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Leclerc is pole position at the Miami GP; Verstappen is 3rd

Charles Leclerc secured pole position at the Miami GP in the qualifying session that took place this afternoon (7th) in the United States. He scored 1m28s796. Ferrari completes the front row with Carlos Sainz in second place.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was the first to drop from 1:29 in the session, but will start in third place in the inaugural race at the Miami International Circuit. Seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton was sixth in Q3. The reigning world champion found himself in a tight contest with the ferraristas — with less than two hundredths separating the top three.

The Mercedes cars, by the way, suffered during the qualifying session. Lewis Hamilton had to go to the pits to change tires and avoid elimination in Q3, having to settle for sixth place. George Russell, on the other hand, couldn’t resist Q2 and will start in 12th. Bad news on a weekend when the British team was rehearsing a reaction.

The race takes place this Sunday from 16:30 (Brasília time).

Q3: Exciting turns

The Ferraris got off to a strong start, with Leclerc clocking 1m29s055 and Sainz just 0s016 behind. The happiness was short-lived, until Max Verstappen recorded a time of 1m28s991 and took the lead in Q3 with the first time under 1m29s. Very small difference from 0s080, among the best cars on Saturday. In the final stretch, Sainz and Leclerc broke the Dutchman’s advantage and secured the front row with times of 1m28s986 and 1m28s796 from pole position in the afternoon.

1st – Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari)
2nd – Carlos Sainz (ESP/Ferrari)
3rd – Max Verstappen (HOL/Red Bull)
4th – Sergio Perez (MEX/Red Bull)
5th – Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Alfa Romeo)
6th – Lewis Hamilton (ENG/Mercedes)
7th – Pierre Gasly (FRA/AlphaTauri)
8th – Lando Norris (ING/McLaren)
9th – Yuki Tsunoda (JAP/AlphaTauri)
10th – Lance Stroll (CAN/Aston Martin)

Q2: Head to Head Duel

There was no time to lose: two minutes after the checkered flag, all the drivers were already trying to open fast laps. Sainz started well, but Verstappen soon scored a 1m29s202. Sergio Perez scored 0.4s less, in second place. To prove that the duel between Red Bull and Ferrari for the best times was tight and exciting, Leclerc sought 1min29s130, the fastest lap of Q2.

In the search for survival, George Russell had to abort a lap for losing control of the Mercedes for a moment, went to the pits, returned and managed a time of 1min30s173. It wasn’t enough to secure himself in Q3 on a difficult afternoon for the British team. Others who tried but failed were the following:

Russell - Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images via AFP - Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images via AFP

George Russell during Miami GP qualifying practice: out of Q3 again this season

Image: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images via AFP

11th – Fernando Alonso (ESP/Alpine)
12th – George Russell (ENG/Mercedes)
13th – Sebastian Vettel (ALE/Aston Martin)
14th – Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/McLaren)
15th – Mick Schumacher (ALE/Haas)

Q1: Hamilton’s suffering

The countdown to Q1 started with hot and humid weather in Miami in the late afternoon. It took just over five minutes on the track before Max Verstappen set a time of 1min30s235 and took over the top. The times started to decrease, Carlos Sainz passed the Dutchman and soon after Charles Leclerc gave the answer with 1min29s474.

Out of contention at the top, Lewis Hamilton went to the pits to change tires on the final stretch of Q1. He wanted to try a fast lap that would avoid early elimination. He managed 1min30s388, jumped from 17th to fifth best and breathed a sigh of relief. The following pilots were eliminated:

Hamilton - Reproduction/@F1 - Reproduction/@F1

Lewis Hamilton changes tires in the pits during Q1 of Miami GP qualifying

Image: Playback/@F1

16th – Kevin Magnussen (DIN/Haas)
17th – Zhou Guanyu (CHN/Alfa Romeo)
18th – Alexander Albon (TAI / Williams)
19th – Nicholas Latifi (CAN/Williams)
Did not participate – Esteban Ocon (FRA/Alpine)

Ocon starts last

Frenchman Esteban Ocon did not participate in the classification and will start this Sunday’s race last. Earlier, in the third free practice, his Alpine slammed into the side at turn 14 and forced him to retire from the session. The stoppage of activities lasted about 15 minutes. The chassis has been compromised and will need to be replaced. Alpine promised hard work throughout the night and stated that Ocon will participate in the race.

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