Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Miami International Autodrome, 2022

Leclerc capitalises on Verstappen’s mistake for Miami pole

2022 Miami Grand Prix qualifying

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Max Verstappen had pole position for the Miami Grand Prix in his hands until he made a slight mistake on his final lap.

That opened the door for Charles Leclerc to take pole position – and his Ferrari team mate will join him on the front row.

Lewis Hamilton said Mercedes had made an improvement after claiming a place on the third row. But his team mate George Russell was eliminated in Q2.


With Esteban Ocon’s cracked chassis sitting in his Alpine garage, only 19 drivers were available for qualifying, meaning four of those would be eliminated in the opening round.

As every practice session had been interrupted by at least one red flag, drivers wasted no time in joining the track, the Haas pair leading half the field out as soon as the session went green. As it turned out the opening session, held in sweltering 33C heat with track temperatures as high as 53C stayed green throughout.

Verstappen set the initial pace with a 1’30.235, a healthy half-second quicker than his team mate. George Russell was less than three-hundredths off Sergio Perez, but his team mate had a difficult start to the session.

Lewis Hamilton had a scruffy start to his first lap, which he abandoned after running wide at turn 11. On his next attempt he got crossed up in turn eight, spoiling his run onto the quick section that followed, leaving him only 12th.

Ferrari were next to show their hand, Charles Leclerc moving to the top with a 1’29.474. His team mate initially backed him up in second, but Verstappen responded immediately with a lap which left him three tenths of a second behind his championship rival.

Valtteri Bottas was the last driver to set a time, taking ninth place, which knocked his former team mate Hamilton into the drop zone. The Mercedes driver, who lost another lap after cutting across the turn 14-15 chicane, was joined by the Williams pair and Pierre Gasly.

“So Lewis this will be one timed lap,” his race engineer Peter Bonnington told him as he headed out for a final run with less than three minutes to go. His lap time deficit to his team mate was “mainly exit turn 12 and turns 14, 15.”

Hamilton had to round a trio of cars through the quick turn seven and eight, but did so without trouble, and produced the first of two personal best sectors as he jumped well clear of the drop zone, getting within a second of Leclerc.

The Mercedes driver’s progress was bad news for Kevin Magnussen, who was also in trouble as his radio wasn’t working. He slipped into the bottom five and was unable to find the extra tenth he needed to demote Bottas in his place.

Zhou Guanyu went no further in the other Alfa Romeo, blaming traffic in the final sector, and the Williams pair were also eliminated.

Q1 result

116Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’29.4749
21Max VerstappenRed BullRB181’29.8360.3628
311Sergio PerezRed BullRB181’30.0550.5819
455Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariF1-751’30.0790.60510
544Lewis HamiltonMercedesW131’30.3880.9149
614Fernando AlonsoAlpine-RenaultA5221’30.4070.9338
718Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’30.4410.9679
822Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’30.4851.0119
963George RussellMercedesW131’30.4901.0168
103Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’30.5831.1098
1147Mick SchumacherHaas-FerrariVF-221’30.6451.17111
125Sebastian VettelAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’30.6771.2039
134Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’30.7611.2879
1410Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’30.7791.30510
1577Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’30.8451.3716
1620Kevin MagnussenHaas-FerrariVF-221’30.9751.50111
1724Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’31.0201.5469
1823Alexander AlbonWilliams-MercedesFW441’31.2661.79210
196Nicholas LatifiWilliams-MercedesFW441’31.3251.85110
2031Esteban OconAlpine-RenaultA522No time0

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Red Bull hit back at Ferrari as the second phase of qualifying began. Or, to be precise, Verstappen did, leading Perez by almost half a second, while the two F1-75s came within a few hundreds of the other RB18.

With five minutes to go, Leclerc dug deep an knocked Verstappen off the top spot by seven-hundredths of a second. Meanwhile, with Hamilton a solid fifth, it was the other Mercedes driver needing to find a late improvement to secure his progress.

Russell had complained about worsening porpoising towards the end of Q1, and was still finding his car a handful in Q2. He eventually moved up to seventh with a lap which left him almost four-tenths of a second shy of Hamilton.

Mick Schumacher was the only Ferrari-powered driver in the drop zone along with the remaining Mercedes-engined cars. Yuki Tsunoda, who clipped the wall at turn 16 on one lap, was clinging to the final place in the top 10 as the final minute began.

