Perez tops Leclerc, Max before Qualy as Merc drop back
Watch Miami GP qualifying live on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event; Build-up starts at 8pm before shootout begins at 9pm
By Matt Morlidge in Miami
Last Updated: 07/05/22 7:14pm
Sergio Perez wrestled back the momentum for Red Bull heading into the first-ever Miami GP qualifying by topping final practice ahead of title rivals Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen, as Mercedes dropped off the pace.
Red Bull’s Perez and Verstappen had disappointing starts to a bumper weekend in Miami – struggling for pace and reliability – but both responded on Saturday, and it was the Mexican who was fastest with a 1:30.304.
Verstappen had looked set to beat Perez late on before an error and a dramatic lucky escape, as he slid over the Turn 13-14 chicane but somehow managed to stop his Red Bull before smashing into the narrow walls.
Esteban Ocon had earlier not been so fortunate, crashing his Alpine at Turn 14 to bring out red flags.
After Verstappen’s near-miss, there was just enough time for championship leader Leclerc to leapfrog him into second, a tenth behind Perez.
Missing 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 way down in 15th and 17th.
“I don’t think that’s representative,” said Sky F1’s Karun Chandhok, who is still predicting a three-team fight for pole position in qualifying. The session starts at 9pm, live on Sky Sports F1.
More to follow.