To his own surprise, world champion Max Verstappen took first place on the grid for the Formula 1 sprint race in Miami. The Red Bull driver relegated the Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc to second place and then radioed in amazement: “What happened to the others?” Verstappen had a harder time than usual in training and qualifying in high temperatures, but once again he was unbeatable when it counted.

His teammate Sergio Pérez came third. “It felt pretty terrible. It was a bit happy now, but of course I take that with me,” said Verstappen. The 26-year-old starts the 100-kilometer sprint on Saturday (6 p.m./Sky) as the clear favorite.

Hülkenberg “the bulb is glowing”

Nico Hülkenberg impressed in tenth place in the Haas racing car. “That’s okay. A little more would have been possible if I looked at the times,” said Hülkenberg and, given the heat in Florida, admitted: “My head is glowing.”

The working day was once again disappointing for the Mercedes team. Despite a new underbody and several innovations on the Silver Arrow, George Russell and record world champion Lewis Hamilton did not get past eleventh and twelfth place.

Verstappen has won the two previous Formula 1 races in Miami. This year, the Dutchman has already collected four victories in five Grand Prix and is clearly leading the overall standings.