Max Verstappen continues dominance by easing to pole for Miami Grand Prix

Max Verstappen continued his crushing dominance of Formula One by taking pole position for the Miami Grand Prix.

Four hours after racing to victory in Saturday’s sprint race, Verstappen saw off the challenge from Ferrari at the Hard Rock Stadium to retain his perfect record in qualifying this season.

Verstappen’s latest one-lap triumph marked his seventh consecutive pole – just one short of Ayrton Senna’s record – and he will start Sunday’s main event as the strong favourite to take his fifth win of the campaign.

Verstappen headed into the final runs in the Sunshine State holding a 0.141-sec advantage over Charles Leclerc but none of the major players improved, paving the way for the Dutch driver to take top spot.

Leclerc will join Verstappen on the front row with Carlos Sainz third in the other scarlet machine. Sergio Perez took fourth spot, ahead of Lando Norris, who was fifth for McLaren.

George Russell and Lewis Hamilton qualified seventh and eighth respectively for Mercedes.

Russell urged Hamilton to “hurry up” as he prepared for his last go, ultimately lapping four hundredths quicker than his team-mate to take a 5-1 lead in qualifying this season.

For Verstappen, he could now match Senna’s mark in Imola – the venue which claimed the great Brazilian’s life three decades ago – in a fortnight’s time.

“I find it difficult to be consistent here over one lap,” said Verstappen.

“It was about finding that balance today and I think we did okay. It was not the most enjoyable lap because of how slippery it is, so the confidence is not there, but I am on pole so I am happy.”

Fernando Alonso’s sprint race effectively ended in the opening hundred metres following a coming together with Hamilton.

The double world champion accused Hamilton of ruining his race and then claimed the Mercedes driver escaped punishment from the stewards “because he isn’t Spanish”.

Alonso’s mood will not have been improved by a poor qualifying session which leaves him 15th on the grid and four places behind team-mate Lance Stroll.

Daniel Ricciardo delivered the best drive of his comeback to take fourth in the sprint race. But the Australian was brought crashing down to earth in qualifying after he failed to make it out of Q1.


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