May 22, 2022, 7:19

    Charles Leclerc claims pole position for Miami Grand Prix as Ferrari lock out front row

    Charles Leclerc claims pole position for Miami Grand Prix as Ferrari lock out front row

    Ferrari will start the inaugural Miami Grand Prix with an advantageous one-two after Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz topped the times in Saturday's qualifying session.

    Formula 1 pace-setter Leclerc leads the drivers' standings by 27 points heading into Sunday's showdown at the Miami International Autodrome. Leclerc, 24, has won two of four races so far this season, finishing first in Bahrain and Australia, where he started first on the grid in both races.

    The Monegasque finished fastest in Q1 and improved as the session progressed, pipping Max Verstappen in his last lap of Q3 with a final time of one minute and 28.796 seconds. Red Bull's Verstappen appeared to let his foot off the gas in his own last attempt, giving up the lead as disaster struck to leave him and team-mate Sergio Perez third and fourth on the grid.

    Saturday's qualifying action got off to a sorry start for Mercedes ' Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, who looked on the verge of exiting in Q1. The Briton left his best for last, however, and moved from 18th to fifth in the times with only seconds remaining in the session.

    Hamilton looked sturdier as qualifying progressed and took sixth overall, which will see him start just behind former Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas. George Russell felt the pressure in Q2 when Mercedes' porpoising issues reared their head once more, resulting in the Silver Arrows star bowing out alongside Alpine's Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel and McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo.

    Lance Stroll impressed to earn his spot in the final segment and nabbed a 10th-place start on Sunday for McLaren. Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top 10 fastest in seventh and ninth, respectively, with Alpha Tauri sure to be impressed with their pair's performances.

    Charles Leclerc will start Sunday's Miami Grand Prix on pole after clocking the fastest time in qualifying

    REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

    Who do you think will win the 2022 Miami Grand Prix? Let us know in the comments section.

    The Williams partnership of Alexander Albon and Nicolas Latifi both missed the Q1 cut-off, while Haas' Kevin Magnussen and Alfa Romeo's Zhou Guanyu also fell at the first hurdle. Latifi is one of three drivers yet to score a point in the standings this season, with Mick Schumacher and Aston Martin reserve Niko Hulkenberg also stuck on zero.

    Friday's practice suggested Mercedes' W13 is better-suited to the Miami track than most it's faced so far this year, and despite some early hiccups, Hamilton looks capable of least making things competitive. Russell sits fourth in the standings and has fared better than his team-mate until now, but Sunday could signal the beginning of a rebirth for the seven-time world champion.

    That being said, it very much remains a podium make-up dominated by Ferrari and Red Bull, with the rest of the field struggling to keep touch in Miami. History will be made regardless of the outcome, however, as F1 prepares to crown its first champion in Florida.

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