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Verstappen claims pole in Miami Sprint Qualifying ahead of Leclerc and Perez

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MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 03: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing

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.

Miami 2024

Sprint Qualifying results

PositionTeam NameTime
1VER1:27.641
2LEC1:27.749
3PER1:27.876
4RIC1:28.044
5SAI1:28.103
View Full Results

There was double disappointment for Mercedes as both drivers exited in SQ2. George Russell will line up in P11 while Lewis Hamilton joins him on the sixth row in P12, with the seven-time world champion also noted for a pit lane infringement.

Esteban Ocon was the lead Alpine in 13th, ahead of Haas’s Kevin Magnussen in 14th. Meanwhile RB’s Yuki Tsunoda ended the session in 15th, having again been outqualified by team mate Ricciardo.

Pierre Gasly’s tough luck in qualifying continued as he failed to escape SQ1, with the Alpine driver set to start from P16 ahead of Kick Sauber’s Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas in P17 and P18 respectively.

It was also a challenging session for Williams. Local driver Logan Sargeant was disappointed to exit in 19th, while team mate Alex Albon ended the session in 20th, having had a lap time deleted that dropped him down from an original position of 16th.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 03: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Visa Cash App RB VCARB 01 on

Ricciardo took an impressive fourth place in the RB

AS IT HAPPENED

SQ1 – Norris leads the way while Piastri and Bottas have a close call

With just one practice hour behind them – and an interrupted one at that, with Leclerc bringing out the red flags early on following a costly spin – the drivers returned to action later on Friday for Sprint Qualifying, with the session deciding the grid for the second Sprint race of the year.

Leclerc was the first to hit the Miami International Autodrome when SQ1 got underway at 1630 local time, seemingly keen to make up for his very limited running earlier in the day due to that aforementioned spin.

There were no surprises with tyre choice as other drivers started to join the Monegasque on track, given that the medium compound is mandatory for the 12-minute opening segment of Sprint Qualifying.

As the clock ticked down, Leclerc may have potentially caused a sharp intake of breath on the Ferrari pit wall after experiencing a small slide at Turn 8. Fortunately the driver managed to keep his car on the circuit as the first timed laps started to come in.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 03: Charles Leclerc of Monaco driving the (16) Ferrari SF-24 on track during

Leclerc was the first to hit the track in SQ1 following his spin earlier in the day

It was Verstappen at the top of the timesheets as the segment reached its halfway point, with Piastri just 0.038s behind in the McLaren on a weekend in which the Woking-based squad are running a series of upgrades.

Elsewhere Alonso survived a kiss with the wall, while Piastri was left irked after encountering the slow-moving Kick Sauber of Bottas on track, prompting the Finn to complain that he had not been warned in sufficient time. The incident will be investigated after the session.

As SQ1 reached its final moments, Norris slotted into P1 ahead of team mate Piastri, while several drivers worked to get themselves out of danger. The order continued to change as some hauled themselves up the timesheets, but others were unable to improve

Gasly failed to make it through in P16, followed by the Kick Sauber duo of Zhou and Bottas in P17 and P18 respectively. It was also a tough day for Sargeant, who ended the session in P19 in front of his home fans, while fellow Williams driver Albon also exited in P20 after having a lap time deleted.

Knocked out: Gasly, Zhou, Bottas, Sargeant, Albon

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 03: Logan Sargeant of United States driving the (2) Williams FW46 Mercedes on

Sargeant – racing in front of his home crowd – was disappointed not to improve in SQ1

SQ2 – Mercedes suffer a double exit

Magnussen was the first to head out on track as the 10 minutes of SQ2 began, off the back of a good session for the Dane in SQ1. The drivers were again running a mandatory medium tyre for this segment of Sprint Qualifying.

Most of the 15 remaining drivers seemed keen to put some early flying laps on the board and, while Perez led the way as the clock ticked down to five minutes, Norris then went fastest of all with a lap of 1m 27.597s.

Ricciardo – driving in an RB featuring a special “chameleon” livery this weekend – reported contact with the wall, but the Australian’s car appeared to have escaped unharmed. All eyes then turned to who was at risk of the elimination zone as the final minutes approached.

Verstappen joined the fray late in the session and slotted into fourth on his one flying lap, while the Mercedes duo were amongst those needing to improve. Ultimately neither Russell nor Hamilton were able to do so, leaving them in P11 and P12 respectively, and Hamilton – who clipped the wall on his lap – was also noted for a pit lane infringement.

The other drivers to fail to make the cut were Ocon in 13th, Magnussen in 14th and Tsunoda in 15th, with the RB driver seemingly making a mistake on his sole flying lap.

Knocked out: Russell, Hamilton, Ocon, Magnussen, Tsunoda

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 03: 12th placed qualifier Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes walks

Hamilton ended Sprint Qualifying down in P12

SQ3 – Verstappen goes fastest while McLaren slip back

It was a quiet start as the light went green for SQ3, a segment in which the drivers run soft tyres. Hulkenberg was the first to break the silence with less than four minutes remaining on the clock, before others started to emerge from their garages for what was set to be a one-lap shootout.

All 10 drivers managed to find clean air on the circuit as each looked to pump in a flying lap. Verstappen went fastest of all in the first and second sectors before suffering understeer in the final sector, but this could not prevent the Dutchman from surging into P1 with a lap of 1m 27.641s.

Leclerc was also looking racy but just missed out, going second quickest on a time 0.108s back from Verstappen’s, while Perez took third place. Meanwhile Ricciardo caught the eye by slotting his RB into fourth, ahead of the Ferrari of Sainz in fifth.

While McLaren had displayed strong pace on the medium tyre in SQ1 and SQ2, the soft compound did not seem to favour them in SQ3. Piastri crossed the line in sixth, while Norris ended the session back in ninth.

Stroll claimed P7 ahead of Aston Martin team mate Alonso in P8, while Hulkenberg rounded out the last of the top-10 positions in the Haas.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 03: Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren MCL38 Mercedes on

Norris was unable to maintain his earlier pace in SQ3, ending the session in P9

Key quote

“To be honest with you it felt pretty terrible!” Verstappen said after jumping out of the car. “I don’t know, maybe that last session it was just incredibly difficult to get the tyres to work. Already in SQ2 I didn’t feel great. In SQ3, I think it just felt similar for me, I didn’t really improve a lot on the soft, but somehow we were first.

“Of course, I’ll happily take it, but it didn’t really feel enjoyable out there to drive for whatever reason. In practice, it felt really, really nice, I was very comfortable and confident, but in qualifying not so much.”

What's next

With the grid now decided, the drivers will next return to action for the Sprint race on Saturday, which is set to begin at 1200 local time. Head to the RACE HUB to find out how you can catch the action.

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