Verstappen pinpoints Red Bull’s advantage over Ferrari after qualifying third

A mistake in Q3 halted Max Verstappen's attempts to consolidate pole position and resulted in him qualifying behind Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

Max Verstappen appeared relieved to take third in qualifying for the Miami Grand Prix having endured a tough weekend.

The Dutchman was only able to muster 35 laps during free practice after a crash put pay to the majority of his running in FP1, before a hydraulic failure hindered his second session on Friday.

He then very nearly found the barrier midway through the chicane at Turns 14 and 15 on Saturday morning, all of which have constituted an eventful weekend for Verstappen.

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He looked on for pole in Miami, but a mistake on his second run in qualifying prevented him from putting a second lap together in Q3, leaving him third behind the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

But having experienced no shortage of tribulations in Florida, the reigning world champion is satisfied with his efforts.

“On the whole I was pretty pleased with qualifying,” he told Danica Patrick after the race.

“I literally did four or five laps yesterday so the whole day today was still trying to learn the track, trying to find a decent balance in the car and actually to be that competitive in qualifying I was a bit surprised.

“This is not an easy track to learn and I think overall, of course you want to be on pole, but where we come from I think we did a really good job but yeah we have to start making the weekends a little bit less difficult.

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“Like this, it’s always going to be tricky but we have a good chance tomorrow, we have good top speed, I think the car is handling quite well so I’m looking forward to that.”

The track has already become notorious for its scarcity of grip away from the racing line this weekend, and Verstappen predicts that the weather on Sunday will be even more scorching than during qualifying, so keeping the tyres in check during what is set to be an intense battle with Ferrari will be a fascinating challenge for the 24-year-old.

“It’s quite slippery outside of the normal racing line but we’ll see,” said Verstappen.

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“A lot of things can happen tomorrow. I think it’s going to be even warmer than today so it also depends a bit on how the tyres are going to behave.”

Verstappen out-qualified team-mate Sergio Perez for the fourth time this season after the Mexican ensured he will share the second row with the reigning champion by qualifying fourth in Miami.