F1’s inaugural weekend at Miami has met expectations so far with the all-new American grand prix circuit giving drivers a tough challenge.
Reigning F1 champion Max Verstappen led the way after the first runs in Q3 but an oversteer moment on his final lap meant he couldn’t improve and left him third on the grid.
There were a few shocks and surprises up and down the grid in qualifying.
Valtteri Bottas continued to impress for Alfa Romeo as he qualified fifth behind the Ferraris and Red Bulls.
It was a remarkable turnaround for the Finn after he crashed out at Turn 7 in FP1, forcing him to miss the entirety of second practice because Alfa Romeo couldn’t repair his car in time.
Bottas was back in action during FP3 but didn’t show too much in terms of quick lap times, ending the session outside of the top 10.
A Q3 appearance looked unlikely for Bottas after he ended Q1 down in 15th and was fortunate to make it through given that Esteban Ocon didn’t participate in the session following his shunt in final practice and Alfa Romeo teammate Guanyu Zhou hitting traffic on his last lap.
Bottas is renowned as one of F1’s best qualifiers given how close he pushed Lewis Hamilton over on lap during his stint with Mercedes and he showed why that statement is true in Miami.
The 10-time grand prix winner secured fifth ahead of former teammate Hamilton on the grid to continue his strong start to life with Alfa.
After an abysmal start to the year, Aston Martin appears to be on the upward trajectory after a double-points finish at Imola.
Lance Stroll continued Aston’s mini-revival with a surprise Q3 appearance at Imola.
The Canadian didn’t appear to be on the pace of four-time champion teammate Sebastian Vettel during Q1 but pulled it out of the bag when it mattered to secure a top 10 position.
Stroll has his critics but his performance in qualifying given Aston Martin’s struggles was impressive.
Which F1 drivers had a day to forget?
After showing outstanding pace throughout Friday practice – even topping FP2 – George Russell was a surprise early elimination in Q2.
The Mercedes W13 continues to be a very difficult to car which was highlighted by Russell’s run in Q2 where he struggled to keep the car on the track with a couple of oversteer moments.
Russell only used one set of tyres during Q2, while most of his competitors used two sets, which could be another reason for his premature exit.
Speaking after qualifying, Russell blamed “porpoising” for his poor performance, conceding that he ‘couldn’t attack the corners’.
Russell has enjoyed a remarkable first four grands prix for Mercedes, getting the better of seven-time champion teammate Hamilton.
His struggles – combined with Hamilton’s in recent races – shows how tricky Mercedes’ 2022 challenger is to drive at the moment.
With Lando Norris in third at the end of Q2, Daniel Ricciardo progressing into Q3 should have been a certainty.
In the Australian’s defence, McLaren was very slow to send Ricciardo out at the end of the season due to an unconfirmed problem, thus he wasn’t able to get his tyres into the right window.
Norris continues to out-perform Ricciardo on a weekly basis and with American hotshot Colton Herta weighting in the wings, McLaren will be needing their big-money signing to turn it around soon.
Kevin Magnussen was knocked out in Q1 for the second time this season as he struggled to improve in the dying stages of qualifying.
The Dane has been one of F1’s star performers since making a shock return for Haas in place of Nikita Mazepin so it was a surprise to see him out-paced by teammate Mick Schumacher.
Magnussen trailed Schumacher by three-tenths but only one grid position will separate the pair for Sunday’s race.