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F1 Miami Grand Prix qualifying: Sergio Perez on pole as Charles Leclerc brings out late red flag

F1 makes its first of three visits to the United States this weekend as it invades the Hard Rock Stadium complex for the second-ever Miami Grand Prix. Defending race and series champion Max Verstappen of Red Bull enters as the overwhelming favorite to once again win at the temporary Miami International Autodrome street circuit.

Here’s everything you need to know for the Miami Grand Prix race weekend:

Miami Grand Prix starting grid

  1. Sergio Perez (11), Red Bull-Honda RBPT

  2. Fernando Alonso (14), Aston Martin-Mercedes

  3. Carlos Sainz (55), Ferrari

  4. Kevin Magnussen (20), Haas-Ferrari

  5. Pierre Gasly (10), Alpine-Renault

  6. George Russell (63), Mercedes

  7. Charles Leclerc (16), Ferrari

  8. Esteban Ocon (31), Alpine-Renault

  9. Max Verstappen (1), Red Bull-Honda RBPT

  10. Valtteri Bottas (77), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

  11. Alexander Albon (23), Williams-Mercedes

  12. Nico Hulkenberg, (27), Haas-Ferrari

  13. Lewis Hamilton (44), Mercedes

  14. Zhou Guanyu (24), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari

  15. Nyck De Vries (21), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT

  16. Lando Norris (4), McLaren-Mercedes

  17. Yuki Tsunoda (22), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT

  18. Lance Stroll (18), Aston Martin-Mercedes

  19. Oscar Piastri (81), McLaren-Mercedes

  20. Logan Sargeant (2), Williams-Mercedes

Perez claims pole, Verstappen P9

Sergio Perez nailed his banker lap at the beginning of the third qualifying session and it paid off as he claimed his second pole of the season. Perez’s Red Bull teammate and championship leader Max Verstappen did not have a good first run and — after Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc spun to bring out a red flag to end the session — will have to start in ninth.

Red Bulls, Ferraris ahead comfortably in FP3

Max Verstappen continued his dominance of the Miami International Autodrome in the third practice session of the weekend, posting the fastest time at 1:27.535. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, last year’s pole-sitter, was four tenths of a second behind with a time of 1:27.941, while Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez clocked in at 1:28.050. After Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz (1:28.125), the next-best time belonged to Alpine’s Esteban Ocon at 1:28.407.

Verstappen, Ferraris lead in FP2

Despite discomfort issues caused by his HANS device, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen turned the fastest lap during Free Practice 2 in 1:27.930. The Ferrari duo of Carlos Sainz (1:28.315) and Charles Leclerc (1:28.398) were nearly half a second behind. Toward the end of the session Leclerc brought out the session’s lone red flag with a spin and contact with the barriers in turn 8.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, of the Netherlands, takes part in the first practice session of the Formula One Miami Grand Prix auto race at Miami International Autodrome in Miami Gardens, Fla., Friday, May 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Max Verstappen was nearly half a second faster than the Ferraris in qualifying sims during Free Practice 2 for the Miami Grand Prix. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Mercedes top timing sheets in FP1

George Russell posted the fastest time (1:30.125) in Friday’s first practice session, two one-hundredths ahead of his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was third with a 1:30.449, while defending race-winner and two-time defending series champion Max Verstappen was fourth at 1:30.549. Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg brought out a nine-minute red flag midway through the session that wiped out about nine minutes of running.

Miami Grand Prix TV/Streaming schedule

All times Eastern

Friday, May 5
2:25-3:30 p.m.: Free practice 1 (ESPN2, F1TV)
5:55-7 p.m.: Free practice 2 (ESPN2, F1TV)

Saturday, May 6
12:25-1:30 p.m.: Free practice 3 (ESPN, F1TV)
3:55-5 p.m.: Qualifying (ESPN, F1TV)

Sunday, May 7
2-3:25 p.m.: Pre-race show (ABC)
3:25-5:30 p.m.: Miami Grand Prix (ABC, F1TV)

2023 Miami Grand Prix details

Track: Miami International Autodrome (Miami Gardens, Florida), 3.36-mile, 19-turn street circuit
Length: 57 laps for 191.58 miles
Lap record: 1:31.361s (Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 2022)
Tire compounds: C2 (Hard), C3 (Medium), C4 (Soft)

Top drivers and best bets for the Miami Grand Prix

Red Bull has literally driven past its competitors as though they were standing still through the first four races of the season. Verstappen and teammate Sergio Perez have alternated wins to open the season and in the three races they have finished 1-2, they were an average of 20 seconds up the road.

Best odds to win (per BetMGM)
• Max Verstappen (-200)
• Sergio Perez (+300)
• Fernando Alonso (+1400)
• Lewis Hamilton (+2000)

Yahoo Sports’ Nick Bromberg is backing the Bulls this weekend, advocating for Verstappen’s odds to claim pole (-125) and Perez to finish on the podium (-350). Bromberg also likes Mercedes’ George Russell to finish in the top six (-300).

Miami Grand Prix entries

Max Verstappen (1), Red Bull-Honda RBPT
Sergio Perez (11), Red Bull-Honda RBPT
Charles Leclerc (16), Ferrari|
Carlos Sainz (55), Ferrari
Lewis Hamilton (44), Mercedes
George Russell (63), Mercedes
Pierre Gasly (10), Alpine-Renault
Esteban Ocon (31), Alpine-Renault
Lando Norris (4), McLaren-Mercedes
Oscar Piastri (81), McLaren-Mercedes
Zhou Guanyu (24), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari
Valtteri Bottas (77), Alfa Romeo-Ferrari
Fernando Alonso (14), Aston Martin-Mercedes
Lance Stroll (18), Aston Martin-Mercedes
Kevin Magnussen (20), Haas-Ferrari
Nico Hulkenberg, (27), Haas-Ferrari
Nyck De Vries (21), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT
Yuki Tsunoda (22), AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT
Logan Sargeant (2), Williams-Mercedes
Alexander Albon (23), Williams-Mercedes

Is there a fake marina at the Miami Grand Prix?

Yes. Race promoters have constructed a “dock” with 10 yachts overlooking the turns 6-7-8 complex of the circuit, featuring vessels on trailers surrounded by a raised solid vinyl finish resembling water. This is an obvious attempt to replicate the glamor and glitz of the Monaco Grand Prix set for later this month, but also a calculated gambit for social media virality.

Weather for the Miami Grand Prix

The weekend forecast is fairly consistent in terms of temperature with highs of 89 on Friday and 87 on Saturday and Sunday. However, cloud cover is expected to vary (which impacts track temperature and therefore, grip) throughout the weekend. Friday’s practice sessions will be mostly sunny, Saturday’s practice and qualifying will be under partly cloudy conditions, while Sunday will be overcast. Historically, if the data teams collect Friday isn’t as relevant for Sunday, racing gets more wild.

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