Ferrari locks out front row after Verstappen error in Miami

Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Ferrari locks out front row after Verstappen error in Miami

Formula 1

Ferrari locks out front row after Verstappen error in Miami

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Charles Leclerc will lead Ferrari’s first front-row lockout in more than two years, beating teammate Carlos Sainz to pole position for the Miami Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen had taken provisional pole with his first lap of Q3 but the Dutchman left the door open with a mistake at Turn 5, his car snapping from underneath him and sending him wide across Turn 6.

The Ferrari drivers didn’t need the invitation. Sainz had just set a purple first sector and Leclerc took the second split to put the pair about level at the final split.

Leclerc made up the difference in the final sector, edging his teammate by 0.19s for Ferrari’s first front-row lockout since the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix.

“We’re starting on pole and we need to finish the job tomorrow,” Leclerc said, warning the threat from Verstappen hadn’t ended in qualifying. “[Red Bull Racing] are extremely quick in the straight lines. We are quick in the corners. It will be a challenge for all, and hopefully we come out on top.”

The result was arguably more meaningful for Sainz, who beat Verstappen to third by just 0.005s despite ending Friday in the wall.

“It wasn’t easy at all to get the confidence back at a difficult circuit like this,” he said. “Given from [where] I was coming yesterday, I will take it.

“I’m feeling confident with the car. The car is really good to drive around here. I think we can do a good job.”

Verstappen was disappointed to count himself out of pole, but he, too, had a disrupted Friday with technical problems and considered contention itself a job well done.

“Overall I’m pretty pleased with qualifying,” he said. “I did four or five laps yesterday, so today [I] was trying to learn the track; trying to find the right balance in the car.

“Of course you want to be on pole, but where we came from, I think we did a really good job. We have a good chance tomorrow.”

He was backed up by teammate Sergio Perez, who was only 0.045s slower, to secure the second row.

Valtteri Bottas’ recovery from almost no running on Friday to fifth on the grid for Alfa Romeo was superb, the Finn beating former Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton who will line up sixth.

AlphaTauri teammates Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda were seventh and ninth, sandwiching McLaren’s Lando Norris in eighth.

Lance Stroll completed the top 10 for Aston Martin.

Fernando Alonso missed out on Q3 for the first time this season by just 0.032s, complaining that Sainz blocked him on his last lap, though the stewards took no action over the alleged incident.

George Russell — fastest in FP2 — was eliminated in 12th after a series of scrappy laps blighted by his W13 oversteering dramatically in the first sector.

Sebastian Vettel qualified 13th after a loose second sector while Daniel Ricciardo was a disappointing 14th for McLaren, shifting most of the time to his Q3-bound teammate through the middle split.

Mick Schumacher was knocked out in 15th, beating teammate Kevin Magnussen for the second time this season. The Dane qualified one spot further back in a disappointing return for Haas in the team’s first home race of the year.

Zhou Guanyu was 17th after his final flying lap was scuppered by traffic in the final sector.

Alex Albon led Williams teammate Nicholas Latifi in 18th and 19th but the Thai driver’s slim 0.1s advantage was down to poor tire preparation rather than pace.

Esteban Ocon didn’t set a time after his FP3 crash left his team with too much damage to repair in the two-hour break before qualifying.

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