Verstappen takes Miami sprint pole

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen will start the Miami Grand Prix sprint race on pole position edging out Charles Leclerc, who missed out on practice following a spin. While Lando Norris was unable to repeat his SQ1 and SQ2 performance.

Norris had led SQ1 and SQ2, with a time in the middle segment that would have been good enough to top SQ3, but on the switch to the soft compound for the final segment he fell out of contention – the McLaren driver particularly paying for losing 0.8 seconds compared to Verstappen in the opening sector.

Verstappen’s sprint race pole-clinching lap was not perfect as he had to wrestle his RB20 through the tight chicane at the end of the final sector, and yet posted a one minute, 27.641 seconds that was good enough to take the top spot.

Leclerc slotted into second just over 0.1 seconds adrift in second position – an impressive turnaround after he missed most of practice following his early spin and clutch issue.

Sergio Perez finished in third ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, who escaped hitting the Turn 16 exit wall in SQ2, to take a solid P4 in the RB.

This was something Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso had done in the opening segment, before he finished the session down in eighth behind Carlos Sainz, Oscar Piastri and Lance Stroll.

In the end, Norris was only able to beat Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg, despite sealing the quickest times in the final two sectors in qualifying – his gap from the first sector enough to keep him from Verstappen.

In SQ2, which like SQ1 had the drivers circulating on the medium tyres throughout, Mercedes had both its cars taking an exit, with George Russell heading Lewis Hamilton in P11 and P12 – the latter striking the wall exiting Turn 16 onto the main straight on his final lap.

Behind came Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, Haas driver Kevin Magnussen and Yuki Tsunoda in the RB, who along with Verstappen and Norris only completed one flying lap in the middle segment.

In SQ1, Alex Albon’s last-gasp improvement was not enough to get him out of the elimination zone, before it was revealed his rise from last place to P16 was deleted due to cutting the chicane.

Albon duly had his time removed and will start last in the sprint, behind Pierre Gasly, Zhou Guanyu, Valtteri Bottas and Logan Sargeant, who therefore led the way in a qualifying session for the first time as Albon’s Williams teammate.

Bottas faces a post-session investigation for nearly colliding with Piastri at Turn 1 towards the end of SQ1, with the Sauber driver unaware of the McLaren’s fast approach to the right-hander when on a slow lap while Piastri was on a flying lap.

Hamilton will also have a post-session stewards hearing due to a possible Mercedes pits infringement during SQ2, while a series of drivers are under investigation for apparently not following the race director’s instruction regarding going too slowly on outlaps, which usually results in no sanctions being dished out.

So congratulations to Max Verstappen with this sprint pole. The defending champion even admitted he was surprise to get the quickest time despite a messy section in the chicane, with a bit of oversteer in the RB20. And yet it was enough to be in P1.

Miami Grand Prix, sprint qualifying:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:27.641
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:27.749
3 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:27.876
4 Daniel Ricciardo RB 1:28.044
5 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:28.103
6 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:28.161
7 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:28.375
8 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:28.419
9 Lando Norris McLaren 1:28.472
10 Nico Hulkenberg Haas 1:28.476
11 George Russell Mercedes 1:28.343
12 Lewis Hamilton Mercedds 1:28.371
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:28.379
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:28.614
15 Yuki Tsunoda RB No time
16 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:29.185
17 Zhou Guanyu Sauber 1:29.267
18 Valtteri Bottas Sauber 1:29.360
19 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:29.551
20 Alex Albon Williams 1:29.858

4 thoughts to “Verstappen takes Miami sprint pole”

  1. Max Verstappen will start from pole for the Sprint in Miami after storming to P1 in Friday’s Sprint Qualifying, while an earlier challenge from McLaren seemed to fall away.

    With every driver opting for just one flying lap in SQ3, Verstappen went quickest of all with a 1m 27.641s lap. The Red Bull driver will be joined on the front row by Leclerc, who ended the session 0.108s away from Verstappen.

    Sergio Perez slotted into third, while Daniel Ricciardo put in an impressive performance by going fourth fastest in the RB ahead of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz in fifth.

    While McLaren had looked promising earlier in the session, the pace did not seem to hold into SQ3 on the soft tyre. Oscar Piastri claimed P6 while Lando Norris will start from P9, with the Aston Martin pair of Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso sandwiched between them in P7 and P8. Nico Hulkenberg, meanwhile, rounds out the top 10 in the Haas.

  2. Max Verstappen says he was surprised that his “terrible” SQ3 lap was enough to take a sprint pole at Formula 1’s Miami Grand Prix.

    Verstappen skated around the Miami Autodrome on his only lap in the final top 10 shootout, but his nearest rivals also struggled to improve on their SQ2 times despite bolting on softer tyres for the final shootout.

    The Dutchman sounded shocked on the Red Bull team radio when his race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase informed him his lap was enough to line up first on Saturday morning, and afterwards he explained his car felt difficult to drive over one lap.

    “To be honest with you, it felt pretty terrible,” Verstappen said. “I don’t know, maybe the last session was just incredibly difficult to get the tyres to work, because already in SQ2 I didn’t feel great. SQ3 I think it felt quite similar for me.

    “I didn’t really improve a lot on the soft, but somehow we are first. I will happily take it, but it didn’t really feel enjoyable out there to drive for whatever reason.”

  3. Charles Leclerc feels qualifying on the front row for the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix sprint race halts his dip in form and ‘stops people talking’.

    The Ferrari driver completed just three laps in practice after spinning at Turn 16 and suffering a clutch issue at the Miami track.

    But having been a prolific qualifier in his F1 career, with 23 pole positions, Leclerc admitted he was struggling to find the right window with the tyres in qualifying which was partly blamed for a poor run of form.

    When asked if he was relieved by his Miami sprint qualifying performance, he replied: “I am because qualifying has been a weak point for two races in a row.

    “At one point in China it was a little bit better but we didn’t have the car to actually show that.

    “On such a difficult weekend, I had one lap in practice and go straight into quali, go straight away flat out, we are also only allowed to use one set of tyres [in each qualifying segment], so it was very, very tricky.

    “But straight away I felt the feeling and that the hard work that I’ve done earlier in the season to try to put the tyres in the right window has paid off so I am happy.

    “There are so many talks now, you are only as good as your last race in this sport, so when you have two races in a row where you are bad in qualifying and haven’t done a great job people start to talk so it is good to stop that.”

  4. RB Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo revealed he hit the wall twice in Miami sprint qualifying before claiming a shock fourth on the grid.

    On Friday, Ricciardo provided the latest indication he is starting to turn the corner after a tough 2024 season start.

    Ricciardo’s more promising pace in China was left unrewarded after a clash with Lance Stroll, but in Miami sprint qualifying the Australian took a surprising fourth starting place for Saturday morning’s 19-lap contest.

    He finished four tenths off polesitter Max Verstappen in the Red Bull, revealing he made contact with the wall on his SQ2 and SQ3 laps.

    “I feel really good about it,” Ricciardo told “I’m happy with the second row, it’s awesome. On the first lap of SQ1 I made a mistake, so we were putting ourselves under a bit of pressure, but we built up from there.

    “Max was surprised to be P1 with his lap and I was surprised to be P4 with mine. I expected more from the soft, but it didn’t give much more than the medium.

    “We were expecting everyone to go a lot quicker and they didn’t. I touched the wall both laps as well, so I told the team I was definitely trying to get everything out of it.

    “I don’t know if that made me quicker or not, but we were going for it and I had some good confidence in the car.”

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