Miami GP qualification: Charles Leclerc on pole ahead of Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen, Mercedes in difficulty

Miami GP qualification: Charles Leclerc on pole ahead of Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen, Mercedes in difficulty


Charles Leclerc on pole ahead of Carlos Sainz, George Russell absent in Q2 for Mercedes; Watch Sunday’s Miami GP live on Sky Sports F1 at 8.30pm, with a ramp-up from 7pm

Last update: 07/05/22 22:53

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Charles Leclerc takes pole position in the Miami GP with teammate Carlos Sainz behind in second. Max Verstappen’s mistake proves costly on his fast lap.

Charles Leclerc takes pole position in the Miami GP with teammate Carlos Sainz behind in second. Max Verstappen’s mistake proves costly on his fast lap.

Championship leader Charles Leclerc will start on pole position for the inaugural Miami Grand Prix after leading a Ferrari one-two in a hard-fought qualifying as top spot slipped through the fingers of Max Verstappen.

With drivers pushing the limits of the fast new street track that surrounds Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, Verstappen had led into the tense final laps before passing Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

Trying to fight back, Verstappen – Leclerc’s closest rival for the title – made a critical error in the first sector on his final lap of Q3.

Leclerc eventually topped the shootout by 0.2 seconds from Sainz and Verstappen, taking his third pole in the first five races of the season, while Ferrari has its first lockout in the front row since Mexico City 2019.

Focus on the flying lap of Charles Leclerc in pole position.

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Focus on the flying lap of Charles Leclerc in pole position.

Focus on the flying lap of Charles Leclerc in pole position.

“We are starting on pole and we have to finish the job,” said Leclerc, who made a costly mistake in the last race at Imola. Verstappen, meanwhile, focused on the positives despite his mistake and insisted he was “surprised” to even be in the fight for pole after missing much of the race from friday.

Mercedes, having dominated on Friday to raise hopes of a three-team fight, were never in contention in Saturday’s qualifying and Lewis Hamilton was their lead car in sixth and 0.8 seconds off the pace.

George Russell, who was fastest in Practice 2, didn’t even make it to Q3, being knocked out in 12th as he complained about ‘bouncing around’ and ‘having no confidence’ in a W13 car that didn’t was no match for the Ferrari and the Red Bulls.

Sky Sports' Karun Chandhok takes a closer look at the final qualifying laps of Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

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Sky Sports’ Karun Chandhok takes a closer look at the final qualifying laps of Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

Sky Sports’ Karun Chandhok takes a closer look at the final qualifying laps of Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo were the other surprise victims of the second quarter.

Hamilton, while returning to Q3, will start behind his former team-mate Valtteri Bottas on the third row of the grid, with Lando Norris eighth.

Sunday’s race is live on Sky Sports F1 at 8.30pm, with a ramp-up from 7pm.

Miami GP qualifying result: Top 10
1) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
2) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
3) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
4) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
5) Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo
6) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
7) Pierre Gasly, Alpha Tauri
8) Lando Norris, McLaren
9) Yuki Tsunoda, Alpha Tauri
10) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin

Ferrari supports the Miami GP | What happened to Merc?

Qualifying for the Miami GP did not disappoint in terms of close competition up front, while serving as a reminder that just when you think the momentum of 2022 is with one team, it switches to another.

Red Bull dominated the Emilia-Romagna GP and the long straights at Miami International Autodrome must have suited their car, but it was Ferrari who ousted their rivals on Saturday.

Christian Horner thinks it will be a fascinating competition against the racing Ferraris after a small mistake cost Max Verstappen pole position.

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Christian Horner thinks it will be a fascinating competition against the racing Ferraris after a small mistake cost Max Verstappen pole position.

Christian Horner thinks it will be a fascinating competition against the racing Ferraris after a small mistake cost Max Verstappen pole position.

In fairness to Red Bull, they might well have taken pole had it not been for Verstappen’s mistake at turn five, which triggered an expletive-laden radio message from the Dutchman. After qualifying, Verstappen again noted his troubled Friday, which he missed largely due to reliability issues.

“You have to start making the weekends a little less difficult,” said the world champion.

Mercedes, meanwhile, flattered to deceive.

George Russell says the about-face performance of his Mercedes

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George Russell says his Mercedes’ about-face performance “really doesn’t make much sense” after qualifying 12th in Miami, its worst of the season so far.

George Russell says his Mercedes’ about-face performance “really doesn’t make much sense” after qualifying 12th in Miami, its worst of the season so far.

Entering Saturday as arguably the team to beat given their form on Friday, Mercedes struggled in final practice and were then pulled away in qualifying. Russell was their slowest driver on this occasion, and was downcast and puzzled after the session.

“To be honest, we’re a bit confused,” he said. “Yesterday we were in the fight for pole and today we qualified P12, which is the worst qualification of the year, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Toto Wolff said Mercedes ‘worsened’ their car with ‘experiments’, while Hamilton at least took comfort in improved qualifying for himself. “It was a much, much better qualifying session than I’ve had in the last three races, so I’m grateful for that to be honest and I’ll take it,” said the seven-time world champion.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff admits he is still disappointed with the performance of the car after 3 practice and qualifying.

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Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff admits he is still disappointed with the performance of the car after 3 practice and qualifying.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff admits he is still disappointed with the performance of the car after 3 practice and qualifying.

It’s doubtful Mercedes can get back into the fight at the front in this form, with the inaugural Miami GP set to host another thrilling battle between the teams and drivers battling for the title.

Watch it all live on Sky Sports F1.

Miami GP qualifying timesheet

Driver Team Weather
1) Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:28.796
2) Carlos Sainz Ferrari +0.190
3) Max Verstappen Red Bull +0.195
4) Sergio Perez Red Bull +0.240
5) Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo +0.679
6) Lewis Hamilton mercedes +0.829
7) Pierre Gasly Alpha Tauri +0.894
8) Lando Norris McLaren +0.954
9) Yuki Tsunoda Alpha Tauri +1.136
10) Start the walk Aston Martin +1.880
Exit in Q2
11) Fernando Alonso Alpine 1:30.160
12) George Russell mercedes 1:30.173
13) Sebastien Vettel Aston Martin 1:30.214
14) Daniel Ricardo McLaren 1:30.310
15) Mick Schumacher Haas 1:30.423
Exit in Q1
16) Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:30.975
17) Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:31.020
18) Alex Albon williams 1:31.266
19) Nicholas Latifi williams 1:31.325
20) Esteban Ocon Alpine No set time

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