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Leclerc takes pole ahead of Ferrari team mate Sainz in first-ever Miami Grand Prix qualifying session


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Where: Miami International Autodrome

When: Sunday, 3:30 p.m. ET

TV: ABC/ESPN Deportes

Stream: Watch ESPN

Charles Leclerc took pole position in a stunning battle for pole at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix qualifying session, his title rival Max Verstappen settling for third on the grid – while Carlos Sainz backed up a Ferrari one-two.

Leclerc aced the first two qualifying sessions but Verstappen was closing in, setting up a grandstand finish in the top-10 shootout. Q3 saw the reigning champion take provisional pole but Leclerc eclipsed him for a final pole time of 1m 28.796s, Sainz filing in second by 0.190s.

AS IT HAPPENED: All the action from qualifying for the Miami Grand Prix

Verstappen made a mistake in his final flying lap and was eventually third, just 0.005s behind Sainz, while Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez took P4.

Valtteri Bottas, a new Ferrari power unit in his Alfa Romeo, delivered with P5 – ahead of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, who was sixth despite having had to put in a quick final lap in Q1 to avoid elimination.


Qualifying results


1. Charles LECLERC Ferrari 1:28.796

2. Carlos SAINZ Ferrari 1:28.986

3. Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing 1:28.991

4. Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing 1:29.036

5. Valtteri BOTTAS Alfa Romeo 1:29.475

Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda both made it to Q3 for AlphaTauri, the Frenchman qualifying seventh and the Japanese driver ninth. Between them was Lando Norris, eighth in qualifying despite going P3 in Q2. Lance Stroll rounded out the top 10 for Aston Martin.

Alpine’s Fernando Alonso missed out on Q3 in P11, ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell – who dealt with severe porpoising in Q2 – while Sebastian Vettel was disappointed to take P13 for Aston Martin. Gear shift issues for Daniel Ricciardo put him 14th on the grid for McLaren, while Mick Schumacher was last in Q2, finishing P15 on Saturday.

His Haas team mate Kevin Magnussen (P16) missed out on Q2 by a tenth, and Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu took P17 having been compromised by traffic in his final flying run. Neither Williams driver made it out of Q1, Alex Albon taking P18 and Nicholas Latifi 19th.

Esteban Ocon did not take part in qualifying after his FP3 crash and is likely to start Sunday’s Grand Prix from the pit lane.


Q1 – Leclerc strikes first as Hamilton avoids shock elimination

Miami had plenty of drama still to offer after three action-packed practice sessions, Esteban Ocon absent from qualifying after his FP3 crash – meaning there would be 19 drivers taking part in the first-ever Miami Grand Prix qualifying session.

Verstappen set the early benchmark in Q1 but times tumbled, Charles Leclerc eclipsing him to go top with a time of 1m -tenths off his team mate while Perez took fourth, another two-tenths behind.

Lewis Hamilton abandoned his first effort and a subsequent lap was deleted for track limits, putting the Mercedes driver in the drop zone with time ticking down. But he jumped from P18 to P5 with his last-gasp effort, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso also joining him in Q2 with a late flyer for P6.

Lance Stroll was a surprise seventh for Aston Martin, keeping a rapid Yuki Tsunoda behind by half a tenth, while Mercedes’ George Russell (P9) and McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo rounded out the top 10.

Mick Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly made it out of Q1 along with 15th place Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas, the Finn through at the expense of Haas’S Kevin Magnussen.

Along with Magnussen, Alfa Romeo’s frustrated rookie Zhou Guanyu – bailing out of his final effort due to traffic – was eliminated, as were Williams drivers Alex Albon (P18 due to insufficient tyre warm-up) and Nicholas Latifi (P19).


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