Max Verstappen stunned by Red Bull issues after ‘terrible’ Miami GP Sprint pole

Max Verstappen took another pole position, this time for the 2024 Miami Grand Prix Sprint Race

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Max Verstappen was left mystified at how he clinched pole position for the F1 Sprint Race at the Formula 1 2024 Miami Grand Prix after admitting his lap in Sprint Qualifying was “pretty terrible”.

The Dutchman will start on the front row for Saturday’s sprint race in Miami, which will see the drivers battle it out over 19 laps in the Florida city. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will line up alongside him after beating Sergio Perez to P2, with Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz rounding out the top five.

Despite only having only one practice session to test his car on the track, Verstappen looked in control after topping the timings in FP1. In sprint qualifying, his lap time – a 1:27.641 – was the quickest in all three sessions as the drivers moved onto the soft tyre for the top-10 shootout.

But Verstappen was puzzled at how he managed to put his car on pole after a scrappy lap around the challenging street circuit, admitting he expected to be gazumped by some of his rivals.

Max Verstappen during practice ahead of 2024 Miami Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Max Verstappen during practice ahead of 2024 Miami Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

“It felt pretty terrible! I don’t know, I think that last session was just difficult to get the tyres to work. In SQ2 I didn’t feel great, SQ3 was quite similar for me, I didn’t really improve on the soft tyre,” Verstappen told F1TV in his post-qualifying interview.

“Happy to take it [pole] but it didn’t really feel enjoyable out there to drive, for whatever reason. In practice, it felt really, really nice, I was comfortable. In [sprint] qualifying, not so much.”

A missed opportunity

Lando Norris had appeared to be the frontrunner to snatch pole off Verstappen after going fastest in SQ1 and SQ2, with 10 upgrades applied to his McLaren car. But the Briton overcooked his tyres in SQ3 and could only qualify ninth.

Likewise, Leclerc and Perez couldn’t find pace to improve on their SQ2 performances, and Verstappen thinks it could be a missed opportunity when the race comes around as he expects to show better pace.

“I think around a track like this where it’s still quite low grip, if the tyres are not in the right window, you can feel either like really good or really bad,” Verstappen added.

“Somehow today, we felt pretty bad but I guess everyone else also didn’t get it together in the final run on the soft tyres. But normally, once we’re in race-based conditions, it will stabilise a bit more, then it should be a bit better.”

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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