Bizarre Pace in Sprint Qualifying Sees Verstappen to the Front

May 3, 2024Ramon Jones
Formula 1

Sprint qualifying in Miami presented a number of issues for all of the drivers. The entire field was struggling with lap times. The most surprising situation was the elimination of both Mercedes cars in the opening qualifying session. Even more surprising was the effort put forth by Daniel Ricciardo. Ricciardo has struggled to make it into the top 10 in qualifying all season. He broke that streak today after qualifying P4 in the session for tomorrow’s Sprint race.

Ricciardo Comments on His P4 Finish

Ricciardo had the following comments after the sprint qualifying, “I feel really good about today, I have some good confidence in the car and the second row is awesome! The team brought updates to the last few races, changed my chassis at the previous race in China, and brought a new floor here in Miami. Things look like they’re turning around and I’m very proud of what the team and myself did today. We had a good session starting from SQ1, even if I made a mistake in the first lap, so we were putting ourselves under a bit of pressure.

Then I found a good lap and we started to build up from SQ2. I’m a bit surprised to be P4 with my lap because I expected to be a lot quicker with the soft compound. Instead, the soft tires didn’t give much more compared to the mediums. I touched the wall twice; I told the team that I was definitely trying to get everything out of it. Let’s see what happens in the Sprint race, but it’s a lot nicer to be in the front rows. This can definitely help stay cleaner in the first phase of the race, if not involved in a bit of chaos. I’d love to get some points tomorrow.”

Verstappen Takes Surprising Pole

Max Verstappen finished on top in sprint race qualifying but it was clear he wasn’t happy with the car. “The practice session was really nice and I felt really confident and comfortable with the car. Honestly, I am quite surprised that we got P1 for the Sprint qualifying; it felt a bit different as I couldn’t really push or feel too confident on the tyres and get a nice balance on the car.

On a track surface like this, it means that if you are a little bit out with the tyres it makes a big difference, but I think everyone else particularly struggled with the final run on the soft tyres. We have a few things to analyse and question why it felt a bit different from qualifying, but we should get it together fine for tomorrow. All in all, we have a great starting position for the Sprint and hopefully we can maximize this. Once the tires stabilize, we should be back on track.”