Leclerc hoping to put pressure on Verstappen in Miami as Sainz explains why P3 could be ‘good place to start’

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 04: Second placed qualifier Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari and Third

It was a solid qualifying session for Ferrari ahead of the Miami Grand Prix, with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz slotting into P2 and P3 despite failing to improve during their final flying laps.

After finishing the Sprint in second place earlier in the day, Leclerc continued his good form as qualifying got underway. His final effort in Q3 was not enough to displace Max Verstappen from pole, however, and the Monegasque acknowledged after the session that he had been struggling with his tyres in the second and third sectors.

READ MORE: Verstappen clinches pole position for Miami Grand Prix ahead of Leclerc and Sainz

"It felt so much on the limit,” Leclerc commented when asked how the car had felt out on track. “Obviously it was very close until Q3 where we started to push for the last one or two-tenths. We started to lose the tyres in Sector 2 and 3, overheating them quite a bit.

“Sector 1 was actually feeling really good but then Sector 2 and 3 we were losing too much. Today that’s where we lost a little bit of time.”

Despite this, Leclerc remains hopeful that he can pose a challenge to Verstappen come race day, adding: “The race is long tomorrow, this morning [in the Sprint] we showed a good pace, so I hope tomorrow we can put Max under a bit more pressure.”

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 04: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari SF-24 on track during

Leclerc will start the Miami Grand Prix from the front row

Leclerc had indeed enjoyed a strong start to the Sprint and, when pushed on whether the launch could be an equally good opportunity for him in Sunday’s race, he responded: “Yeah, this, and keeping the DRS if we don’t get past by Turn 1.

“The DRS is super powerful here and if we lose it after the first lap then it’s always difficult to come back within DRS, so we must not lose it. But first of all there will be the start, this morning we had a good one, and tomorrow I’ll try to have an even better one!”

AS IT HAPPENED: Follow all the action from qualifying for the Miami Grand Prix

Sainz, meanwhile, improved on his performance in the Sprint during qualifying. Having been unable to overtake Daniel Ricciardo for fourth in the 100-kilometre dash – meaning that he crossed the line in fifth place – the Spaniard was pleased to put himself further up the grid for the Grand Prix.

“Honestly, a bit of a shame about this morning, I couldn’t get past Daniel, but I knew that the pace was there,” he explained after qualifying. “I knew that with a clean quali I could be in the top three and we managed to do some clean laps.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 04: Third placed qualifier Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari attends the press

Sainz is hopeful that starting from P3 for the Miami Grand Prix could be a positive

“It’s really tricky around here with the new soft [tyre], every lap is a bit of an adventure, with the wind you don’t know what’s going to happen, and keeping all this in mind the laps were not too bad.”

There have been high temperatures at the Miami International Autodrome throughout the weekend so far. As such, Sainz was quizzed on whether he has any concerns about the tyres during the race.

HIGHLIGHTS: Catch the action from an eventful Sprint in Miami as Verstappen wins amid plenty of battles

“You always finish the lap and you feel like you could have gone so much faster having a cleaner lap, but it’s almost impossible to put a perfect, clean lap around here,” the three-time race winner answered.

“There’s always one place where you slide, one place where you overheat the tyre, one place where the wind hits you differently and you start struggling, so it’s a very tricky balance, a very tricky track to drive, and that’s why being P3, clean side of the road for tomorrow, might be a good place to start.”



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