Tsunoda held onto his place after a frantic final exchange of lap times which saw Mercedes lose one of their cars. As the track continued to rubber in, lap times fell, and Lando Norris leapt from the bottom five to third-fastest.

Lance Stroll also got into Q3, jumping up to eighth. Their gains pushed out Russell and Fernando Alonso.

Sebastian Vettel was left to curse an error at the chicane after failing to accompany his team mate into the top 10. Daniel Ricciardo was also left behind while Mick Schumacher ended the session last and will therefore line up one place ahead of his team mate.

Q2 results

116Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’29.13018
21Max VerstappenRed BullRB181’29.2020.07211
34Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’29.6340.50416
411Sergio PerezRed BullRB181’29.6730.54315
555Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariF1-751’29.7290.59919
677Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’29.7510.62114
744Lewis HamiltonMercedesW131’29.7970.66715
818Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’29.9960.86615
922Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’30.0310.90115
1010Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’30.1280.99816
1114Fernando AlonsoAlpine-RenaultA5221’30.1601.03014
1263George RussellMercedesW131’30.1731.04315
135Sebastian VettelAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’30.2141.08415
143Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’30.3101.18015
1547Mick SchumacherHaas-FerrariVF-221’30.4231.29319

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Leclerc put up a 1’29.055 with his first run but his team mate came within a hundredth of a second of beating it. “Very nice improvement in the infield,” remarked his race engineer Riccardo Adami.

Verstappen had fractionally more in hand, however. The Red Bull driver snuck under the 89 second barrier, beating Leclerc by six hundredths of a second to go top.

Perez took up fourth with his increasingly familiar half-second deficit to Verstappen. Bottas put himself a strong fifth ahead of Hamilton and Norris.

Verstappen’s grip on pole position slipped early in his final run. He twitched wide in the quick turn five, cut the corner, and his hopes of improving his lap time were dashed.

The door was wide open for Leclerc and he grabbed the opportunity, lowering his best time to a 1’28.796 and planting his Ferrari on pole position. Sainz also punished Verstappen for his mistake, taking second on the grid by a mere five thousandths of a second. Perez almost did the same, finishing the session four-hundredths of a second off his team mate.

Perez pushed Bottas down to fifth, meaning he will share the third row with Hamilton as they did at the season-opener. “That’s an improvement guys,” said the Mercedes driver on his way in, “I gave it my all.”

Q3 results

116Charles LeclercFerrariF1-751’28.79624
255Carlos Sainz JnrFerrariF1-751’28.9860.19025
31Max VerstappenRed BullRB181’28.9910.19516
411Sergio PerezRed BullRB181’29.0360.24021
577Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-FerrariC421’29.4750.67920
644Lewis HamiltonMercedesW131’29.6250.82921
710Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’29.6900.89422
84Lando NorrisMcLaren-MercedesMCL361’29.7500.95422
922Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Red BullAT031’29.9321.13621
1018Lance StrollAston Martin-MercedesAMR221’30.6761.88021

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2022 Miami Grand Prix

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    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    38 comments on “Leclerc capitalises on Verstappen’s mistake for Miami pole”

    1. BLS (@brightlampshade)
      7th May 2022, 22:20

      If Ferrari finish lap one still first and second then it’s going to be tricky for Max to win.
      That mistake could be costly, but given the Ferrari’s were only a little quicker than his banker is a very good sign for his pace tomorrow.

    2. PMccarthy_is_a_legend (@pmccarthy_is_a_legend)
      7th May 2022, 22:22

      I am so impressed with the job they have done with this track. Really interesting layout, punishing if you get it wrong, nice vibes, well put together and a couple of good overtaking opportunities. The Ferrari and RBs are really close on pace, we are in for a treat tomorrow.

    3. Watching all the cringy Americanness of this weekend in almost every aspect from track, hospitality, coverage etc. just makes me worry about the future of F1.

      1. To me one of the benefits of a world championship (in a way few other sports really do as well as F1) is that we should get to see the character of the nations we go to. Besides the silly mermaids and that fake marina I don’t see what’s been so cringe worthy that you feel the need to comment on it.

        If I was ever lucky enough to se an F1 race in Scotland I’d cringe at the “see you Jimmy” hats, bagpipes etc but I’d be proud as hell getting to show off to the world.

