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Max on P9 during Miami qualifying after red flag: 'Not where we needed to be'

Published on 06 May 2023 by Heidi De Love

Max Verstappen will start from ninth on Sunday at the Miami Grand Prix. After having to abort his first fast lap in Q3 due to two mistakes, a crash by Charles Leclerc prevented him from trying again. The session was red flagged with a minute and a half to go. Teammate Sergio Pérez will start from pole position. Fernando Alonso grabbed P2, with Carlos Sainz in third position. Kevin Magnussen and Pierre Gasly completed the top five.

After qualifying, Max said, "Of course I made that first mistake myself. I tried to drive on the limit and because of that mistake I had to abort the lap. Then it's a huge bummer to get that red flag. But that can happen on a street circuit. The whole weekend went very well, and now you're ninth. That's not where we want to be and certainly not where we needed to be. I'm a little angry with myself."

Things went briefly wrong during Q3 for Verstappen, who made a mistake on his first fast lap: "I had a very small moment coming out of turn five. In the end that didn't matter that much, but you come too wide on the outside of turns seven and eight after that. There is very little grip there, so then I went off the track."

Looking ahead for tomorrow Verstappen says: “The speed is good of course. But it is not how it should have been. I’ve made it difficult for myself. We have our work cut out to still win. Huge bummer. But Sunday I go minimum for P2."

When the lights go green in Miami, it is 28 degrees, with an asphalt temperature of 47 degrees. Almost all the drivers are out quickly, including Max. Only the guys from Ferrari and Aston Martin take a little longer. Pérez sets the fastest time with a 1:28.306. Verstappen closes in on second place, over two tenths from his teammate. Leclerc settles in between the two Red Bulls. He is two thousandths faster than Max. Then a remarkable moment: Lewis Hamilton almost hits Kevin Magnussen's Haas. The Dane drives slowly and Hamilton swerves, causing him to hit the wall. This incident will be reviewed by the stewards after the session.

Zhou Guanyu also gets closer to the wall than he likes, after Sainz doesn't seem to see him. Verstappen, meanwhile, sharpens his time: with a 1:27.363, he tops the timesheet. Nyck de Vries drives to eighth place in the final minutes of Q1. In the end, this turns out to be just enough. When all drivers were flagged down, the Frisian driver was P15. This puts him through to Q2 for the first time this season. This is not the case for Logan Sargeant, Oscar Piastri, Lance Stroll, Yuki Tsunoda and Lando Norris.

Verstappen is first on the track at the start of Q2. He sets a 1:27.110 as his first time. Teammate Pérez closes in on two tenths. Alonso holds third position, three tenths behind Max. The men from Mercedes are not getting there yet; they are over a second slower. Sainz sets two purple sectors and is only 38 thousandths slower than Max. Pérez has to abort a fast lap because he hits the wall at turn four. He can continue as normal, though.

With a few minutes to go Max goes at it again. Leclerc, meanwhile, snatches his fastest time with a 1:26.964, one and a half tenths faster than Max. The Monegasque cannot enjoy his top position for long: Verstappen takes over this spot again and is one and a half tenths faster. We say goodbye to De Vries, Zhou, Hamilton, Hülkenberg and Albon at the end of Q2. The most notable name, of course, is Hamilton, who complains over the board radio that he was sent out too late by his team. Valtteri Bottas, with his seventh position, ensures that Alfa Romeo is through to Q3 for the first time this season.

In Q3, Verstappen has to abort his first fast lap due to two mistakes in the first sector. He returns to the pits again. Teammate Pérez takes first place with a 1:26.841. With five minutes to go, everyone has recorded a time except Verstappen and Bottas. The top five are as follows: Pérez, Alonso, Sainz, Magnussen and Gasly. And then: with a minute and a half to go, it is Leclerc who drives into the wall at turn six. The red flag is waved and with that, qualifying is finished. Max has had no more time to set a time and has to settle for P9. His teammate Pérez has taken pole position. Alonso will start next to him tomorrow on P2. The second row is filled by Sainz and Magnussen.

Contest GP Miami: win a by Max Verstappen signed 1:2 Miami GP 2022 helmet!

Results qualifying Miami:

1Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:27.7131:27.3281:26.841
2Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes1:28.1791:27.0971:27.202
3Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:27.6861:27.1481:27.349
4Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:27.8091:27.6731:27.767
5Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault1:28.0611:27.6121:27.786
6George RussellRUSMercedes1:28.0861:27.7431:27.804
7Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:27.7131:26.9641:27.861
8Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:27.8721:27.4441:27.935
9Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1:27.3631:26.814DNF
10Valtteri BottasBOTAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:27.8641:27.564DNS
11Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes1:28.2341:27.795
12Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari1:27.9451:27.903
13Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:27.8461:27.975
14Zhou GuanyuZHOAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:28.1801:28.091
15Nyck De VriesDEVAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:28.3251:28.395
16Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:28.394
17Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda RBPT1:28.429
18Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:28.476
19Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes1:28.484
20Logan SargeantSARWilliams Mercedes1:28.577