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

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MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 04: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen has claimed his seventh consecutive pole position by taking P1 on the grid for the Miami Grand Prix, despite failing to improve during his final flying lap.

The Dutchman had provisionally put himself into pole in the first runs of Q3, having set a time of 1m 27.241s, and this proved to be enough to maintain the position. Charles Leclerc will join the Red Bull driver on the front row, while his Ferrari team mate Carlos Sainz was not far behind in third.

Sergio Perez sealed P4 in the other Red Bull, ahead of the McLaren pair of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri in fifth and sixth respectively, and the fourth row belongs to the Mercedes duo of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton in P7 and P8.

Nico Hulkenberg repeated his qualifying result from last time out in China by slotting his Haas into P9, while Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top 10 in the RB.

Miami 2024

Qualifying results

PositionTeam NameTime
1VER1:27.241
2LEC1:27.382
3SAI1:27.455
4PER1:27.460
5NOR1:27.594
View Full Results

It was a difficult day for Aston Martin, with the team’s woes continuing in qualifying after their earlier misfortune in the Sprint. Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso both exited in Q2, with the pair set to line up in P11 and P15 respectively.

Despite an impressive performance in Q1, Alpine’s Pierre Gasly could not improve further in Q2 and ended up in 12th, ahead of team mate Esteban Ocon in 13th and the Williams of Alex Albon in 14th.

Valtteri Bottas was the lead Kick Sauber in P16, while Logan Sargeant failed to get his Williams out of Q1 in P17. Despite an impressive performance earlier in the Sprint, RB’s Daniel Ricciardo suffered a surprise exit in P18, and a three-place grid penalty given last time out in China will drop him to the back of the field.

Also eliminated in the first segment of qualifying were Haas’s Kevin Magnussen in 19th and Kick Sauber’s Zhou Guanyu in 20th.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 04: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Visa Cash App RB VCARB 01

Ricciardo suffered a surprise exit in Q1

AS IT HAPPENED

Q1 – Gasly impresses while Ricciardo makes surprise exit

Just hours after an eventful Sprint race at the Miami International Autodrome, the drivers and teams prepared to hit the track again for qualifying in order to decide the grid for Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix.

Some question marks remained over whether Norris and Stroll’s cars would be entirely fixed in time for the session getting underway at 1600 local time, given that both had retired from the Sprint owing to damage sustained during a Lap 1 multi-car collision.

Those concerns seemed to be allayed, though, as the light went green for Q1, with Norris ready to leave the McLaren garage while Stroll was amongst the cars to form a lengthy queue in the pit lane.

This queue caused issues for some – namely Zhou, who appeared to push in ahead of Ricciardo in an incident that will be investigated after the session. Meanwhile, on track, the majority of the field had headed out to put some early laps in on the soft tyre.

Verstappen joined the fray a little later and raised concerns over the sound of the clutch in his RB20 upon leaving the pits for his out lap, but this did not prevent the Dutchman from going fastest with a time of 1m 28.023s as Q1 approached its halfway point, displacing Sainz at the top.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 04: Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren MCL38 Mercedes on

Norris returned to action after his earlier retirement from the Sprint

With the track evolving as the clock ticked down, the names at risk in the elimination zone also continued to change while traffic seemed to be causing some issues. Verstappen voiced a complaint about the Alpines, and Sargeant fumed that Tsunoda had “ruined” him.

In the final minutes, yet another queue had formed in the pit lane as everybody prepared for their all-important last flying laps. Perez slotted himself into P1 and returned to the pits, while the rest of the pack were on track as many battled to avoid being eliminated from the session.

Sargeant initially hauled himself out of danger in front of his local fans before being pushed down the order to P17 as others improved, while Bottas also just missed the cut in P16.

Gasly reversed his recent qualifying struggles by impressively going fifth fastest, while a big shock came courtesy of Ricciardo who – after a strong weekend so far – was eliminated in P18, having seemingly experienced a snap on his flying lap.

