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Leclerc on pole after Verstappen error

Leclerc on pole after Verstappen error

FORMULA ONE: Charles Leclerc beat teammate Carlos Sainz to pole position for the Miami Grand Prix yesterday (May 7) after Max Verstappen threw away his final lap with a mistake.

By Michael Lamonato

Sunday 8 May 2022, 10:39AM

Top two: Carlos Sainz, left, and Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc congratulate each other after qualifying in Miami yesterday (May 7). Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP

Top two: Carlos Sainz, left, and Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc congratulate each other after qualifying in Miami yesterday (May 7). Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP

Verstappen was at the top of the qualifying leaderboard ahead of the final laps, but a snap of oversteer through turn 5 spat him of the track at turn 6, forcing him to abandon the lap.

The Ferrari drivers had no such trouble in the first sector, with Carlos Sainz going quickest to the first split before Charles Leclerc levelled the times in the second sector.

The Monegasque broke the deadlock over the final third of the lap to secure his third pole position of the year just 0.190 seconds ahead of Sainz, the pair forming Ferrari’s first front-row lockout since October 2019.

“We’re starting on pole and we need to finish the job tomorrow,” Leclerc said, acknowledging Verstappen counting himself out of the pole battle.

“[Red Bull Racing] are extremely quick in the straight lines, we are quick in the corners. It will be a challenge for all, and hopefully we come out on top.”

Sainz, who pipped Verstappen by just 0.005 seconds, was pleased to have recovered so well from an accident-prone Friday, including a big crash in second practice that left him underprepared to tackle the new track.

“It wasn’t easy at all to get the confidence back at a difficult circuit like this,” he said. “Given from where I was coming yesterday, I will take it.

“Tomorrow it is going to be an interesting day with everything that’s going on this weekend. I haven’t done any long runs yet, I haven’t put any fuel in the car and tried it.

“I’m feeling confident with the car. The car is really good to drive around here. I think we can do a good job.”

Verstappen, winner at the previous race and down in the championship by 27 points, was similarly pleased to be in the fight after spending most of Friday in his garage with technical problems.

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“Overall I’m of course pretty pleased with qualifying,” he said.
I did four or five laps yesterday, so today was trying to learn the track, try to find the right balance in the car.

“This is not an easy track to learn. Of course you want to be on pole, but where we came from I think we did a really good job.

“We have a good chance for tomorrow.”

Sergio Perez followed in fourth to lock out the second row for Red Bull Racing and set up a fascinating battle for tomorrow’s race.

Valtteri Bottas was an excellent fifth after missing much of Friday running thanks to a crash in opening practice; he beat Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who slipped into sixth.

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly beat McLaren’s Lando Norris to seventh, while teammate Yuki Tsunoda comfortably had the measure of Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll in ninth and 10th.

Fernando Alonso was knocked out in Q2 for the first time in 2022 and will start 11th, but it was George Russell who provided the biggest shock down in 12th, his Mercedes car unruly through the fast corners.

Sebastian Vettel qualified 13th for Aston Martin ahead of a dejected Daniel Ricciardo in 14th.

Haas teammates Mick Schumacher and Kevin Magnussen qualified 15th and 16th ahead of Zhou Guanyu, was baulked on his last lap by slow cars in the final sector.

Thai driver Alex Albon was knocked out in 18th ahead of teammate Nicholas Latifi, while Esteban Ocon will start last after not setting a time. The Frenchman suffered a heavy crash in final practice, and his Alpine team couldn’t reassemble the car in time for qualifying.

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