Formula 1: “Sergio, Sergio”: Pérez on pole in Miami

Formula 1: “Sergio, Sergio”: Pérez on pole in Miami

Not Verstappen, but Pérez. The Mexican takes the Miami pole. Verstappen makes a mistake. At the next attempt, Leclerc ensures the early end of the qualification. Hulkenberg is 12th ahead of Hamilton.

A Charles Leclerc crash in the penultimate minute robbed Max Verstappen of his hopes of pole at the Miami Grand Prix. The sliding Ferrari involuntarily fueled the heated Red Bull stable duel for the title: This Sunday (9:30 p.m./CEST) Sergio Pérez will start the race from first place, who had previously been clearly inferior to Verstappen at the Formula 1 spectacle in Florida .

“I would say that was my worst weekend until qualifying. I then set everything to zero. And then the lap was there when I needed it,” said Pérez, while the fans shouted “Sergio, Sergio”. “It’s more or less a home race for him,” said Red Bulls motorsport boss Helmut Marko on Sky.

It will be a difficult race for Verstappen: only ninth place on the grid. When the world championship leader, who is only six points ahead of Pérez, wanted to take his last and only chance after a mistake and an aborted attempt, Leclerc brought the end to an abrupt end. “To put it bluntly, you can’t drive out behind Leclerc,” emphasized Marko and predicted: “We can prepare for a very turbulent race.”

That could always happen, but Verstappen agreed. “It was his own mistake” on the first try, but it was frustrating after such a positive weekend, he admitted.

Second in qualifying was Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin, third was Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari. Behind him was Kevin Magnussen in the Haas, whose German teammate Nico Hülkenberg missed the top ten in twelfth place. Just like record world champion Lewis Hamilton. The seven-time champion only finished 13th in the Mercedes. Teammate George Russell saved sixth place.

The problems of the Silver Arrows were indicated despite the best times in the first free practice session. Not that Verstappen has to start from the fifth row, with the best will in the world. Before qualifying, he was in a good mood and had his picture taken with Tesla boss Elon Musk, who, like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, didn’t want to miss the spectacle.

Verstappen had scored the fastest lap of the two one-hour units in the final on Friday. On Saturday, with two and a half hours to go before the knockout stage, the 25-year-old Dutchman’s name was back in first place in the results. There’s no question that the two-time world champion, world championship leader and last year’s winner was the clear favorite for pole for this Sunday’s race (9:30 p.m. CEST/Sky).

And in the first, 17-minute period of qualifying, Verstappen presented first, but Pérez countered immediately. After his last weekend of victory in Azerbaijan this year, the Mexican really wants to know and crown himself as world champion.

The first times in Q1 didn’t say much, the order of the 15 places to move into Q2 changed constantly, but in the end Verstappen was back on top. Only at the last minute did Hamilton get ahead.

After a near rear-end collision, which was also to be investigated after qualifying, the seven-time champion had to have the front wing checked first: “I touched the wall.” In the final seconds he saved himself in the second section, as did Russell. The face of team boss Toto Wolff in the Mercedes garage could hardly have been darker. But if you think so, it was: Hamilton then retired and was able to watch the final round as a spectator, in which Pérez really put the pressure on with a very strong fast lap.

Verstappen aborted his first attempt. Five minutes before the end, his name in ninth place still said: no time. A showdown in American style: all ten cars came out on the track again. Now Verstappen could not afford any more mistakes. But as soon as everyone started, Leclerc caused heads to shake at the Ferrari command post and murmurs in the stands when he lost control of his car and crashed into the track barrier. Red flags were waved – and qualifying was over early.

World Cup status schedule

Source: Stern

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