Even before the first-ever Miami Grand Prix in Formula 1 history, the battle for pole position was expected to be between Red Bull Racing and Ferrari. For a while on Friday, Mercedes appeared to be able to join this fight, but in the end it turned out to be a battle between the two currently strongest teams. In Q3, Max Verstappen set the fastest time in heat one, but a mistake in his second heat gave Ferrari an opportunity to take advantage. The Scuderia managed this optimally, because the entire first row of the grid was conquered. Charles Leclerc trumped his teammate Carlos Sainz to take his third pole of the season.
It wasn’t easy in qualifying. After Friday, several drivers made it clear that there is no grip outside the ideal line, that mistakes can be very expensive and have fatal consequences. It was no different in qualifying, said Leclerc during the press conference after qualifying. “Difficult. It’s very slippery and you slide all the time. It’s very difficult to juggle everything because you lose a lot of grip and lap time if you get even slightly out of line,” explains the Monegasque, who could count on a very strong Ferrari F1-75 on his pole lap.”The pole lap wasn’t perfect but it was good enough to finish first. The car was great and hopefully we can keep that pace in the race .”
Ferrari updates go in the right direction
Ferrari brought new parts for the F1-75 to Miami for the first time this year. According to Leclerc, these are a step in the right direction, although Monegasque knows that more will be needed as the season progresses. “I have great confidence in the car. We have a very strong package that works in more or less all conditions from the start of the season. That bodes well for the future. But as I’ve said many times before, I think the upgrades will play a very important role this year. Here we got some upgrades and they are a step in the right direction. Hopefully we’ll get more upgrades as the season progresses to keep the lead.”
Confirmation that the updates were working was thus given in Q3, when Ferrari captured the entire front row. It gives world championship leader Leclerc a small buffer against pursuer Verstappen, who has to start the race from position three. Having teammate Sainz in the front row next to him is a welcome bonus. “It’s definitely better,” admits Leclerc. “Carlos and I are very competitive, it’s great for the team and we’ll do everything we can to finish in the same positions on Sunday.”