Lewis Hamilton troubles continue as Max Verstappen claims Miami GP sprint pole

Lewis Hamilton’s troubled season continued in Miami after he qualified only 12th for Saturday’s sprint race at the Hard Rock Stadium.

As Max Verstappen put his Red Bull on pole position, Hamilton, who has so far failed to finish in the top six this season, grazed the wall as he was eliminated in Q2.

Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell also failed to make it into the final phase, taking 11th place, on another disappointing afternoon for Mercedes in the Sunshine State.

“I have got nothing,” said Hamilton over the radio following his premature exit from qualifying which determines the grid for Saturday’s 19-lap dash.

The dejected seven-time world champion then shook his head as he departed his Mercedes.

The Silver Arrows have brought a revised machine to Florida, fast-tracking an upgraded floor originally due for the next round in Imola in a fortnight’s time.

But the new package failed to reverse the fortunes of a team labouring in fourth place in the constructors’ standings.

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton will start Saturday’s sprint race in Miami from 12th on the grid (Lynne Sladky/AP)

Team principal Toto Wolff put his forehead in his hands after seeing both drivers fail to make it out of Q2.

Verstappen is on course to waltz to his fourth world championship in as many years and the Dutchman put the team’s off-track troubles to one side – after designer Adrian Newey announced he is leaving Red Bull at the end of the year – to take spot.

Charles Leclerc qualified second for Ferrari with Sergio Perez third and Daniel Ricciardo fourth for RB.

However, Verstappen, who appeared to be struggling with the handling of his all-conquering Red Bull machine, was surprised he had managed to see off his rivals.

“Lol,” he said over the radio after edging out Leclerc by 0.108 seconds. “What happened to the others? This was terrible but I will take it.”

“It felt really terrible,” added Verstappen. “It was just incredibly difficult to get the tyres to work.

“Somehow we were first, and of course, I will 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, but in qualifying, not so much.”

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz took fifth, with Oscar Piastri sixth for McLaren. Lando Norris could manage only ninth after he finished eight tenths off the pace.

The sprint race takes place at 12:00 local time (5pm BST) on Saturday ahead of qualifying for Sunday’s main event.