Max Verstappen beat Charles Leclerc to take pole position for the sprint race at the F1 Miami Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver claimed pole for the second sprint race of the season but was just 0.108 seconds faster than Ferrari’s Leclerc, who recovered well after missing almost the entirety of practice following a spin.

Sergio Perez was third in the second Red Bull, 0.235s slower than his world champion teammate.

Verstappen admitted he was surprised to take pole after what felt like a “terrible” lap.

“It felt really terrible,” he said. “Maybe that last session was just incredibly difficult to get the tyres to work.

“Already in SQ2 I didn’t feel great. SQ3, it just felt quite similar for me. I didn’t really improve on the soft. Somehow we were first. Of course, I happily take it.

“But it didn’t feel enjoyable out there to drive for whatever reason because in practice it felt really, really nice, I was very comfortable and confident, qualifying, not so much.”

Daniel Ricciardo impressed on his way to claiming a brilliant fourth in his RB with a lap just 0.403s slower than Verstappen.

Ricciardo’s eye-catching performance should help ease the pressure on him to turnaround his form after a difficult start to 2024.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was fifth ahead of McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and the Aston Martin duo of Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso.

After topping SQ2, Lando Norris, in a heavily upgraded McLaren, struggled for pace when the field switched onto softs for the final part of qualifying and could only take ninth, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg.

Despite bringing a significant upgrade to Miami, Mercedes endured a terrible sprint qualifying, with both George Russell and Lewis Hamilton eliminated in SQ2.

Neither Russell or Hamilton could improve on their second run on used medium tyres and will line up from 11th and 12th respectively for Saturday’s sprint race.

Esteban Ocon took 13th for Alpine, ahead of Kevin Magnussen’s Haas and RB’s Yuki Tsunoda, who was a disappointing 15th.

Pierre Gasly could not join his teammate in SQ2 as he qualified 16th, ahead of the Sauber pair of Zhou Guanyu and Valtteri Bottas.

The Williams duo of Logan Sargeant and Alex Albon are set to prop up the rear of the sprint race grid in 19th and 20th after Albon saw his lap time deleted for exceeding track limits.