Charles Leclerc takes pole after Max Verstappen error

VSharles Leclerc put his Ferrari in pole position for the first Miami Grand Prix.

The championship leader kept his cool in the scorching 33 degree heat, with Carlos Sainz completing a Ferrari front row.

Max Verstappen wasted his chances for his second pole in as many Grands Prix when he made a mistake on his last run.

“I f—– it,” the world champion said on the radio. Lewis Hamilton qualified sixth.

Verstappen got his title defense back on track after a dominating performance at Imola a fortnight ago.

And the Red Bull star looked set to start Sunday’s run in the box seat to eat away at Leclerc’s 27-point advantage at the top of the standings.

But Verstappen will now be on his back after running wide in the first sector of his last dice roll in qualifying.

Leclerc improved to take pole with his final lap – the perfect tonic for his spin at Imola which took him from third to sixth – while Sainz also passed Verstappen.

“It’s amazing to be here in the United States and see how the sport has grown,” said Leclerc.

“The last race wasn’t great because I made a mistake but we’re starting on pole here and I have to finish the job tomorrow.”

Verstappen, who missed Friday’s second practice session with mechanical gremlins, added: “Being so competitive in qualifying was a bit of a surprise. Of course you want to be on pole but I think we did a good job. work and we have to make the weekends less difficult for ourselves.

“We have a good chance for tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Former First Lady Michelle Obama led the cast of celebrities in attendance F1Miami’s first qualifying session, featuring a number of A-Listers – including LeBron James, David Beckham and Pharrell Williams – should be there for Sunday’s 57-lap race on the 3.36-mile circuit built around the Hard Rock Stadium.

Mercedes have brought a new low-drag rear wing and a revised front wing from across the pond in a bid to remedy their early season issues.

While Hamilton significantly improved from his starting place of 14th at Imola, Russell failed to reach Q3.

The young Briton, who had an impressive start to life at Mercedes, blundered in Q2, running wide on his first moto before turning just well enough for 12th.

“Sorry, I just didn’t have confidence in the car today,” said Russell, who dominated practice here on Friday.

For Hamilton, the seven-time world champion will take some pleasure in qualifying ahead of his teammate, whom he leads by 21 points in the standings.

But he will barely shout from the rooftops after finishing eight-tenths off the pace.

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