        1. Mark in Florida
          8th May 2022, 13:48

          (@davidhunter13) I agree one hundred percent. Every country has its certain flavor. People are probably being more boisterous because they are able to get out and about now. They are happy to have a major event to go to. Why slam people for having a good time? We can all nit pick about what we like or not but 240,000 Americans came to support the event.

      2. I am fully expecting a massive mechanical face of Donald Trump as the entrance of a tunnel for the vegas GP

        1. Trump on the mic: “Let’s get ready to … RUMBLE!” The face of America.

      3. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
        7th May 2022, 23:00

        What is it with the snobbery? If you were secure in yourself you won’t care what the “Americans” were doing.

      4. I was born and raised in the us but all of that over the top cringe and showbiz razamataz is the main reasons i always preferred watching european based sports rather than the us stuff.

        I liked how the European based sports were presented as a sport rather than a show as most American ones were.

        It’s why im so frustrated that f1 is going more towards as American look/feel now where it feels like the show is been prioritized over the sport.

        Was inevitable once liberty took it over thought as your average american ‘sports fan’ tends to be more interested in things that look and feel more American. As such liberty media were always going to start altering the dynamic to make it more appealing to the American audience they are so desperate to hook. The fact this may turn off a chunk of long time European fans likely doesn’t concern them if they can make it look like they have cracked there home market.

        1. I agree that I usually prefer the non-OTT way of presenting, promoting etc. I don’t mind it being used to engage a wider fan base whilst actually in the USA tho, as long as it doesn’t become the norm everywhere then I’m fine with it

          1. I only switch on once the cars take to track and never watch the rest of the coverage, as it’s mostly a load of crap.
            I know it’s a necessity to promote the sport and some people are genuinely interested, but I loved the way Kimi detested the media side of F1 and wasn’t afraid to show it.

        2. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
          7th May 2022, 23:52

          @Lynda, not buying it. You have a fundamental misunderstanding of F1. But I get it, its fashionable to look down on the Americans.

          1. @threepurplesectors what??? what is there to buy. It’s a persons viewpoint. You may well disagree, but not buying it?

            1. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
              8th May 2022, 4:12

              @cairnsfella, need I explain what “not buying” means? It means I disagree. Oh the irony! This is like those people that scream freedom of speech but can’t handle it when another person exercises their freedom of speeh.

            2. @threepurplesectors

              It actually means, “I don’t believe you”.

          2. @threepurplesectors although I seem to be unable to respond to the pertinent post, Neiana is correct. And there is a substantial difference between “I don’t believe you” and “I disagree”.

            I guess you feel freedom of speech means the freedom to apply whatever meaning you see fit to what you say.

    4. From FP2 to Qualifying, Normally there is at least half a second improvement. Mercedes could barely match their FP2 times in Qualifying. That car has many handling troubles and is very sensitive to temperature.

      Great job by Leclerc and Bottas who everyone called a poor driver. Bottas is showing everyone how strong a driver he is.

      1. PMccarthy_is_a_legend (@pmccarthy_is_a_legend)
        7th May 2022, 22:30

        @amg44 Bottas was always good in qualifying, it’s his race pace that lets him down. Still, amazing job to get the Alfa in 5th.

        1. @pmccarthy_is_a_legend Yeah, I don’t know what patch update we are on with Bottas (Bottas 2.86?). But he seems to be enjoying this Alfa. He’s not expecting to challenge the Ferraris or Red Bulls so he’s essentially on F1.5 pole.

          Last year when Hamilton went to the back of the pack in Hungary, I didn’t doubt that Lewis would come through the field. When Bottas went to the back of the pack in Mexico, you knew he was doomed to faff about in 16th all afternoon. He seems to struggle in the pack or when he needs to get his ‘elbows out’, he honestly can’t remember the last time he ‘sent it’ down the inside last guy on the brakes style.

        2. Hmmm, this season he has finished better in race than in quali, so not entirely the truth. There is this one DNF though.

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        7th May 2022, 22:40

        It seems to me like they have a very narrow setup window. Get it right and the car is reasonably fast but get it wrong (Hamilton in Imola or Russell in Miami) and it’s a nightmare.

