Sergio Perez will lead the field off the line in Sunday’s (May 7) Miami Grand Prix. Perez took the top spot in qualifying by virtue of being in first place when Charles Leclerc crashed in the Miami International Autodrome’s high-speed turns 4-6 complex.
Fernando Alonso will start on the front row alongside Perez.
The crash occurred with two minutes remaining in the session, leading to a red flag with insufficient time for drivers to set timed laps once the session resumed. Race control opted not the resume the session, ending Q3 a whole 96 seconds prematurely and setting the top 10 starting positions as they stood on the charts at the moment of Leclerc’s crash.
“I think it has been my worst weekend up to qualifying, really,” Perez told Sky Sports’ Danica Patrick. “I just couldn’t figure out how to pull those tenths that I was missing all the time, to Max and to the Ferraris. I was just resetting everything with a small change into qualifying, and really, everything became more alive […] It wasn’t coming together. It was one of those weekends where I was struggling for balance, for confidence. This tarmac is very sensitive to the temperature.”
Perez then turned his focus to a prospective title fight with his teammate.
“I’m just thinking race-by-race,” he said. “I will go out, cheer for my team because they’ve done a tremendous job. And yeah, see what happens tomorrow – tomorrow is a new opportunity. And starting from pole, we are the ones that have some effort to do. But we will just go out there and try to enjoy this amazing crowd.”
Presumed polesitter Max Verstappen had yet to set a time when Leclerc’s Ferrari spun into the turn 6 barrier, stranding the Dutchman in a ninth-place grid slot for the Grand Prix. Drivers had noted a loss of grip throughout the race weekend and Verstappen’s first go at a flying lap was abandoned after a snap of oversteer.
Leclerc clocked a 1:27.861 before crashing out, fast enough to land him seventh on the time sheet. Esteban Ocon followed less than a tenth of a second behind Leclerc.
Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas will start ninth and 10th after neither driver completed a timed lap throughout Q3.
Lewis Hamilton provided the shock factor for Q2 when he was eliminated at the session’s end and, forced to settle for a 13th-place starting spot for Sunday’s race. The Mercedes cars struggled for relative pace throughout Q2 and were nearly struck by double disaster when Russell likewise faced elimination as the time wound down; the younger Briton escaped elimination at the last minute by setting a time fast enough to place him in ninth and punch his ticket to Q3.
Nico Hulkenberg was investigated by the stewards after nearly colliding with Alonso when the Haas team released him from his garage and he emerged directly in front of Alonso. The Spaniard managed to hit the brakes in time to avoid a collision and managed to advance to Q3 with the third-fastest time of the session. Hulkenberg was eliminated and will start 12th on Sunday.
Eliminated from Q2 were:
11. Alex Albon
12. Nico Hulkenberg
13. Lewis Hamilton
14. Zhou Guanyu
15. Nyck de Vries
The first qualifying session of the day was punctuated by a last-minute dash to advance to Q2 – neither of Mercedes’ cars were certain to advance beyond the first round, and a double-elimination in Q1 for the Silver Arrows would have been entirely unprecedented.
The session was marred by investigations into impediments involving a slew of drivers including but not limited to Magnussen, Zhou, Sainz and more. No action was taken in any of these cases.
Rookies Oscar Piastri and Logan Sargeant will compose the back of Sunday’s grid, as neither driver was able to put a competitive time on the board before the clock struck zero on Q1. Sargeant, a Florida native, will start the first of three home-country Grands Prix of the year from last place.
Eliminated from Q1 were:
16. Lando Norris
17. Yuki Tsunoda
18. Lance Stroll
19. Oscar Piastri
20. Logan Sargeant
The 2023 Miami Grand Prix will go green on Sunday, May 7, at 3:30 p.m. ET with coverage on ESPN.
About the author
Alex is the IndyCar Content Director at Frontstretch, having initially joined as an entry-level contributor in 2021. He also serves as Managing Director of The Asia Cable, a publication focused on the international affairs and politics of the Asia-Pacific region which he co-founded in 2023. With previous experience in China, Japan and Poland, Alex is particularly passionate about the international realm of motorsport and the politics that make the wheels turn - literally - behind the scenes.
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