Max Verstappen beats Charles Leclerc to pole in 2024 Miami GP Sprint Qualifying

The Dutchman will start on pole for the 2024 Miami GP Sprint Race ahead of Ferrari driver Leclerc, who recovered from a spin in practice on Friday to qualify second

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Red Bull driver Max Verstappen will start on pole position for the F1 Sprint race on Saturday ahead of the Formula 1 2024 Miami Grand Prix, as Mercedes struggled again in the United States.

The Dutchman, who has secured pole in all five qualifying sessions so far this season, was surprisingly beaten to the punch by Lando Norris during sprint qualifying at the Chinese GP a fortnight ago.

But he exacted revenge as the McLaren driver, who had topped the first two sprint qualifying sessions of the day in his upgraded MCL-44, struggled on his final run on the soft tyre in SQ3.

Verstappen only opted for one run on the medium tyre in SQ2, but he wasn’t short of pace when it came to the top-10 shootout. The three-time world champion set a time of 1:27.641, some two tenths ahead of Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari and Sergio Perez in third.

Race winner Max Verstappen celebrates after 2024 Chinese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Max Verstappen is on pole for the Miami sprint race. | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Daniel Ricciardo was the biggest surprise in fourth ahead of Carlos Sainz in fifth, with Oscar Piastri beating Lance Stroll to sixth. Fernando Alonso will start eighth, with Norris ninth and Nico Hulkenberg in 10th.

Mercedes struggle again

Perez had put in the fastest time on the first run in SQ1, a 1:27.865, which was eight tenths faster than his SQ1 lap. But Norris once again trumped the Red Bull with another impressive lap, eclipsing Perez by a quarter of a second. Verstappen’s sole run was good enough to get him through in fourth.

There were few surprises as the bottom with Pierre Gasly missing out in 16th, with the two Saubers of Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas followed by Logan Sargeant and Alex Albon in the Williams.

But the biggest shock of the day saw Mercedes lose not one but two of their drivers in SQ2 after George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were eliminated, having failed to beat Hulkenberg’s time.

Hamilton hit the wall on his second run and finished a few tenths adrift, while Russell struggled to find the pace to sneak inside the top 10, compounding another disappointing qualifying session for the Silver Arrows.

It means Russell will start from P11, with Hamilton alongside him on the grid in 12th for Saturday’s F1 Sprint. And to make matters worse, Hamilton has been placed under investigation by the stewards for an alleged pit lane infringement.

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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