        1. ThreePurpleSectors (@)
          7th May 2022, 23:04

          @petebaldwin, Really? I thought it was that Hamilton is overrated and needed a 1 second car advantage? The tune was so different just a GP ago. Weird that!

          1. The set of judgement metrics and standards that some people use when it comes to Lewis is completely different. Imagine for a minute what the comments would be if it was Lewis who made Max’s mistake and blew his chance at pole?!

    5. I can’t say i think much of this excuse for a racetrack. Up there as one of the worst I’ve seen f1 run on over the past 20 years.

      And that awful slow micky mouse section is horrendous. Cars look pathetic going through there, So clunky and cumbersome. Just an awful section of tarmac.

      I hear croft and brundle calling it awesome, amazing, one of the best ever and all that and i just don’t see it. It’s just below average at best as a racetrack, nothing about it that i think is especially good or fun to watch.

      Will probably not watch the race live tomorrow, I’ll just go with the 30 minute highlights on f1tv so i don’t have to see anymore of this track as i have to. Simply not very good at all.

      1. They need to get rid of at least 2 useless corners of that slow turtle sector. Sooner the better. We have seen how long it took F1 to modify some corners of Abu Dhabi. Don’t understand why it takes so long to correct obvious mistakes.

        1. @amg44 & lyndamarks tbh imo it depends on what the actual affect of those corner have on the racing that will convince me on way or another.

          If indeed it does serve as a “mistake generator” and we get cars being able to attack others then I’m all for having corners like that. But more often than not the “mistake generators” don’t work and they end up making the race more processional (like the off camber corners that they put in on tracks like Abu Dhabi) and if that’s the case then they need to go. I was so happy when they finally got rid of the “Singapore sling chicane” at turn 10 in Singapore, although it took far too long for them to do this.

          The cambered corners in zandvoort showed a completely different approach working far more successfully.

          We’ll find out soon I suppose

      2. LyndaMarks

        I agree with your assesment of the track, however I could not let that deter me from watching the race live as we really don’t know for sure what will happen.

        I’d much rather watch and wish I hadn’t, than miss it and wish I had.

        1. I’d much rather watch and wish I hadn’t, than miss it and wish I had.

          I totally agree with this. “It’s only live once!”

      3. Crofty has been known for excessive use of hyperbole. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him utter a normal sentence.

    6. I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve seen raving on it tbh. I might not fully make up my mind until I’ve seen more than 1 race here too. I don’t expect to find it as bad as Valencia, Sochi or Abu Dhabi, but let’s actually see the racing and then decide.

      After seeing one lap in practice, I’d already said to myself that I’m expecting 2-3 safety cars or 1-2 red flag to extra standing starts. Maybe some mixed up results on the way. Jury is out on whether they would be entertaining or not tho

      1. @lyndamarks

    7. Cobray (@)
      8th May 2022, 6:16

      Alpha Tauri looked the most solid of all the midfield cars except Alfa Romeo.

    8. Another misleading “fake news” title…

      Max Verstappen had pole position for the Miami Grand Prix in his hands until he made a slight mistake on his final lap.

      Since when? we don’t know how Max lap would be without mistake.

      1. he was on pole before the final outings, and made a mistake which cost him his final lap.

        1. So… basically… he wasn’t on pole!

        2. As you said cost him a final lap not -necessarily- the pole. The text as it is written means that Leclerc only got the pole because of Verstappen mistake which is not valid assumption to make.

    9. I only saw the highlights of the qualifying on C4 this morning, here in the U.K. My first real look at the circuit.

      I think Miami have done a pretty good job with the spaces around the circuit bearing in mind the space they have. There are lots of stands and it seems that, from a spectators point of view and non-race entertainment it might be pretty good.

      I am not so certain about the circuit. I am not sure it flows very well and it’s very twisty in places. The corner section from corners 11 to 16 is horrible. The cars really look uncomfortable going through this section. I think it’s going to be very tricky off line. Let’s see what kind of race it delivers though.

    10. Just as a bit of an aside thought….why don’t they set the sprint qualifying grid on sprint weekends in the same way that w-series sets the grid for the two races. Slightly amended…..pole for the grand prix set as usual and the grid for the sprint race set by a drivers 2nd fastest time across all sessions.

      It seems to me a sensible way to separate the sprint and main race whilst also maintaining the ‘pole’ position statistics.

    Comments are closed.