Miami GP Qualifying: Charles Leclerc on pole ahead of Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen, Mercedes struggle


Charles Leclerc on pole ahead of Carlos Sainz as Max Verstappen fluffs final lap for Red Bull; Lewis Hamilton sixth, George Russell out in Q2 for Mercedes; Watch Sunday’s Miami GP live on Sky Sports F1 at 8.30pm, with build-up from 7pm

Last Updated: 07/05/22 11:22 pm

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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 flying 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 flying lap.

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

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

Trying to retaliate, Verstappen – Leclerc’s closest title rival – made a critical error through the first sector on his own final lap of Q3.

Leclerc eventually topped the shootout by 0.2seconds from Sainz and Verstappen, taking his third pole in the season’s first five races, while Ferrari have their first front-row lockout since Mexico 2019.

A closer look at Charles Leclerc's pole-clinching flying lap.

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A closer look at Charles Leclerc’s pole-clinching flying lap.

A closer look at Charles Leclerc’s pole-clinching flying lap.

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

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

George Russell, who was fastest in Practice Two, didn’t even make Q3, knocked out in 12th as he complained of “bouncing” and having “no confidence” in a W13 car that was no match for the Ferrari and 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 other surprise Q2 casualties.

Hamilton, while returning to Q3, will start behind 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 build-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, AlphaTauri
8) Lando Norris, McLaren
9) Yuki Tsoda, AlphaTauri
10) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin

Ferrari take charge of Miami GP | What happened to Merc?

The Miami GP qualifying did not disappoint in terms of close competition at the front while it also provided another reminder that just when you think 2022 momentum is with one team, it swings to another.

Red Bull dominated the Emilia Romagna GP and the long straights of the Miami International Autodrome were expected to suit their car, but it is Ferrari who ousted their rivals on Saturday.

Christian Horner feels it will be a fascinating contest battling the Ferrari's in the race after a small mistake cost Max Verstappen pole position.

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Christian Horner feels it will be a fascinating contest battling the Ferrari’s in the race after a small mistake cost Max Verstappen pole position.

Christian Horner feels it will be a fascinating contest battling the Ferrari’s in the race after a small mistake cost Max Verstappen pole position.

In fairness to Red Bull, they may well have taken a pole if not for Verstappen’s error at Turn Five, which prompted an expletive-laden radio message from the Dutchman. After qualifying, Verstappen once again noted his disrupted Friday, which he missed much of due to reliability issues.

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

Mercedes, meanwhile, flattered to deceive.

George Russell says the flip-flopping performance of his Mercedes 'really doesn't make a lot of sense' after qualifying 12th in Miami, his worst of the season so far.

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George Russell says the flip-flopping performance of his Mercedes ‘really doesn’t make a lot of sense’ after qualifying 12th in Miami, his worst of the season so far.

George Russell says the flip-flopping performance of his Mercedes ‘really doesn’t make a lot of sense’ after qualifying 12th in Miami, his worst of the season so far.

Having come into Saturday as arguably the team to beat given their Friday form, Mercedes struggled in final practice and were then distant in qualifying. Russell was on this occasion their slowest driver, and was downbeat and perplexed after the session.

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

Toto Wolff said Mercedes “worsened” their car with “experiments”, while Hamilton did at least take comfort from an improved qualifying for himself. “It was a much, much better qualifying session than I’ve had for 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's still disappointed with the car's performance after Practice Three and Qualification.

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Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff admits he’s still disappointed with the car’s performance after Practice Three and Qualification.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff admits he’s still disappointed with the car’s performance after Practice Three and Qualification.

Whether Mercedes can get back in the fight at the front on this form is doubtful, with the inaugural Miami GP set to host another gripping fight between title-fighting teams and drivers.

Watch it all live on Sky Sports F1.

Miami GP Qualifying Timesheet

Driver Team Time
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 AlphaTauri +0.894
8) Lando Norris McLaren +0.954
9) Yuki Tsido AlphaTauri +1.136
10) Lance Stroll Aston Martin +1.880
Out in Q2
11) Fernando Alonso Alpine 1: 30.160
12) George Russell Mercedes 1: 30.173
13) Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1: 30.214
14) Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1: 30.310
15) Mick Schumacher Haas 1: 30.423
Out 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 time set





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