Scuderia Ferrari will start the first Miami Grand Prix with both its F1-75s on the front row. Charles Leclerc took pole position ahead of team-mate Carlos Sainz in a session that once again demonstrated how close the battle is at the front of the pack. It also confirmed that the Ferrari package- the team at the track and in Maranello, the drivers and the car- is truly competitive in this early part of the season. It was the Scuderia's 67th front row lock-out, its 233rd pole. For Charles, it was his twelfth pole position, which sees him equal the number of Ferrari poles secured by Sebastian Vettel, while in the all-time list, he is now equal with Gerhard Berger and David Coulthard. As for Carlos, he showed great strength of character putting Friday's spin firmly behind him to produce an excellent lap, which included being fastest of all in the first sector.
The two Ferrari drivers comfortably made it through the first two parts of qualifying, almost among the quickest on their way to Q3. Charles and Carlos were in the best possible shape for the final showdown as they each had two sets of new Soft tyres at their disposal. On his first run, the Monegasque managed a 1'29"055 and his team-mate was a fraction slower in 1'29"071; two excellent laps although at that time, Max Verstappen sat at the top of the time sheet. The Ferrari duo pitted for fresh tyres and set off once again in pursuit of the quickest time. Leclerc produced a brilliant lap, stopping the clocks in 1'28"796 and Sainz was also on great form, delivering an equally impressive 1'28"986 to secure second place.
Tomorrow's race looks like being a tricky one in which anything could happen, particularly as air and track temperatures will be very high. However, there can be no better way to start than with both cars on the front row. The lights go out at 15.30 local (21.30 CET).
Charles Leclerc: It feels really good to come here and put everything together on such a difficult track. Although I was not very happy with turns 1-2-3, it was a good lap and I'm really glad to have secured pole.
I feel at ease with the car. It feels great to drive and really makes you think of how to extract its full potential.
Tomorrow will be a tight race and it is good to have Carlos by my side. The pace is there for both our cars and hopefully we can keep our positions until the end to bring home a strong result for our team.
Carlos Sainz: I'm pretty happy with my qualifying. It was a strong comeback after yesterday and I managed to improve run after run, to finally fight for pole up until the very last corner. I had fun out there, pushing the car, and we are in a good position for tomorrow.
This track has proven to be very tricky and starting from the front row will help for sure. We will do everything to maximise the potential for the race, as there are a lot of factors to take into account. Congrats to the entire team and to Charles for a well executed session.
Laurent Mekies: We are very pleased with this result. It was also important in terms of morale, for the team here at the track and for everyone working back in Maranello, after what happened in Imola. Qualifying took place in conditions very different to anything we have seen so far this season and on a unique track, at which we were able to demonstrate the effectiveness of our package. Nevertheless, it's clear we are in for a very close fight with our main rivals.
Our drivers did a simply amazing job today. Charles produced yet another of his breathtaking laps, while Carlos came back from a difficult Friday, working hard and demonstrating real determination, which saw him get very close to his team-mate's time so as to line up right behind him.
It's nice to be on the front row but we still have a lot of work to do tonight. Tomorrow's race could be the hottest of the season and we have seen how tricky this track and its surface can be, so it will be very important to prepare every last detail for the race, starting with how to manage the tyres. This evening, we will work with our colleagues back in Maranello to ensure we get everything out of the car. The start will be very important and we will be up against very tough opponents, who are capable of giving us a hard time in terms of top speed. I predict a great battle.
Check out our Saturday gallery from Miami, here.