His woes continue further as a three-place grid drop – given due to an incident last time out in China – will push the Australian to the back of the pack. Also exiting in Q1 were Magnussen in the Haas and Kick Sauber’s Zhou Guanyu.

Knocked out: Bottas, Sargeant, Ricciardo, Magnussen, Zhou

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 04: Pierre Gasly of France driving the (10) Alpine F1 A524 Renault on track

Gasly caught the eye by going fifth fastest in the Alpine during Q1

Q2 – Both Aston Martins out as Leclerc goes fastest

After an initially quiet start to Q2, a flurry of cars soon headed out on track. Leclerc set the pace as the first timed laps were put on the board, with the Monegasque pumping in a time of 1m 27.533s.

While much of the pack were running soft tyres, Verstappen and Perez had opted for used, meaning that they were not at the very top of the timesheets during those first runs.

Double yellow flags were thrown when Albon drove straight on at Turn 17. The Williams driver was able to get going again, but reported that his tyres were “destroyed”.

Ahead of the crucial flying laps, some big names lingered in the elimination zone, including Hamilton and both Aston Martin drivers. Interestingly, Norris opted to take a gamble by bolting on the medium compound for his final run.

As the last times came in, Hamilton put himself up into an eye-catching third to escape danger, while Leclerc led the way in P1. Others were not so lucky – Stroll and Alonso were unable to move forwards, ending the session in P11 and P15 respectively.

Alpine’s Gasly and Ocon were also out in 12th and 13th, with Albon the other driver to fail to make it through in 14th.

Knocked out: Stroll, Gasly, Ocon, Albon, Alonso

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 04: 15th placed qualifier Fernando Alonso of Spain and Aston Martin F1 Team

Alonso suffered his worst qualifying performance of the season in Miami, ending the session in P15

Q3 – Verstappen holds onto pole despite failing to improve

Hulkenberg led the pack out as Q3 got underway, running used soft tyres. Most of the field had chosen fresh softs, while Norris had again opted for the used medium compound.

Verstappen was the man to secure provisional pole position during the initial runs, with the Red Bull setting a lap of 1m 27.241s which put him 0.141s clear of Leclerc in second, while Sainz had gone third fastest.

Hamilton was pushed down to eighth, having looked to be fighting his Mercedes during his lap. Meanwhile Race Control had noted a potential impeding incident involving Hulkenberg and Sainz, though soon announced that there would be no further investigation.

All eyes soon turned to the final flying runs as the last minutes of the session arrived. While Norris swapped to the soft rubber this time, the Silver Arrows duo of Hamilton and Russell had both switched to medium tyres.

Despite setting a purple first sector, Verstappen failed to improve on his earlier lap but this proved to be enough to keep him in P1, with others also not going faster. This included Leclerc, who kept P2 ahead of team mate Sainz in P3.

Perez took fourth, leading the way from the McLarens of Norris and Piastri in fifth and sixth, followed by another pair of team mates as Mercedes’ Russell and Hamilton slotted into seventh and eighth, with their gamble on the mediums seemingly failing to pay off.

Hulkenberg and Tsunoda rounded out the top 10 by leading the charge for their respective teams in P9 and P10.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 04: Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red

Verstappen claimed his latest pole position in Miami

Key quote

“I think we definitely improved the car a bit [from yesterday],” said pole-sitter Verstappen. “I don’t know what it is, but every single year that we come here I find it extremely difficult to be very consistent with the car feeling, the tyre feeling, over one lap. It’s just super hard to make sure that Sector 1 feels good and Sector 3 at the end of the lap, to make that happen together is incredibly tough.

“Again today, it was really about finding that balance. I think we did okay. It’s not the most enjoyable lap out of my career, just because of how slippery it is and how… you’re not very confident on the lap, but we’re on pole and that’s of course the most important [thing].”

What's next

The 2024 Miami Grand Prix is set to begin at 1600 local time on Sunday. Head to the RACE HUB to find out how you can catch the action from the Miami International Autodrome.

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