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Verstappen pulls ahead in Miami GP, keeping pole position on fire

Max Verstappen moved closer to securing a third consecutive victory at the Miami Grand Prix on Saturday, extending his impressive streak of dominating Formula One qualifying sessions.

The three-time reigning F1 champion secured his seventh consecutive pole position, a remarkable feat considering it was his first pole at the Miami circuit. Despite not starting from the top spot in the first two races held at Hard Rock Stadium, Verstappen emerged victorious in both.

Reflecting on his performance, Verstappen admitted to finding it challenging to maintain consistency with the car and tire feeling over a single lap at the Miami circuit each year. However, he expressed satisfaction with his team’s efforts, stating, “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 thing.”

Verstappen’s pole-winning run also matched a record set by Alain Prost, who achieved six consecutive poles at the start of the 1993 season.

“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’s 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 warmup 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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