sunday’s race, with Max Verstappen topping the timesheet after the first runs in qualifying.

    But a mistake from the Red Bull driver through the Turns 5/6 complex on his final attempt forced him to abort the lap and allowed Sainz to slot in ahead of him and secure a Ferrari 1-2.

    Sainz’s accident on Friday came after his frustrating first-lap retirements in both the Australian and Emilia Romagna GPs.

    He said the Ferrari F1-75 is still “surprising” him and that he was “still learning a lot of this car.”

    But he insisted that the speed he’d demonstrated on the new circuit before the crash was the one positive he could take from the day.

  3. Defending world champion Max Verstappen says Red Bull needs to make Formula 1 weekends “less difficult”. provides the story.

    Max Verstappen says Red Bull must “start making the weekends less difficult” having missed most of Friday practice and was surprised to fight for pole position at the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix.

    The reigning F1 world champion had been on provisional pole after the first Q3 runs in qualifying, but a mistake through Turns 5-6 on his final lap, coupled with improvements by Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, shuffled him back to third place, with Leclerc taking pole ahead of Sainz.

    Verstappen admitted he didn’t expect to be within reach of pole position given how much track time he lost on Friday at the new Miami International Autodrome, where a gearbox change delayed his start to second practice before a hydraulics issue restricted him to just one lap for the entire session.

    Having missed vital track time, Verstappen was playing catch-up in final practice with a longer run programme, and feels Red Bull needs to avoid these mechanical issues in the future, having also been hit by mechanical trouble earlier this season which resulted in two DNFs in Bahrain and Australia.

    “Overall, I’m pretty pleased with qualifying. I literally did four or five laps yesterday,” Verstappen said.

    “So the whole day today I was still trying to learn to track, trying to find a decent balance in the car. And actually to be that competitive in qualifying, I was a bit surprised because it’s not an easy track to learn.

    “You want to be on pole, but from where we come from, I think we did a really good job.

    “But we have to start making the weekends less difficult because like this you know it’s always going to be tricky, but we have a good chance for tomorrow.

    “We have good top speed, I think the car’s handling quite well. So I’m looking forward to that.”

    Verstappen feels there will be opportunities to attack the two Ferraris ahead of him during the first-ever Miami GP and remains optimistic he’ll have options both on race strategy and overtaking at the new circuit, which is an unknown in racing conditions.

    “It’s quite slippery outside of the normal racing line. But we’ll see,” he said.

    “A lot of things can happen tomorrow, I think it is gonna be even warmer than today. So it also depends a bit on how the tyres are going to behave.”

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