Miami GP Sprint Classification: Max Verstappen beats Charles Leclerc and takes pole position while Mercedes suffers early exits | F1 News

Max Verstappen took Sprint pole for Red Bull at the Miami GP; Charles Leclerc second for Ferrari; Lewis Hamilton and George Russell of Mercedes, both in SQ2; Watch the Sprint on Saturday at 5pm, qualifying at 9pm and the Miami GP on Sunday at 9pm, live on Sky Sports F1

11:13 p.m., United Kingdom, Friday, May 3, 2024

Max Verstappen beat Charles Leclerc to pole at the Miami Sprint Grand Prix, while Mercedes suffered a dismal start to the weekend with a double early start.

Verstappen struggled with his Red Bull throughout the session, including on the pole lap, but the other contenders fell and left the world championship leader at the top of the timesheets.

Ferrari’s Leclerc recovered from missing most of the weekend’s only practice session on Friday to take second place and finish tenth behind the Dutchman.

Lando Norris looked the most likely driver to deny Verstappen pole after topping SQ1 and SQ2 in his significantly improved McLaren, but the Briton will only start ninth after struggling in SQ3.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and George Russell face elimination in SQ2 at Miami Grand Prix

Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez came third, while Daniel Ricciardo took an impressive fourth place for Red Bull junior team RB as the Australian fights for his future in the sport.

Carlos Sainz was fifth for Ferrari ahead of McLaren’s Piastri, while Lance Stroll took a rare qualifying victory over Aston Martin team-mate Fernando Alonso, finishing seventh and eighth respectively.

Mercedes, who also brought improvements to the Miami International Circuit, continued their dismal start to the season as both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton were eliminated in SQ2.

Miami GP sprint classification: Top 10

1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull

2) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

3) Sergio Pérez, Red Bull

4) Daniel Ricciardo, RB

5) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

6) Oscar Piastri, McLaren

7) Lance Ride, Aston Martin

8) Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin

9) Lando Norris, McLaren

10) Nico Hulkenberg, Haas

‘HA HA HA!’ – Verstappen surprised by the Sprint pole

The upgraded MCL38 had been the talk of the paddock on Friday morning when McLaren revealed what chief executive Zak Brown admitted is basically a B-spec car, such is the extent of the changes.

The new parts, of which Norris had all and his teammate Piastri only a few, seemed to be working as planned, as the Briton showed strong pace to overcome SQ1 and SQ2 on medium tyres.

However, the mandatory switch to soft tires for the final eight-minute stint seemed to completely unnerve Norris, as he was almost a second slower than he had been in SQ2.

Max Verstappen takes Sprint Pole after challenging Sprint Qualifying session at Miami Grand Prix

Verstappen was unable to achieve the near-perfect level of performance he expects from himself and his team, but found an improvement of almost 0.4s between SQ2 and SQ3 to go clean.

Given his own struggles, Verstappen seemed surprised when told over the team radio that he had taken pole.

“LOL (laughs out loud),” he said. “What happened to the others? This was terrible. I mean, I’ll take it!”

Speaking after the session, Verstappen explained: “It felt really terrible. Maybe the last session was incredibly difficult to get the tires working.”

“Already in SQ2 I didn’t feel very good. In SQ3, I just felt quite similar. I didn’t really improve on the soft. Somehow we were first. Of course, I happily accept that.”

The McLaren team reflects on the Sprint Qualifying session of the Miami Grand Prix

Friday provided a snapshot of Leclerc’s inconsistent start to the season, as the Monegasque, who has been chosen over teammate Sainz to remain as Hamilton’s teammate at Ferrari next year, missed almost all of practice. after an early spin.

With the only practice session of a Sprint weekend being so crucial, missing much of it seemed like a big setback, but Leclerc showed his trademark speed in one lap to end the day on a high.

Mercedes problems continue despite updates

While not as significant as McLaren’s improvements, Mercedes brought a new floor and front suspension that they hoped would allow the W15 to take a step forward.

However, there was little sign of improvement as neither Russell nor Hamilton were able to reach SQ3.

Hamilton, who cannot be blamed at this point for letting his mind wander to his move to Ferrari next year, cut a dejected figure at the end of his latest fastest lap attempt.

Ted Kravitz and Ed Sheeran walk through the pit lane where they talk about Ipswich, Formula 1 and much more.

“I have nothing,” the seven-time world champion said over the team radio.

Mercedes will hope that Friday’s poor performance is the result of not optimizing its upgrades, rather than the parts simply not fixing any of its problems.

The good news for the Silver Arrows is that F1’s new Sprint format for 2024, which debuted in China last month, allows teams to make major setup changes when the cars leave parc ferme after the race. 100 km on Saturday and before qualifying for the Grand Prix on Sunday.

With only the top eight points in the Sprint, Mercedes will fight for scraps on Saturday, but will hope to salvage something from the weekend when bigger prizes are available on Sunday.

Miami GP sprint qualifying time sheet

Driver Equipment Time
1) Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:27,641
2) Charles Leclerc ferrari +0.108
3) Sergio Pérez Red Bull +0.235
4) Daniel Ricciardo R.B. +0.403
5) Carlos Sainz ferrari +0.462
6) Oscar Piasti McLaren +0.520
7) Spear Walk Aston Martin +0.734
8)Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +0.778
9) Lando Norris McLaren +0.831
10) Nico Hulkenberg haas +0.835
Knocked out in SQ2
11) George Russell Mercedes 1:28,343
12) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:28,371
13) Esteban Ocón Alpine 1:28,379
14) Kevin Magnussen haas 1:28,614
15) Yuki Tsunoda R.B. No set time
Knocked out in SQ1
16) Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:29.185
17) Zhou Guanyu Sauber 1:29,267
18) Valtteri Bottas Sauber 1:29,360
19) Logan Sergeant williams 1:29,551
20) Alex Albon williams 1:29,858

Miami GP schedule live from Sky Sports F1

Miami GP 2024 managing partner Tom Garfinkel tells Sky Sports’ Craig Slater about the improvements they have made to the track and its surroundings to improve the experience for both competitors and spectators.

Saturday May 4
15.25: F1 Academy Classification
4:00 pm: Miami Sprint GP (race starts at 5:00 pm)
6:30 p.m.: Ted’s sprint notebook
7:05 p.m.: Race 1 of the F1 Academy
8:00 pm: preparation for Miami GP qualifying*
9:00 p.m.: Miami GP Classification*
11:00 p.m.: Ted’s classification notebook*

Sunday May 5
6:05 p.m.: F1 Academy Race 2
7:30 p.m.: preparation for Sunday’s Grand Prix in Miami*
9:00 p.m.: MIAMI GRAND PRIX*
11:00 p.m.: Checkered flag: reaction from the Miami GP*
Midnight: Ted’s Notebook*

*also live on Sky Sports main event

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