First Qualifying around the Miami International Autodrome is all red, as Ferrari claims the front row for tomorrow's Grand Prix.
Poleman Charles Leclerc and teammate Carlos Sainz will be starting ahead of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez’s Red Bulls, while Mercedes is out of the top 10 with George Russell after what seemed to be a good weekend so far for the Silver Arrows. Valtteri Bottas beat Lewis Hamilton in the best of the rest battle.
Only 19 cars out on track for this Quali as Ocon’s Alpine wasn’t able to take part following a crash in FP3 that damaged his chassis.
Let’s take a look at how things went down over the session.
Cars are out for the first run of qualifying and the first timed lap is Kevin Magnussen’s who sets a 1m33.148s with his Haas. As other cars close their laps the first to get to the 1m30s bracket is Carlos Sainz, a 1m30.858s lap that is quickly beaten by the two Red Bulls who put themselves in the top two spots. As the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly gets its lap time deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn 15, George Russell puts his Mercedes up in 3rd. Tougher lap for his teammate Lewis Hamilton, who puts his W13 in P12 after struggling with a sliding rear end. Zhou sits in 5th, Bottas is the only driver that is yet to set a timed lap.
Halfway through Q1 Sainz goes fastest, but the top of the timesheet soon goes to his teammate who sets a 1m29.474s. Verstappen goes 2nd behind Leclerc as the two are the only ones in the 1m29s zone.
Hamilton’s time is deleted after he exceeds track limits at Turn15 and he finds himself down in P16. Meanwhile Fernando Alonso’s Alpine is lucky enough to avoid going into the wall at Turn16 and the Spaniard manages to jump to P6 with a last minute effort.
As Schumacher goes 8th and Hamilton secures a P5, it’s Magnussen, Zhou, Albon and Latifi dropping out in this Q1.
Only 0.130s separated Magnussen from Q2, while Zhou was held up in traffic, while at the top is Charles Leclerc with a 1m29.474s lap, followed by the Red Bulls and Sainz.
First to set a lap time is Mick Schumacher, 1m30.423s for the Haas driver. The Ferraris lower the bar in the 1m29s bracket, but it’s the Red Bulls taking the first two positions in the timesheet, with Verstappen setting a 1m29.202s.
Troubles for Russell at Turn 6 as he reports heavy porposing on the radio. Five minutes of Q2 left and he is yet to set a time, meanwhile it’s P5 for Hamilton. Russell sets a time that puts him in a dangerous P7, while Leclerc retakes P1.
One minute to go, it’s Norris slipping into the elimination zone along with Stroll, Schumacher, Vettel and Ricciardo. On his last attempt Norris secures a spot in Q3 putting his McLaren up in P3 and as Stroll climbs out of the last five, it’s Alonso, Russell, Vettel, Ricciardo and Schumacher eliminated.
Quite conceited last moments that include an “impeding incident” between Sainz and Alonso, which requires no further investigation by the stewards.
Last ten minutes to define the top 10 on the grid for tomorrow and it’s a tight fight between Verstappen, Leclerc and Sainz: only 0.080s splitting one another.
Fastest lap of the Miami weekend so far is Max Verstappen’s who sets a 1m28.991s.
Five minutes left and cars are out for a second run with new tyres for Verstappen, Leclerc, Sainz and Perez occupying the top four. Down in P10 is Gasly while Bottas completes the top 5.
Leclerc closes his lap in 1m28.796s, setting a provisional pole, with his teammate 0.190s behind in P2 after a brilliant first sector.
It’s Pole Position for Charles Leclerc, as Verstappen abandons his final attempt - following a oversteer snap following a mistake at Turn 6- and ends up in P3 between Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari and Sergio Perez’s RB18B.