The qualifying session for the Miami Grand Prix was heavily affected by rain, making for challenging conditions for the drivers. As the session progressed, a drying line started to emerge, tempting some drivers to switch to soft tires in Q2. However, the rain intensified by the start of the final part of qualifying, forcing the drivers to switch to intermediate rubber.
Red Bull‘s Max Verstappen set a blistering lap time of 1m27.059s on his first attempt with the intermediate tires, with Aston Martin‘s Fernando Alonso close behind, trailing by just 0.25s. Verstappen then managed to find even more speed, clocking in at 1m25.858s, but Alonso showed his potential by outperforming Verstappen in the second sector of his follow-up lap.
However, the session was red-flagged when Oscar Piastri lost control of his McLaren and crashed at Turn 7, damaging the right-rear corner of his car. Fortunately, Piastri was not injured, but the red flag meant that some drivers, including Verstappen, were unable to complete their laps.
When the session resumed with seven minutes remaining, the rain continued to fall, dashing any hopes of improved lap times. It became evident that the drivers could only tackle the wet conditions with full wet tires.
Despite being denied another opportunity to challenge Verstappen‘s time, Alonso secured the third-fastest time, placing him on the second row alongside Mercedes‘ Lewis Hamilton. George Russell and Esteban Ocon completed the third row, while Lando Norris secured seventh place.
Carlos Sainz, however, may face a review from the race stewards for impeding Pierre Gasly in Q1. Gasly experienced constant frustrations with Sainz during the session, and Sainz could only manage eighth place on the grid.
Oscar Piastri‘s time prior to his crash was good enough for ninth place, while Alex Albon‘s Q3 effort was disallowed due to a track limits violation. Albon had taken a gamble by using soft tires early in Q2, which paid off as he secured a place in Q3 with a lap time of 1m18.725s.
In an attempt to take advantage of a drying line that was starting to appear, all the drivers switched to slick tires. However, both Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez decided to discard their sets of soft tires without setting a competitive time on them.
Perez then tried intermediates again when rain returned to the circuit but failed to improve his position and was eliminated from the session. Leclerc, on the other hand, found himself in the drop zone as Nico Hulkenberg secured a spot in the top 10 with his soft-tire lap.
Home favorite Lance Stroll had a momentary scare when he spun at Turn 5 but managed to avoid a collision with the wall. However, his lap time was only good enough for 13th place, ahead of Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas.
Q1 was red-flagged early on when Zhou Guanyu suffered a loss of drive and had to park his car at Turn 7. Thankfully, he was able to perform a reset to get the car back to the garage. The drying track in Q1 added to the pressure on the drivers, as they fought to improve their lap times and avoid elimination.
Both Yuki Tsunoda and Pierre Gasly were hindered by Carlos Sainz at the chicane, resulting in them failing to progress to Q2. Gasly was particularly frustrated, venting his anger over the radio and suggesting that Sainz should face penalties.
In the end, Tsunoda fell just 0.016s short of Hulkenberg‘s time in 15th, and Nyck De Vries could not improve on his 18th-place position. Logan Sargeant joined Zhou on the final row of the grid after returning to the circuit following his earlier issue.
Overall, the qualifying session for the Canadian Grand Prix was a challenging and eventful affair, with changing weather conditions and incidents impacting the final results. The stage is now set for an exciting race as the drivers navigate the unique challenges of the Miami street circuit.