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Leclerc on pole again as Ferrari lock out Miami front row

By Ben Spratt

Miami, May 8: Charles Leclerc knows there is work still to do, but his Miami Grand Prix qualifying debut went entirely to plan as Ferrari's main man claimed pole position and was joined on the front row by Carlos Sainz.

Leclerc was able to secure pole for the third time in five races this season despite complaining he had not run his best lap on Saturday (May 7).

The Scuderia superstar profited from a late error from Max Verstappen, who had to settle for third, also letting through Sainz – back on form following his practice crash on Friday.

It puts Ferrari in a great position for a third win of the season, as many as they had managed in their previous three years combined, with Leclerc converting his previous two 2022 poles. All of his four career victories have come after qualifying fastest.

Each of the past four races in the United States have been won by a different driver – none of them being Leclerc – with three of them starting from pole.

"The last weekend hadn't been great for me [at the Emilia Romagna GP]," Leclerc said. "I made a mistake in the race.

"But today went well. We are starting on pole and we need to finish the job tomorrow.

"Red Bull are extremely quick in the straight lines, we are quick in the corners, and it will be a tight challenge tomorrow. But hopefully we will come back on top."

Leclerc is right to be wary of the threat of the Red Bulls in third and fourth, as Verstappen still believes he is in a good position to contend.

"Of course, you want to be on pole," the world champion said, "but where we came from, we've done a really good job.

"We have to start making the weekends a little bit less difficult because, like this, it's always going to be tricky.

"We have a good chance tomorrow. The car is handling quite well, so I'm looking forward to it."

Mercedes had taken pole – and subsequently won – at each of the previous six new Formula One circuits, but George Russell failed to get out of Q2 while Lewis Hamilton made do with sixth.

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 1:28.796

2. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +0.190secs

3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +0.195s

4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +0.240s

5. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) +0.679s

6. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +0.829s

7. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) +0.894s

8. Lando Norris (McLaren) +0.954s

9. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) +1.136s

10. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) +1.880s

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Story first published: Sunday, May 8, 2022, 3:40 [IST]
Other articles published on May 8, 2022