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Sergio Perez will lead the field in Miami on Sunday. The Mexican driver scored his second pole position of 2023 – a crucial result in a weekend that had been dominated by his teammate and championship rival Max Verstappen. The defending champion will line up down in ninth after a late red flag cut his Q3 run short.
F1 Miami Grand Prix: Who Will be on Pole?
Sergio Perez will be on pole for the 2023 F1 Miami Grand Prix. The Mexican driver set a 1:26.841 to score his third career pole position, and the first outside Saudi Arabia. Fernando Alonso will line up on the front row after a solid session, with Carlos Sainz and a surprising Kevin Magnussen lining up on row 2. Max Verstappen will line up ninth after not setting a laptime. The Dutchman ran wide on his first attempt, and then saw the second one interrupted after Charles Leclerc crashed and brought out out a red flag.
F1 Miami Q1: Mercedes Survives, Drama for Lance Stroll
Kevin Magnussen was the first driver to set a representative lap, but was quickly demoted from the top spot once the faster teams hit the track. Verstappen and Perez traded tenths, with the Mexican driver eventually moving to the top. Leclerc slotted himself between the two Red Bulls, with Alonso and Magnussen completing the top 5.
Mercedes struggled during the first run, as Russell and Hamilton could only manage 18th and 20th, respectively. The situation got worse for the seven-time champion, as he ran into a slow Magnussen on the outlap and brushed the wall.
Verstappen improved to first during his second run, going 0.35s faster than Perez. The battle to escape the cutoff was frantic. Russell and Hamilton managed to survive with two late fliers, dropping the two McLarens into the cutoff zone. Yuki Tsunoda joined the Woking pair along with local man Logan Sargeant. The biggest disappointment was, however, Lance Stroll, as the Aston Martin driver could only manage an 18th place and found himself out in the first part of qualifying.
F1 Miami Q2: Verstappen Leads, Hamilton Out
As traffic proved to be a problem in Q1, Red Bull wasted no time. Verstappen and Perez were the first drivers out of the pits, immediately slotting into first and second, respectively. Alonso was third at the end of the first run, with Haas duo Hulkenberg and Magnussen continuing to show impressive pace and moving into fourth and fifth.
Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Alpine decided to save a set of tyres, sitting in the pitlane until the second half of the session. The two Ferraris and the two Alpines got into the top 10, at the expense of the two Mercedes drivers.
Naturally, there was plenty of drama in the final minutes of the session. As drivers rushed to escape the cutoff, Hamilton could only manage 13th and found himself out in Q2. Joining the Mercedes driver were Alexander Albon, who missed out on the Q3 transfer by a mere 0.052s, Hulkenberg, Zhou Guanyu and Nyck de Vries.
F1 Miami Q3: Perez on Pole, Red Flag Shuffles the Order
Perez was the first driver to go out, and the Mexican set a 1:26.841 to go top, over three tenths clear from the rest of the field. It was the first lap of the weekend in the 26s range. Verstappen cut his first run short after making a mistake through turn 5. Leclerc, who had set the fastest second sector, locked up into turn 17 and could only manage seventh.
Verstappen was out on track first for the second run, but did not have enough time to set a fast lap. Leclerc clipped the curbs through 5 and 6, looping his car around and crashing hard into the barriers. The Monegasque got quickly out of the car, but the crash angle could very well spell some gearbox trouble for the Ferrari driver.
The late red flag ended the session, leaving Verstappen down in ninth and Perez on pole, as the Mexican driver finds himself in a prime position to take the championship lead on Sunday. He will line up alongside Fernando Alonso in a repeat of Saudi Arabia’s front row. Sainz, the ever impressive Magnussen, Gasly, Russell, Leclerc, Ocon, Verstappen and Bottas completed the top 10.
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