Can Verstappen Challenge in Miami After A Poor Qualifying Session!
It is gearing up to an interesting Miami Grand Prix after some qualifying incidents.
For the Miami Grand Prix, Red Bull's Sergio Perez earned pole position, but teammate and challenger for the championship Max Verstappen will start way back in ninth on the grid for the main race.
In the final session of the first run of qualifying, Verstappen made a mistake, and when Charles Leclerc of Ferrari crashed, there was no time to resume qualifying when the red flag came out. Perez for Red Bull will share the front row of the grid with Fernando Alonso of the Aston Martin team.
Carlos Sainz of Ferrari comes in third, with Kevin Magnussen of the US-based Haas achieving an incredible fourth.
In the race for top-10 slot on the grid, George Russell was able to bring a solid performance to the table and finished sixth, just behind Pierre Gasly's Alpine.
Mercedes struggled in other areas. Lewis Hamilton will start in 13th after being eliminated in the second practise. The team's decision to send him out late made it difficult for him to properly condition his tyres, which compromised him and left him struggling to find form.
After making mistakes in the first few runs of the session, both Verstappen and Leclerc were under pressure going into the final runs.
Leclerc scraped the wall at Turn 16, and Verstappen ran wide at Turns Six and Seven.
Leclerc ruined the rest of the practise for everyone else by running early, losing control into the fast Turn Six, spinning on the entry to Turn Seven, and backing his Ferrari into the wall. Both had to perform well on their last runs.
Another Collision by Leclerc in the Ferrari
It was Leclerc's second collision in two days at the same location after he had lost control in a similar set of bends in Friday's second practise. He'll start seventh place when the race gets going for real.
As a result, Perez, who is now trailing Verstappen by six points in a battle that may turn out to be exclusive championship race between the two drivers for the Red Bull team, receives a huge boost for his chances in Miami.
Perez has been a bit disjointed in performance for the majority of the weekend, but he turned in a strong lap on the opening runs of the final session to place himself in the driver's seat for the remaining runs. The Mexican ended ahead of his next rival Alonso in qualifying by 0.361 seconds, the experienced Spaniard is continuing his strong start to the season and long may that last, its great to see back on form. Fellow countryman Sainz in the Ferrari was behind by a further 0.147 seconds.
Leclerc, Alpine's Esteban Ocon, Verstappen and Bottas in the Alfa Romeo rounded out the top 10, which is looking like it maybe an interesting Grand Prix to watch.