Max Verstappen puts a ‘terrible’ car on pole for F1 Sprint at Miami Grand Prix

MIAMI — In retrospect, it was a stunning bit of honesty from Max Verstappen following Sprint Qualifying at the Miami Grand Prix.

“To be honest with you, it felt pretty terrible.”

That is how Verstappen described his run which put him into P1 for Saturday’s Sprint Race.

That is where we are with the three-time Drivers’ Champion. Speaking with Naomi Schiff following qualifying he indicated that the car felt better during practice than it did during the qualifying session, but ultimately Verstappen was again in front of the field.

The car felt “terrible.” He thought practice was better. He seemed frustrated throughout the qualifying session.

And he still finished up front.

Just imagine how the rest of the weekend will go if he feels even marginally better about the car than he did on Friday afternoon here in sunny Miami.

Here are the full results, as well as some other winners and losers from Sprint Qualifying here at the Miami Grand Prix:

F1 Grand Prix of Miami - Previews

Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images

Winner: Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo is known for having one of the brightest smiles on the paddock. But the smile we saw during Thursday’s media sessions in Miami had something different behind it.


Changes to the chassis on Ricciardo’s RB01 saw him deliver his best race weekend of the season in the Chinese Grand Prix, where he advanced to both Q2 and SQ2 in the two qualifying sessions in Shanghai. While he finished P11 in the Sprint Race in China, and saw a chance at points in the Grand Prix ended after an impact from Lance Stroll, it was still a step forward.

But he made a bigger step forward on Friday, pushing into SQ3 to advance to the third portion of qualifying for the first time this season. And when the dust settled, Ricciardo was up in P4, and he will start the Sprint Race tomorrow on the second row, alongside Sergio Pérez and just behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“I definitely felt a lot better in China and yeah, hopefully that’s the start,” said Ricciardo to the media on Thursday, including SB Nation. “But a lot of it comes out here feeling and being comfortable, you know? There was, honestly, something that once I hit the track in China, I did feel like I had a bit more.

“So whether that is a physical change that maybe something chassis provided me, and it just gave me a bit more feeling of really what the car is gonna do. So that was good.”

China was good.

So far, Miami is better.

Losers: Mercedes

Earlier today, some people theorized that the upgrades Mercedes brought to the Miami Grand Prix — specifically some new elements to their floor — would translate into some progress on the track.

Me. The person referred to above was me.

However, that was not the case in SQ2 as both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were eliminated. Perhaps more worrisome for Mercedes? While Russell was in P11 and Hamilton in P12 in SQ2, they were just a hair ahead of Esteban Ocon, driving for an Alpine team that has yet to open their account this season.

While there is still a long way to go this weekend, this was not the Friday afternoon the Silver Arrows were hoping for.

F1 Grand Prix of Miami - Practice & Sprint Qualifying

Photo by Song Haiyuan/MB Media/Getty Images

Winner: Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc barely participated in the single practice session ahead of Sprint Qualifying at the Miami Grand Prix. A spin early in practice saw Leclerc stuck in Turn 16, and when he was unable to get his SF-24 turned around after attempting what looked like an awkward seven-point turn, the “Austin Powers” memes flooded social media.

Then early in SQ1 Leclerc had another snap of overcorrection coming through Turn 7 and into Turn 8, and it looked like his Sprint Qualifying session might end early.

It did not.

Leclerc finished in P2, a stunning turnaround from where his day began.

Literally, and figuratively.

Losers: Sauber

The week in Miami began with the news that Nico Hülkenberg would be driving for Sauber starting next season, ahead of the team becoming the Audi works outfit in 2026.

Friday brought a double elimination for the team in Sprint Qualifying, with both Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas knocked out in SQ1.

Not only that, Zhou had a lap time deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn 15, and there was a scary incident between Bottas and Oscar Piastri, who was on a push lap. Bottas radioed in that the warning from his team came late, and this might e a part of the feeling-out process between Bottas and a new race engineer:

Sauber will now hope for a better finish to the weekend.

Losers: Williams

This was not the start to the weekend that Williams was hoping for.

Heading into the week there was a belief around Williams that the FW46 would be a solid car for the team “Both drivers have highlighted this track as one that should suit the FW46, so we will have to be on top of our game on Friday morning,” said Sporting Director Sven Smeets in the team’s media preview.

“I’m not completely sure where we’re gonna be performance based, but like I said, I think this track can potentially suit our car better than a couple of the last ones we’ve been to,” said Logan Sargeant to me earlier this week. “So a little bit of optimism there for sure.”

However, both Alexander Albon and Sargeant were eliminated in SQ1, with Sargeant down in P19 and Albon down in P20, due to a lap time being deleted for exceeding track limits.

Currently there is a lot of chatter around the paddock here in Miami about the future at Williams. Reports surfaced on Friday that the team had submitted to the FIA seeking a dispensation for Andrea Kimi Antonelli to be granted a Super License prior to his 18th birthday, potentially to slide Antonelli into a seat at Williams sooner than expected:

Speaking at the Friday FIA Press Conference, Williams Team Principal James Vowles brushed aside the rumors that Antonelli was being eyed for Sargeant’s seat.

“Let’s put it this way. I haven’t spoken to Kimi since Abu Dhabi last year. Hopefully that puts it in context,” outlined Vowles. “I know nothing about what’s going on at Mercedes’ tests right now. We are looking, as everyone else is, for where we want to be on driver line-up for next year and we have our own young driver program.

“In the case of Kimi, I can’t really adjudicate on the level he’s at. In case of him coming into the car this year, I’ve always said from the beginning, it’s a meritocracy. Logan has to earn his seat. And at the moment, he has some tough targets where he has to get much closer to Alex. But there is nothing on the radar at the moment for replacing him.”

While that matter remains to be clarified, one thing is clear.

Williams’ day came to an end quicker than they hoped.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top