Daniel Ricciardo misses Miami top 10 as Ferrari lock-out front row

Emily Benammar and wiresHerald Sun
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Daniel Ricciardo will start from 14th for the Miami Grand Prix.
Camera IconDaniel Ricciardo will start from 14th for the Miami Grand Prix. Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

World championship leader Charles Leclerc claimed pole position and led Ferrari to a front-row lockout when he topped the times in qualifying for the inaugural Miami Grand Prix.

The 24-year-old Monegasque driver clocked a fastest lap in one minute and 28.796 seconds to outpace his team-mate by two-tenths in front of an enthusiastic sell-out crowd at the Miami International Autodrome.

But it was disaster again for Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo, who bombed out in qualifying and will start 14th on the grid for Monday’s race.

Defending world champion Max Verstappen was third after making a slight mistake on his final flying lap. His Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez was fourth with Valtteri Bottas fifth for Alfa Romeo and seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton sixth for Mercedes.

It was Leclerc’s third pole this year and the 12th of his career. For Sainz it is the second time he had secured a front row start. It was Ferrari’s first front row lockout since the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix.

“It is amazing to be here and the fans are crazy,” said a delighted Leclerc. “It is going to be a big challenge tomorrow, but we feel very motivated as there are so many Ferrari fans here. Hopefully we can come out on top!”

Ricciardo also copped an official reprimand from the stewards for performing “a practice start in a manner contrary to the Race Director’s Event Notes”.

F1 journalist Chris Medland pointed out on Twitter Ricciardo was likely in trouble for going against the note which says: “All drivers carrying out a practice start must do so by pulling as far forward on the grid as possible and, if necessary, should wait for others to carry out a start before getting to a grid position further forward. Under no circumstances should a driver make a practice start if another car is still stationary in front of him on the same side of the grid.”

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 05: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) McLaren MCL36 Mercedes poses for a photo in the Pitlane during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Miami at the Miami International Autodrome on May 05, 2022 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Camera IconRicciardo also copped an official reprimand from the stewards for performing “a practice start in a manner contrary to the Race Director’s Event Notes”. Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

CAN RED BULL FIGHT BACK?

Verstappen, who in the championship and trails Leclerc by 27 points, swallowed his disappointment and said: “Overall, I am pretty pleased with qualifying as I only did four or five laps yesterday. But we have to start making these weekends less difficult.” Pierre Gasly of Alpha Tauri qualified seventh ahead of Lando Norris of McLaren and Yuki Tsunoda in the second Alpha Tauri with Lance Stroll taking 10th for Aston Martin.

After his heavy shunt in the morning’s final practice, Esteban Ocon was unable to take part because his chassis had been cracked on impact with the barriers at Turn 14.

He was unhurt but expected to take part in Sunday’s 57-lap race from the back of the grid in a rebuilt car.

The opening Q1 session began in heavy heat and humidity with an air temperature of 34 degrees and the track at 53 degrees, fatiguing conditions for all involved. The slight breeze was welcome.

Kevin Magnussen set the opening pace before Verstappen took control, heading the early times ahead of Perez as Russell signalled that Mercedes had regained their vim by going third before Ferrari responded.

Hamilton, however, was struggling in 18th before leaping to fifth while former First Lady Michelle Obama studied his progress from the Mercedes garage.

After a final flurry, Kevin Magnussen of Haas, Guanyu Zhou of Alfa Romeo, Alex Albon and his Williams team-mate Nicholas Latifi were eliminated, heavy traffic blunting their late bids for survival.

- ‘I’m bouncing’ - Q2 began with Mick Schumacher first out for Haas before the Ferraris and then Red Bull set the pace, Verstappen quickest ahead of Perez by four-tenths. Hamilton took an early fifth, but Russell struggled.

“I’m bouncing,” Russell said after surviving a wild moment at Turn Six before taking seventh as Leclerc went quickest in 1:9.130, an advantage of 0.072 on Verstappen.

But it was not enough to survive the final rush that pushed him down to 12th behind two-time champion Fernando Alonso’s Alpine. They missed the top ten shootout along with four-time champion Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin, Daniel Ricciardo of McLaren and Mick Schumacher of Haas.

Hamilton’s survival ensured Mercedes avoided repeating the ignominy of failing to reach Q3 with either car from Imola in April.

The shootout began with Leclerc going top before Verstappen clocked 1:28.991 - the fastest lap of the weekend thus far -- with Sainz going third.

The top three were separated by 0.080 after their first flying runs with Perez fourth ahead of Bottas and Hamilton.

That left them all set to push again in their final runs for pole as Ferrari led the way and Verstappen, pushing hard, failed to respond.

HOW THEY START

Front row Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari) Carlos Sainz (ESP/Ferrari)

2nd row Max Verstappen (NED/Red Bull) Sergio Perez (MEX/Red Bull)

3rd row Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Alfa Romeo) Lewis Hamilton (GBR/Mercedes)

4th row Pierre Gasly (FRA/AlphaTauri) Lando Norris (GBR/McLaren)

5th row Yuki Tsunoda (JPN/AlphaTauri) Lance Stroll (CAN/Aston Martin)

6th row Fernando Alonso (ESP/Alpine) George Russell (GBR/Mercedes)

7th row Sebastian Vettel (GER/Aston Martin) Daniel Ricciardo (AUS/McLaren)

8th row Mick Schumacher (GER/Haas) Kevin Magnussen (DEN/Haas)

9th row Zhou Guanyu (CHN/Alfa Romeo) Alexander Albon (THA/Williams)

10th row Nicholas Latifi (CAN/Williams) Esteban Ocon (FRA/Alpine)

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