Charles Leclerc Scores First-Ever Miami Pole in Ferrari One-Two

Charles Leclerc is the first-ever polesitter for the Formula One Miami Grand Prix. He’ll start ahead of his Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz for the inaugural race on Sunday, topping the charts by two-tenths of a second. It’s the first front-row lockout for Ferrari since the Mexican GP in 2019. 

“It is incredible to be here in the US and to see how much the sport has grown,” said Leclerc, who qualified ahead of celebrities including former First Lady Michelle Obama. “The last race was not great because I made a mistake but we start on pole here and I need to finish the job tomorrow.”

Teammate Carlos Sainz had struggled in qualifying, and he said: “Given from where I was coming from yesterday, I will take it. Tomorrow is going to be an interesting day, I think we can do a good job.”

Max Verstappen made a mistake in his final hot lap, and he was forced to settle for third. His Red Bull team has a second-row lockout, with teammate Sergio Perez in second.

Verstappen said he was “surprised” to even be competitive after a disastrous Friday practice session, where he had gearbox, steering, and brake issues which kept him out of the car for most of the running. “I think we did a really good job,” he said, “but we have to start making the weekends a little less difficult.”

Verstappen’s team principle Christian Horner said that “Ferrari are very strong round here. To win, he said, it will take “strategy, a bit of luck, seeing what the weather does. The track is brutal here. As a track to drive… it’s really challenging and it bites hard if you make a mistake.”

Lewis Hamilton qualified sixth, unable to find the same speed from his Mercedes that he had enjoyed on Friday, but his teammate failed to advance from Q2 and will start Sunday from twelfth on the grid. 

“We were a bit confused to be honest,” Russel said after stepping out of the car. “My qualifying lap then was slower than I did yesterday in FP2. It’s a real shame because I think the potential was in there. It’s just been a bit inconsistent. It’s not really making a lot of sense at the moment.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said his team “worsened” the car. He explained: “The car is still bouncing like a kangaroo and the drivers are not happy with it. That’s the reason we are off.”  But he said the team “definitely got a better handle” on the problems with the car.

1 16 Charles Leclerc FERRARI 1:29.474 1:29.130 1:28.796 25
2 55 Carlos Sainz FERRARI 1:30.079 1:29.729 1:28.986 26
3 1 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING RBPT 1:29.836 1:29.202 1:28.991 18
4 11 Sergio Perez RED BULL RACING RBPT 1:30.055 1:29.673 1:29.036 21
5 77 Valtteri Bottas ALFA ROMEO FERRARI 1:30.845 1:29.751 1:29.475 20
6 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:30.388 1:29.797 1:29.625 21
7 10 Pierre Gasly ALPHATAURI RBPT 1:30.779 1:30.128 1:29.690 22
8 4 Lando Norris MCLAREN MERCEDES 1:30.761 1:29.634 1:29.750 22
9 22 Yuki Tsunoda ALPHATAURI RBPT 1:30.485 1:30.031 1:29.932 21
10 18 Lance Stroll ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES 1:30.441 1:29.996 1:30.676 21
11 14 Fernando Alonso ALPINE RENAULT 1:30.407 1:30.160 14
12 63 George Russell MERCEDES 1:30.490 1:30.173 15
13 5 Sebastian Vettel ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES 1:30.677 1:30.214 15
14 3 Daniel Ricciardo MCLAREN MERCEDES 1:30.583 1:30.310 15
15 47 Mick Schumacher HAAS FERRARI 1:30.645 1:30.423 19
16 20 Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI 1:30.975 11
17 24 Zhou Guanyu ALFA ROMEO FERRARI 1:31.020 9
18 23 Alexander Albon WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:31.266 10
19 6 Nicholas Latifi WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:31.325 10
Owen Johnson