The Malta Independent 23 June 2024, Sunday
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Max Verstappen ties Alain Prost's record with 6th pole-winning run to open an F1 season

Associated Press Sunday, 5 May 2024, 06:03 Last update: about 3 months ago

Max Verstappen inched closer to a third consecutive win at the Miami Grand Prix on Saturday by continuing his long domination of Formula 1 qualifying.

The three-time reigning F1 champion won his seventh consecutive pole, but first at Miami, where Verstappen failed to earn the top starting spot in the first two races around Hard Rock Stadium, yet still won them both.

“I don't know what it is, every single year we come here I find it extremely difficult to be consistent with the car feeling, with the tire feeling over one lap,” Verstappen said. “I think we did OK. It's not the most enjoyable lap of my career, but we're on pole and that's the most important.”

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The pole-winning run tied Verstappen with Alain Prost in opening the season with six consecutive poles. Prost did it in 1993.

“Good start," Verstappen radioed his team. “Let's keep it going.”

Verstappen opened Saturday with a win in the sprint race and ended the day with his 38th career pole. The Red Bull driver turned a lap at 1 minute, 27.241 seconds to best the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. and will lead the field to green on Sunday for the first of F1's three races this year in the United States.

Verstappen has won four of the first five F1 races this season.

Sergio Perez, Verstappen's teammate at Red Bull, qualified fourth and was followed by McLaren teammates Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, who were likely disappointed after upgrades brought to Miami has the team hoping to move closer to competition with Red Bull and Ferrari.

Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton qualified sixth and seventh and were followed by Nico Hülkenberg of Haas and Yuki Tsunoda of Red Bull's junior team.

It was a terrible session for Tsunoda teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who was having a decent weekend until he failed to advance out of the first qualifying group. Ricciardo was strong in Friday qualifying for the sprint race and finished fourth in the warm-up race Saturday.

He qualified 18th in the 20-driver field but will start last because he must serve a three-spot grid penalty earned in F1's last outing, in China.

It was also a poor qualifying day for American driver Logan Sargeant of Pompano Beach. At his home track, and while his job with Williams is in clear jeopardy, Sargeant qualified 17th.

“Are we in? Please tell me we are in,” he radioed his team in hopes he'd advanced out of the first group. When told he was eliminated, the 23-year-old replied, "that's a shame.

Kevin Magnussen of Haas is under FIA investigation for unsportsmanlike behavior for how he raced earlier Saturday in the sprint race. Magnussen was penalized three times in the sprint race and said after that all were fair.

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