Perez takes pole as mixed-up grid emerges
If David Caruso was still protecting the streets of Miami, you would expect him to be putting on his sunglasses and coming up with a corny line after the Miami GP Qualifying that sums up the nature of the grid we’re set to see for the race.
Such was the spread of the cars, that somehow a Red Bull managed to secure pole but it was still a surprising result.
Sergio Perez secured his second pole position of 2023 in his Red Bull with a time of 1.26.841 to keep his strong form alive and put him front and centre to leave Miami as the Championship Leader. It was a great lap by the Mexican that was overshadowed by mistakes further down the field.
Teammate and Championship leader Max Verstappen is languishing down in ninth place after aborting his first flying lap in Q3 and was then unable to set a faster time due to a red flag brought out by the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, with the session not restarted.
Both Verstappen and Leclerc were left frustrated with the incidents in the session, with Leclerc particularly lamenting another mistake by him which saw him spinning into the barriers at turn 4. He will start the race in seventh place, with teammate Carlos Sainz saving some face for Ferrari by qualifying third.
(Photo by FIA)
But while the big names faltered, other drivers were able to shine, with the red flag bumping them right up the grid.
Fernando Alonso shone again and will start on the front row for Aston Martin after setting a time only 0.361 seconds behind Perez. Alonso was buoyant after the session and will look to use the late momentum by him and Aston to push for his first win in a decade.
Haas and Alpine also were a big benefactor of the red flag, with Kevin Magnussen starting in fourth and Pierre Gasly in fifth. Esteban Ocon also qualified in the top eight, and will line up eighth.
Elsewhere down the field there were mixed fortunes for several teams.
Mercedes will start sixth and 13th, with George Russell getting into Q3 and Lewis Hamilton making a rare early exit in Q2.
McLaren once again struggled, with Lando Norris only managing 16th and Aussie Oscar Piastri way down in 19th. He is the meat in a North American sandwich, with Lance Stroll’s risk to make it out of Q1 on one set of tires severely backfiring and will start 18th, and hometown hero Logan Sargeant unable to use his home crowd to his advantage by only qualifying 20th.
With the form Sergio Perez is currently on and his love of street circuits, few would bet against him taking his second consecutive win and leaving Miami with a Championship lead. And with a mixed up grid for the race, which starts at 5.30am AEST tomorrow, anything is possible.
1 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull 1:26.841
2 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +0.361
3 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +0.508
4 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas +0.926
5 Pierre GASLY Alpine +0.945
6 George RUSSELL Mercedes +0.963
7 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +1.020
8 Esteban OCON Alpine +1.094
9 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull NO TIME SET
10 Valtteri BOTTAS Alfa Romeo NO TIME SET
11 Alexander ALBON Williams 1:27.795
12 Nico HULKENBERG Haas +0.108
13 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +0.180
14 ZHOU Guanyu Alfa Romeo +0.296
15 Nyck DE VRIES AlphaTauri +0.600
16 Lando NORRIS McLaren 1:28.394
17 Yuki TSUNODA AlphaTauri +0.035
18 Lance STROLL Aston Martin +0.082
19 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +0.090
20 Logan SARGEANT Williams +0.183