F1 – Verstappen Takes Sprint Pole In Miami As Both Mercedes Exit In Sq2

Max Verstappen took his first Sprint pole of 2024, beating Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by just over a tenth of a second in a tight qualifying session for the Sprint at the 2024 FIA Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix. Sergio Pérez took third place, but Mercedes’ George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were eliminated at the end of SQ2.

At the start of SQ1 it was Pérez who took the early lead but the Red Bull driver was immediately bounced out of top spot by team-mate Verstappen who posted a time of 1:28.601 to eclipse the Mexican by eight hundredths of a second.

Pérez was then shuffled back to fourth as McLaren’s Oscar Piastri took second, just 0.038s behind Verstappen, and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. Lando Norris, in the other McLaren, then bumped all four down a place by taking top spot with a lap of 1:27.939.

Haas’ Kevin Magnussen then made a big jump, posting a lap of 1:28.377 to climb to third behind Verstappen, and the Danish driver’s time was followed by a slew of late improvements, with Piastri slotting into P2 behind Norris and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso moving ahead of Verstappen thanks to a final lap of 1:28.192.

At the bottom of the order there was no place in SQ2 for Alpine’s Pierre Gasly who went out in P16, ahead of the Alfa Romeos of Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas. The bottom two places were filled by Williams pair Logan Sargeant and Alex Albon. Thai driver Albon might have made it through but his final lap was deleted for a track limits infringement in Turn 15 and he exited in P20.

At the start of the second segment, Pérez again set the early pace. The Mexican posted a lap of 1:27.865 to take top spot a tenth of a second ahead of Leclerc and two clear of RB’s Daniel Ricciardo. However, Norris then appeared to once again bounce the Red Bull driver out of P1, with the McLaren going quickest of all with a lap of 1:27.597.

Verstappen opted for a single SQ2 run but after emerging with just over three minutes remaining, the Dutchman could only make his way to fourth place on the timesheet behind Leclerc and 0.121 ahead of Ricciardo. Piastri went through in P6 ahead of Alonso, the second Ferrari or Carlos Sainz, the second Aston of Lance Stroll and the 10th-placed Haas of Nico Hülkenberg.

However, the major shock was the exit of both Mercedes drivers, with George Russell dropping out in P11 a little under three hundredths of a second ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton who took 12th place. Alpine’s Esteban Ocon exited in P13 ahead of Magnussen, while Yuki Tsunoda in the other RB was ruled out in P15.

In SQ3, Pérez led the way for the third time in the session, with the Mexican stopping the clock at 1:27.876. Behind him Verstappen had a nervous moment in Turn 14, but despite the snap he moved to the top of the order, two tenths ahead of his team-mate.

After topping the first two session and with Verstappen making a mistake, the way looked clear for Norris to take a second Sprint pole of the season but a lurid slide on his lap lost the Briton a chunk of time as Leclerc took second, Norris had to settle for ninth.

Behind the top three, Ricciardo took an impressive fourth for RB ahead of Sainz, Piastri and Stroll. Alonso was eighth ahead of Norris and the final top 10 place was filled by Hülkenberg.

2024 FIA Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix – Sprint Qualifying 
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:27.641 – –
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:27.749 0.108 0.123
3 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Racing 1:27.876 0.235
4 Daniel Ricciardo RB 1:28.044 0.403
5 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:28.103 0.462
6 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:28.161 0.520
7 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:28.375 0.734
8 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:28.419 0.778
9 Lando Norris McLaren 1:28.472 0.831
10 Nico Hülkenberg Haas 1:28.476 0.835
11 George Russell Mercedes 1:28.343 0.702
12 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:28.371 0.730
13 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:28.379 0.738
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:28.614 0.973
15 Yuki Tsunoda RB – – –
16 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:29.185 1.544
17 Zhou Guanyu Sauber 1:29.267 1.626
18 Valtteri Bottas Sauber 1:29.360 1.719
19 Logan Sargeant Williams 1:29.551 1.910
20 Alexander Albon Williams 1:29.858 2.217

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