Miami GP: Sergio Perez leads Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen in practice 3 as Mercedes slip back


Watch Miami GP qualifying live on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event; Editing begins at 8:15 p.m. before the shootout begins at 9 p.m.

Last update: 05/22/07 7:16 p.m.

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Max Verstappen was very lucky not to hit the wall after hitting a curb at turn 14

Max Verstappen was very lucky not to hit the wall after hitting a curb at turn 14

Sergio Perez picked up Red Bull’s momentum heading into the first-ever Miami GP qualifying by overtaking final practice ahead of title rivals Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen as Mercedes slowed.

Red Bull’s Perez and Verstappen had a disappointing start to a stellar weekend in Miami – struggling for pace and reliability – but both responded on Saturday, and it was the Mexican who was quickest with a 1 : 30.304.

Verstappen had looked set to beat Perez late before a mistake and a dramatic lucky escape, as he slipped on the chicane at Turn 13-14 but somehow managed to stop his Red Bull before crashing into the narrow walls.

Esteban Ocon had not been so lucky before, crashing his Alpine at Turn 14 to bring out red flags.

Esteban Ocon lost control of his car at turn 14, at the same place as Carlos Sainz in P2 and the damage to the car cast doubt on the Frenchman's qualifications.

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Esteban Ocon lost control of his car at turn 14, at the same place as Carlos Sainz in P2 and the damage to the car cast doubt on the Frenchman’s qualifications.

Esteban Ocon lost control of his car at turn 14, at the same place as Carlos Sainz in P2 and the damage to the car cast doubt on the Frenchman’s qualifications.

After Verstappen’s near miss, there was just enough time for championship leader Leclerc to move him up to second place, a tenth behind Perez.

Absent from the front after a superb Friday were Mercedes, who went earlier with their qualifying simulations than their rivals and Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished in 15th and 17th.

“I don’t think it’s representative,” said Sky F1’s Karun Chandhok, who always predicts a three-way battle for pole position in qualifying. The session starts at 9 p.m., live on Sky Sports F1.

Jenson Button, however, added of Mercedes: “It’s strange how the car looks in the first four races of the year. It doesn’t look like what we had yesterday.”

In Ocon’s absence, Fernando Alonso continued his competitive start to the weekend by finishing fourth, ahead of surprise withdrawals in the form of Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and Haas’ Mick Schumacher.

Carlos Sainz couldn’t quite unlock Ferrari’s pace as he found himself seventh after his crash on Friday, while Kevin Magnussen, Alex Albon and Lando Norris completed the top 10.




Sky Sports

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