Home Sport Verstappen on pole and on track for Miami hat-trick

Verstappen on pole and on track for Miami hat-trick

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The pole, Verstappen’s seventh in a row going back to last year in Abu Dhabi, adds to what has so far been a perfect weekend for the Dutchman, who topped the timesheets in the only practice session and sprint qualifying on Friday then winning the sprint race earlier on Saturday.

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen waves to fans after winning the 2024 Miami Formula One Sprint at Miami International Autodrome in Miami Gardens, Florida, on May 4, 2024. Picture: Jim WATSON, AFP

Steve Keating, in MIAMI – Red Bull’s triple world champion Max Verstappen claimed pole position on Saturday for the Miami Grand Prix, to start from the front of the grid for the sixth straight race this season.

The pole, Verstappen’s seventh in a row going back to last year in Abu Dhabi, adds to what has so far been a perfect weekend for the Dutchman, who topped the timesheets in the only practice session and sprint qualifying on Friday then winning the sprint race earlier on Saturday.

French great Alain Prost, with Williams in 1993, was the last driver to take the first six poles of a season.

“I don’t know what it is, every single year we come here, I find it extremely difficult to be consistent with the car feeling, the tyre feeling over one lap,” said Verstappen, who will start on pole in Miami for the first time. “Again today, it was about finding that balance.

“I think we did OK. It wasn’t the most enjoyable lap of my career because of how slippery it is and you’re not very confident on the lap.

“But we are on pole, and that’s the most important thing.”

Verstappen was joined on the front row by Ferarri’s Charles Leclerc, who was also second in the sprint.

Ferarri’s Carlos Sainz, the only driver other than Verstappen to win a race this season, will start third alongside the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez.

“The race is long tomorrow, this morning (in the sprint) we showed a good pace so I hope we can put Max under a bit more pressure,” said Leclerc.

It will be an all McLaren third row with Britain’s Lando Norris qualifying fifth fastest just ahead of his Australian team mate Oscar Piastri.

Mercedes will make up row four with George Russell qualifying seventh followed by seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton eighth.

No other driver other than Verstappen has stood on top of the podium in Miami and the Dutchman will look to complete a hat-trick of wins on Sunday.

While it has been business as usual on the track, away from it the season has been one of turmoil and distractions for Red Bull.

Internal divisions resulting from a female employee’s allegations of inappropriate behaviour against team boss Christian Horner, for which he was cleared, hang over the team and have been linked to the imminent departure for Formula One’s top designer Adrian Newey.

The 65-year-old Briton, whose cars have won 25 drivers’ and constructors’ championships, sent a shockwaves through the paddock earlier this week after he confirmed his departure with McLaren boss Zak Brown adding he believed Newey will be just the first of many to leave the energy drink outfit.

Horner has also been in the spotlight over rumoured issues with Verstappen’s father Jos and Red Bull motorsport consultant Helmut Marko.

After the high of taking his first points of the season with a fourth place finish in the sprint it was quickly back down to earth for RB’s Daniel Ricciardo, who could not make it out of the first phase of qualifying.

There was more bad news for the Australian who will start last on Sunday because of a three-place penalty carried over from China.

Reuters

Reporting by Steve Keating in Miami, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Christian Radnedge

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