World championship chief Charles Leclerc praised the keenness of Ferrari’s many American followers Saturday, however warned of a tense battle forward after main the Italian crew to a front-row lockout on the inaugural Miami Grand Prix.
The 24-year-old Monegasque claimed pole place forward of his Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz after world champion Max Verstappen made a uncommon error and slipped to 3rd on the grid for Pink Bull at a packed Miami Worldwide Autodrome.
“The followers are loopy,” stated a beaming Leclerc. “But it surely’s unbelievable to be right here in the US and to see how a lot the game has grown over the previous few years.
“The final race weekend wasn’t nice for me. I made a mistake in that race. However right now it went nicely.
“We’re beginning on pole and we have to end the job tomorrow.
“Pink Bull are extraordinarily fast within the straight traces, however we’re fast within the corners and it will likely be a good problem tomorrow. We really feel very motivated as there are such a lot of Ferrari followers right here.”
Leclerc clocked a quickest lap in a single minute and 28.796 seconds to outpace team-mate Sainz by two-tenths.
‘Study the monitor’
Verstappen was third after making a slight mistake on his closing flying lap. His Pink Bull team-mate Sergio Perez was fourth with Valtteri Bottas fifth for Alfa Romeo and seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton sixth for Mercedes.
Verstappen, who’s on 59 factors within the championship and trails Leclerc by 27 factors, swallowed his disappointment after lacking a lot of Friday observe.
“General, I’m fairly happy with qualifying,” the Dutch driver stated.
“I actually did 4 or 5 laps yesterday. The entire of right now I used to be making an attempt to be taught the monitor and looking for a good stability within the automotive and really, to be that aggressive in qualifying, it was a little bit of a shock as a result of this isn’t a simple monitor to be taught.
“After all, you need to be on pole however the place we got here from, we’ve performed a very good job. However now we have to begin making the weekends slightly bit more easy as a result of like this, it’s all the time going to be difficult.
“We now have probability tomorrow. The automotive is dealing with fairly nicely, so I’m trying ahead to it.”
Sainz, who recovered nicely after a crash in observe on Friday, stated it had not been simple to regain his confidence and push onerous on such a punishing circuit.
“Build up a bit from a reasonably heavy crash,” he stated. “It wasn’t simple in any respect to get the boldness again in such a tough circuit like this new one.”
“Tomorrow goes to be an attention-grabbing day with every little thing happening this weekend. We haven’t performed any lengthy runs but, haven’t put gas within the automotive, so tomorrow would be the first time.
“It might be a problem, however I’m feeling assured with the automotive. It’s good to drive spherical right here so I believe we are able to do job.”
It was Leclerc’s third pole this yr and the twelfth of his profession. For Sainz it was the second time he had secured a front-row begin. It was Ferrari’s first front-row lockout because the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix.
Pierre Gasly of Alpha Tauri certified seventh forward of McLaren’s Lando Norris and Yuki Tsunoda within the second Alpha Tauri, with Lance Stroll taking tenth for Aston Martin.
Hamilton was relieved with a spot on the third row after Mercedes suffered the ignominy of failing to qualify both of their vehicles within the prime 10 on the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
“That is significantly better than final week for me,” he stated. “So, I’ll take it. The automotive is slightly higher, however now we have to maintain working and hold our heads down.”
His team-mate George Russell certified twelfth.
“It’s complicated,” he stated. “My lap was slower right now than I used to be in second observe yesterday. There was potential in there, but it surely’s feeling too inconsistent.”