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F1 Miami Grand Prix: Verstappen takes pole in slippery qualifying session

Written by Maria Fashchevskaya, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

Max Verstappen slid to domination in qualifying in Miami: the Dutchman starting from pole in tomorrow’s Miami Grand Prix, followed by the Ferrari duo. Sergio Perez will complete the second row on the grid, with the McLarens behind him. 

Lando Norris, starting from fifth place, has new upgrades on the car that intend to improve their speed on the straights. Here’s what unfolded in qualifying in the first stateside weekend of the year. 


As the first part of qualifying was underway, all the drivers started queuing in the pitlane, ready to get out on track. With the green light on, the cars rushed out, to make out the best in the 18 minutes of Q1. 

Daniel Ricciardo almost drove into Zhou Guanyu’s Sauber, as the latter cut in front of him in the pitlane. As the Australian complained on the team radio, the stewards decided to investigate the incident after the session. Replays showed that the Chinese pushed into the queue, as Ricciardo referred to in his message. Everyone went out on soft tyres. 

The first cars on track to put in timed laps were the Haas duo, with Miami considered one of their home tracks. With 13 minutes to go, Carlos Sainz clocked in 1:28.159s, while his teammate Charles Leclerc rushed behind him on the board, only 0.024s separating the Ferraris. 

At that point, only Verstappen, Bottas and Sargeant were still in the pits or on an out lap for their first try in Q1. In the elimination zone were Gasly in the Alpine and Zhou in the Sauber, too.

After the early exit in the Sprint for Norris, the McLaren crew did a magnificent job of repairing the Brit's car for qualifying. Casually sitting in the top ten in Q1, Norris’ teammate Piastri surpassed him at that point in the standings to advance to P5, provisionally. 

With eight minutes to go Yuki Tsunoda, Esteban Ocon, Alex Albon, Pierre Gasly and Zhou Guanyu were in the elimination zone. Beforehand, Max Verstappen usurped everyone with 1:28.023s on the clock. All the drivers – except for Sergio Perez – were out on track at that point. 

At risk was Logan Sargeant, however, he was impeded by Tsunoda on his timed lap. That left the home hero of Miami only 0.002s in the elimination zone. The last three minutes of Q1 saw all the drivers come out of the pits for the last try of the session. 

About to be eliminated were Sargeant, Gasly, Magnussen, Zhou and Albon. As Kevin Magnussen was on a timed lap, he was held off by a Sauber and could not finish his lap properly. 

After a brilliant sprint, Ricciardo was out in Q1 in Miami. Image Credits: Red Bull Content Pool

With the chequered flag waved, Yuki Tsunoda managed to do enough to make it into Q2, while his teammate was out. Replays showed that Ricciardo had a snap on his flying run, which sent him wide. The Australian missed out by less than two tenths in the end. Bottas – being on a flying lap, too – could not improve and missed out on Q2, as well as his teammate Zhou. 

Still, Daniel Ricciardo will start from the 20th position in tomorrow’s race, as the Australian has been punished in China for overtaking Nico Hulkenberg under Safety Car conditions. The Aussie will serve a three-place grid penalty after qualifying.

Knocked out: Bottas, Sargeant, Ricciardo*, Magnussen, and Zhou.

*will start 20th because of a grid penalty.


The second session of qualifying started with silence on track, at first. With 12 minutes to go, drivers started to leave the pits for a timed lap on the track in Miami.

Max Verstappen was one of the first cars to clock in a time with 1:27.972s, while Tsunoda and Stroll finished their laps. But there came the McLaren duo, extending the best laps by around 0.2s each to Verstappen’s time. Charles Leclerc usurped the time of Oscar Piastri with 1:27.533s on the clock. 

McLaren are looking fast in Miami; Image Credits: McLaren Media Centre

Yellow flags were waved briefly in the third sector, as Alex Albon got stuck at turn 17, unable to make the left-hander, and almost touched the wall. Thus, he ruined his timed lap. 

With five minutes to go, every driver dived back into the pits. At that moment, Ocon, Hamilton, Stroll, Alonso and Albon were in the elimination zone. At risk were Gasly and Russell, and the big question remained: Would we finally see an Alpine in Q3?

The last two minutes to set a time in Q2 saw all 15 drivers come out of the pits. Stroll advanced as the chequered flag was waved, and pushed out Gasly in the Alpine. Hamilton pushed out his teammate, while Russell advanced himself, eliminating the unlucky Stroll. 

Also on a lap was Ocon, but did not improve, staying in 13th place for tomorrow’s grid. Last on risk and on a timed lap was Alex Albon. However, the Thai could not advance to Q3 and finished in 14th place. 

Lastly, Alonso in the other Aston Martin failed to advance, the Spaniard appearing to be on used tyres, and thus unable to find a quick lap to take him into the top ten. 

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

Mercedes in Miami. Image Credits: Clive Rose – Formula 1 via Getty Images


The track looked slippery in Q2, as Max Verstappen almost hit the wall at turn 16. Much rubber was laid on it throughout the weekend, with F1 Academy and other competitions happening simultaneously. 

Fernando Alonso, who did not improve for a chance in Q3, was out on track with the same issue, and other drivers sliding around the last corners. 

With twelve minutes to go, all cars went out on track for a first run in the last qualifying session in Miami. In the first round, Hamilton lost some time (0.5s) on the board to his teammate, as both Red Bulls improved to surpass them quickly. Hamilton slid all over the track, as replays showed, thus, the rather upsetting first round in Q3 for him. 

Thus, after the first round in Q3, Max Verstappen held a provisional pole position in front of the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. Oscar Piastri and Sergio Perez completed the top five, with Lando Norris and the Mercedes’ after them. 

Last in the top ten provisional standings were Nico Hulkenberg and Yuki Tsunoda. Sainz, however, was noted for impeding Hulkenberg at turn 17, which was dismissed instantly. 

Two minutes to go: Who can drive to pole in Miami? Everyone is out on fresh soft rubber, except Hamilton on medium tyres. 

Verstappen on pole. Image Credits: Formula One

The final chequered flag in qualifying was waved, as everyone was on a timed lap. Hulkenberg improved before that to an eighth place. Verstappen did not improve, as well as Ferraris and those behind them. Russell and Hamilton came home for seventh and eighth place, as the latter was the only driver improving on medium rubber.

However, that saw Verstappen still leading the board and gaining pole position for tomorrow’s race in Miami, ahead of the Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz. Perez would be on their toes – or rear ends – with Norris and Piastri, respectively. 

Who will win the Miami Grand Prix? Let’s watch and see tomorrow at 9 p.m. BST (4 p.m. track time).


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