Sergio Perez takes pole in Miami during a windy qualifying position that provided challenges to drivers across the field.
The first qualifying session saw a few close calls as the drivers looked to find space on the track. Hamilton nearly hit the rear of Magnussen, Zhou got cut off by Sainz, and Hulkenberg was impeded in the pitlane by Tsunoda.
It was a nervy session for the Mercedes drivers, as they found themselves down at 18th and 19th before they finished their final laps. Whilst they were both able to avoid a surprise Q1 exit, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll wasn’t so lucky. The Canadian went out on a used set of tyres for his final lap, and with others around him using fresh tyres, he wasn’t able to extract enough performance to avoid elimination.
McLaren had a disappointing session which saw them be the only team to have both drivers eliminated.
16. Lando Norris – McLaren +0.069
17. Yuki Tsunoda – Alfa Tauri +0.104
18. Lance Stroll – Aston Martin +0.151
19. Oscar Piastri – McLaren +0.159
20. Logan Sargeant – Williams +0.252
More pitlane drama early on in Q2 as Hulkenberg was released into the path of Fernando Alonso.
The struggles at Mercedes continued into this session. Both drivers had scruffy first runs that saw them provisionally 8th and 9th, This left both drivers under pressure to deliver during their final runs, and whilst Russell was able to scrape through by five hundredths of a second, Hamilton struggled to improve on his lap time, only able to be 13th fastest in the end.
Alex Albon continues to show impressive qualifying form for Williams this season. He flirted with entering Q3 for much of this session, and was only knocked into the elimination zone following late improvements from Gasly and Russell.
11. Alex Albon – Williams +0.052
12. Nico Hulkenberg – Haas +0.160
13. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes +0.232
14. Zhou Guanyu – Alfa Romeo +0.348
15. Nyck de Vries – Alpha Tauri +0.652
Sergio Perez drew first blood as he set provisional pole with his flying lap. Teammate Verstappen was down in 9th place after nearly losing control of the car towards the end of sector 1, and abandoning his lap as a result.
Kevin Magnussen and Pierre Gasly both set strong times that brought them up to 4th and 5th respectively. Charles Leclerc had also put in a strong lap for the most part, having put in the fastest sector 2 of the session, but a lockup at turn 16 cost him enough time to place him 7th.
This however wouldn’t be the last time Leclerc would make a mistake this session. Pushing heavily to improve his lap time, he took too much kerb at turn 7, causing his Ferrari to spin into the barriers. This brought out the red flag, with no one able to improve their laps.
This means Verstappen will start the race tomorrow from 9th place, whilst Perez has a good opportunity to convert a pole to win and take the lead in the driver’s championship for the first time in his career.
1 Sergio Perez – Red Bull 1:26.841
2. Fernando Alonso – Aston Martin +0.361
3. Carlos Sainz – Ferrari +0.508
4. Kevin Magnussen – Haas +0.926
5. Pierre Gasly – Alpine +0.945
6. George Russell – Mercedes +0.963
7. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari +1.020
8. Esteban Ocon – Alpine +1.094
9. Max Verstappen – Red Bull NO TIME
10. Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo NO TIME