Sprint qualifying pole in Miami goes to Max Verstappen, Ricciardo wows with pace

The Formula 1 race weekend continues in Miami with Sprint qualifying that saw Max Verstappen take pole position for tomorrow afternoon’s Sprint race. Charles Leclerc in his Ferrari lines up alongside him, as this session went much better than free practice that saw him spin his blue SF-24. Behind them, Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo make up the second row.

Ricciardo was undoubtedly the surprise of the session, scoring his best qualifying position of the season and putting his Racing Bulls car somewhere we haven’t seen it yet. It may just be enough to quiet those doubting that Ricciardo is the one for the job, as he outdid drivers that have outperformed him since the start of the season, including teammate Yuki Tsunoda. That said, he’ll need to execute in the Sprint tomorrow if he intends to bring home points and not get passed by those behind him.

McLaren appeared to have great pace in the qualifying’s first two sessions, but both Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri saw massive performance drop-offs when it came time to set their starting positions with Norris in ninth and Piastri in sixth. Most teams blamed the poor soft tire performance for some unpredictability in the final qualifying session, but it’s a disappointing result for McLaren considering the hyped upgrades it brought to this weekend. We’ll see if there’s any more pace in the car come race time tomorrow.

Unfortunately for Mercedes, its two drivers were the disappointment of the Sprint qualifying. Lewis Hamilton only managed 12th after clipping a wall on his last attempt and George Russel was right with him in 11th.

The South Florida native Logan Sargeant put his Williams in 19th for the Sprint a couple of hours after his Team Principal James Vowles spoke positively about him in the face of rumors that he might be replaced by young Kimi Antonelli before the end of the year. As disappointing of a starting position that may be for his home race, he will line up ahead of his teammate Alex Albon for the first time this year due to Albon having his laptime deleted, dropping him to dead last on the grid.

This weekend is notably the first time Miami has hosted a Sprint race, and it’s doing so with the new order of events that puts qualifying for Sunday’s Grand Prix after the Sprint concludes instead of before it. Per usual, tomorrow’s Sprint will be one-third the distance of a standard grand prix. It begins at noon Eastern time, and weather predictions are similar to what we saw today with hot temperatures and no rain whatsoever.

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