(Miami Gardens) Mexico’s Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) will start the Miami Grand Prix on Sunday, the fifth round of the Formula 1 season, after setting the fastest qualifying time on Saturday.
The Spanish veteran Fernando Alonso will accompany Pérez on the front row, while the Dutch double world champion Max Verstappen (Red Bull) will only start ninth after the interruption of Q3 caused by an exit from the track of Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari ).
In the Florida heat, the Spaniard Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) took third place, ahead of the surprising Dane Kevin Magnussen (Haas).
Frenchman Pierre Gasly (Alpine) took fifth position, ahead of Briton George Russell (Mercedes) and Leclerc, who was seventh in the standings before he left the track two minutes from the end of the session.
Verstappen, who had dominated practice and the first two parts of qualifying, paid the price for the Monegasque driver’s error and did not have time to complete a fast last lap. He will therefore start on the fifth row, between the French Esteban Ocon, (Alpine) and the Finn Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo).
“Mad Max”, who had taken two top positions this year, in Bahrain and Australia, had already gone far on the grid this season, which did not prevent him from securing a podium. Indeed, in Saudi Arabia, he had taken 15th place in qualifying after a mechanical problem, before making a superb comeback to finish second in the Grand Prix behind his teammate Pérez.
The Mexican, who is trailing the Dutchman in the championship standings (87 points against 93), could take advantage of Verstappen’s setbacks to further reduce the gap on Sunday during the race.