Verstappen Sets Miami F1 Grand Prix Pace with Sprint Win, Pole for Sunday

f1 grand prix of miami sprint  qualifying
Verstappen Wins Sprint, Pole for Miami Grand PrixQian Jun/MB Media - Getty Images
  • Max Verstappen's Sprint win was worth eight championship points and extended his title advantage to 27 points.

  • Verstappen followed up his Sprint win by capturing the pole for Sunday's F1 Miami Grand Prix main event.

  • Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will start from second place on Sunday, while Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz will line up from third position.

Formula 1 World Champion Max Verstappen continued his dominant start to the 2024 season with Sprint Race victory and pole position at the Miami Grand Prix on Saturday.

It is Formula 1’s third visit to the Miami International Autodrome, which winds its way around the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, and for the first time the F1 Sprint format was run at the venue.


Saturday’s track action featured both the Sprint Race—the second of six to be run in 2024—before qualifying for Sunday’s Grand Prix.

Verstappen was not entirely happy with the handling of his Red Bull RB20 during Sprint Qualifying on Friday, responding “LOL, what happened to the others,” when informed he finished fastest, indicating how the champion can still fly even when the situation is far from perfect.

Verstappen controlled proceedings during the 19-lap Sprint Race on Saturday lunchtime, ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, and Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez.

The result was worth eight championship points and extended Verstappen’s title advantage to 27 points.

The mini-race was devoid of action and entertainment up front, which does not augur well for Sunday’s 57-lap race, which Verstappen will again start from the front after going fastest in qualifying.

Verstappen’s lap made it six pole positions out of six for the season, but it was his first at the Miami International Autodrome, having won from third in 2022, and from a lowly ninth in 2023.

“The car felt more connected, more predictable, which hopefully will help me tomorrow in the race,” said Verstappen.

Ferrari’s Leclerc will start from second place while teammate Carlos Sainz will line up from third position.

Perez will take the start from fourth, in front of McLaren duo Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.

The Sprint Race provided a couple of spills and surprise results behind the front-running positions.

The standout display came from RB’s Daniel Ricciardo, who rebounded from a tough start to the season to convert a second-row start to fourth, his best result since 2021.

It nonetheless transpired to be a mixed day for Ricciardo, who then qualified only 18th for Sunday’s race, and he will start from last due to a penalty received at the last event in China.

“It’s so nice to fight at the front of course but then to be just holding off what we know are faster cars, it feels like a statement,” said Ricciardo. “It’s cool. Lot of people like to talk shit so it’s nice to [put a] couple of middle fingers up, subtly.”

Haas also took points from the Sprint Race, with Nico Hulkenberg a fine seventh, aided by teammate Kevin Magnussen putting in a defensive job to protect the German from pursuing rivals, replicating his tactics from the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Magnussen sustained four time penalties – three for leaving the track and gaining an advantage and one for track limits – while defending against Lewis Hamilton, and by the time the Mercedes driver was through, Hulkenberg had opened a sufficient buffer to hold seventh.

“I had to play the sporting game not to have him be overtaken as well,” said Magnussen. “So not the way I want to go racing, but what I had to do.”

Stewards also handed Magnussen three penalty points for his tactics, bringing his tally for the season up to eight, and putting him closer to the 12-point threshold at which a driver is suspended for an event.

Magnussen – having picked up eight penalty points from five-and-a-half rounds this year – must navigate the rest of the season without picking up more four points.

Hamilton, meanwhile, incurred the wrath of some rivals for an aggressive approach to Turn 1 in Sprint, exacerbating contact between the Aston Martin drivers, with McLaren’s Lando Norris caught up and eliminated from the race.

Stewards took no further action, deeming no driver was wholly to blame, and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso was irritated at the outcome.

“Hamilton was coming from the inside without control of the car, so if I do that for sure I get the penalty,” said Alonso, before adding “I do feel that nationality matters” when it comes to stewarding decisions, and that “I will speak with [FIA President] Mohammed [Ben Sulayem], with the FIA, whatever, I need to make sure there is not anything wrong with my nationality or anything that can influence any decision.

F1 Miami Grand Prix Sprint Results

  1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 19 laps, 31:31.383, 8 points

  2. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, +3.371 seconds, 7 points

  3. Sergio Perez, Red Bull, +5.095, 6 points

  4. Daniel Ricciardo, RB, +14.971, 5 points

  5. Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, +15.222, 4 points

  6. Oscar Piastri, McLaren, +15.750, 3 points

  7. Nico Hulkenberg, Haas, +22.054, 2 points

  8. Yuki Tsunoda, +29.816, 1 point

  9. Pierre Gasly, Alpine, +31.880

  10. Logan Sargeant, Williams, +34.355

  11. Zhou Guanyu, Kick Sauber, +35.078

  12. George Russell, Mercedes, +35.755

  13. Alexander Albon, Williams, +36.086

  14. Valtteri Bottas, Kick Sauber, +36.892

  15. Esteban Ocon, Alpine, +37.740

  16. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +49.347

  17. Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, +59.409

  18. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, +1:06.303

  19. Lance Stroll, Aston, Martin, NC

  20. Lando Norris, McLaren, NC