SErgio Pérez has secured pole position for the Miami Grand Prix in Formula 1 and has significantly increased the pressure on Max Verstappen – because the world champion will only start from ninth place in the race on Sunday (9:30 p.m. CEST in the FAZ live ticker for Formula 1 and at Sky).
In the decisive part of qualifying, Verstappen initially spoiled the first fast lap due to a driving error. He was not granted a second because the session ended prematurely due to an accident involving Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, who hit the rear of the barrier but got out of his SF-23 unharmed. Already in the second practice session on Friday, Monegasse had pushed it too far in the border area and crashed his Ferrari into the wall.
Alonso on second, Magnussen fourth
Pérez, on the other hand, showed a strong first lap, he turned the fastest lap in 1:26.841 minutes and thus has a good chance of taking the lead in the world championship for the first time. With a win on Sunday he would be at the top, currently he is six points behind Verstappen. “It was my worst weekend up until qualifying,” confessed Pérez afterwards. “We made a little change and experimented a bit and that kicked the car on.”
Behind Pérez, Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin and Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz start from positions two and three. Kevin Magnussen in the Haas used the confusion for a strong fourth place on the grid.
His team-mate Nico Hülkenberg also had very good chances of finishing in the top 10, but he misbraked in the second part of qualifying and lost crucial tenths, ultimately being enough for 12th on the grid.
Mercedes “simply too slow”
It’s already been a disappointing weekend for Mercedes. After all, George Russell made it into the last qualifying segment and finished sixth, record world champion Lewis Hamilton struggled with 13th place. “I have to bite my teeth tomorrow and see what I can achieve,” said the Briton on Sky. “The car is just too slow,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.
Pérez, on the other hand, won the sprint and the Grand Prix in Baku last weekend and could now follow suit, after that it didn’t look like the practice sessions in Miami. Verstappen’s performances were confident, and that was also true of qualifying – until his driving mistake put him in a bad position. The weather is causing a few uncertainties for everyone involved: there could be rain before the start on Sunday.
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