Verstappen edges Leclerc again to take Miami pole

Home » Verstappen edges Leclerc again to take Miami pole

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen beat Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to pole position at the Miami Grand Prix.

Verstappen was 0.141 seconds quicker than Leclerc as the two men finished first and second in qualifying, just as they have in all competitive sessions so far in Miami.

Carlos Sainz made it a Ferrari two-three ahead of the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez.

McLaren’s Lando Norris could not find the pace he demonstrated at times on Friday but will line up fifth for the race ahead of team-mate Oscar Piastri.

Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, who unconventionally took medium tyres in the search for pace on their final runs in qualifying, were seventh and eighth, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg’s Haas and the RB of Yuki Tsunoda.

Verstappen’s sixth grand prix pole in six races this season was never really in doubt, even if Leclerc edged into first place in the second session by 0.033secs.

The Dutchman, who had not been happy with the car despite winning the sprint race earlier in the day, said: “We definitely improved the car a bit, but every year I come here I find it really difficult to be consistent with the car feeling on one lap. It is super hard to make the car feel good in sector one and sector three.

“It was the same today. But we did OK. It was not then most enjoyable lap of my career just because of how slippery it is, but we’re on pole.”

Leclerc said: “It felt so much on the limit. It was very close until Q3 when we started to push really for the limit and we lost the tyres in sector three.”

Norris, whose car has a major upgrade for this race, had shown strong pace in qualifying for the sprint race on Friday, before a mistake on his run in the final session left him at the bottom end of the top 10.

But he was never in contention at the front in qualifying on Saturday, and even tried the medium tyre in the second session, as Mercedes did in the third.

Norris ended up 0.353secs off the pace, with which McLaren were satisfied on a track where they have never been quick.

“I was quite a bit more confident yesterday in terms of getting lap time out of the car,” he said.

“We made a couple of changes and it’s hard to know if they were in the right direction now.

“Today I felt like I got there and struggled to do a lot more. Some stuff for us to review and think about for next time but on the whole P5 is still not bad.”

For Mercedes, qualifying about seventh and eighth is becoming their new normal, but was at least an improvement on 11th and 12th in qualifying for the sprint.

There was a glimmer of hope for Hamilton and the team when he suddenly went third quickest, behind only Leclerc and Verstappen, at the end of the second session, only for their pace to mysteriously vanish again in the final session.

“The car felt mega in Q2 all of a sudden but then got to Q3 it disappeared again,” Hamilton said. “It was the first time it has really worked this year, in Q2, I would say.”

Asked what the reasons for that were, he said: “We don’t know. We really don’t know. And I couldn’t tell you, honestly.”

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