Sergio Perez claimed pole for Formula 1's Miami Grand Prix over Fernando Alonso, as Charles Leclerc brought out a red flag and prevented anyone from improving.
Perez logged a 1m26.841s amid the first flying runs in Q3 to take the early advantage on the timing board, as Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen went wide through Turn 5 and aborted his initial run - retreating to the pitlane.
Leclerc, meanwhile, tapped the wall on the exit of Turn 16 and then suffered a lock-up at the following corner, which proved only enough for seventh after the initial set of runs.
The two thus had work to do in order to move themselves up the order, and began their final runs to try and overturn Perez's bid for a second pole position of 2023.
While Leclerc began his lap in rambunctious fashion, he overcooked it on the exit of Turn 6 and lost the rear to spin into the wall. This immediately brought out a set of double-waved yellows in the opening sector, but the session was red-flagged with one minute and 36 seconds left on the clock and not restarted.
This cemented Perez's pole and denied Verstappen, who had topped both Q1 and Q2, a chance to bite back for pole, much to the Dutchman's frustration.
Alonso claimed his first front-row start of the season alongside Perez, thanks to his own strong performance after the opening set of runs - and hailed the Aston Martin's balance as "perfect" following the session.
The Spaniard starts ahead of compatriot Carlos Sainz on Sunday's grid, as the Ferrari driver managed to produce a steady lap amid the opening set of runs. Kevin Magnussen joins him on the second row of the grid, the Dane nailing his first attempt as Haas continued to look impressive throughout qualifying.
Magnussen, however, is under investigation for impeding Lewis Hamilton in Q1, when the Mercedes driver brushed the wall trying to avoid the slow Haas.
Pierre Gasly took fifth ahead of George Russell, who broke through into Q3 by the skin of his teeth, while Leclerc was seventh fastest prior to his crash.
Esteban Ocon ensured two Alpines made the top 10, with Verstappen and Bottas failing to set representative times in the final part of qualifying.
Hamilton was the big-ticket elimination from Q2, only managing to secure 13th in the session as the Mercedes drivers spent most of the second part of qualifying in the drop zone.
Russell managed to progress into the top 10, but Hamilton was unable to extract the same degree of pace from the W14 and missed out on Q3 by two tenths, the seven-time champion feeling that the team went too late in search of progression to the final part of qualifying.
Alex Albon was dumped out of qualifying by Russell, who was just half a tenth ahead once the session came to a close, to deny Williams another shot at a Q3 berth.
The Anglo-Thai starts 11th, ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, who was also unable to progress having sat in the top 10 through most of the session. Hamilton starts Sunday's race ahead of Zhou Guanyu, who could not join Alfa Romeo team-mate Valtteri Bottas in Q3, and AlphaTauri's Nyck de Vries.
Track conditions in Q1 rapidly improved in the dying stages of the session, creating a mad dash to the finish line as the margins were particularly tight among the midfield runners.
The McLaren and Mercedes duos were mired in the bottom five with a minute and a half to go, with both squads expecting to progress.
Both Mercedes drivers managed to grab competitive laptimes to progress, but Oscar Piastri could not break past the 15th-fastest time and stamped his card for an early bath in the session.
Lando Norris meanwhile managed to get into 11th, but improvement from the cars around him contrived to push him back down into the drop zone, ensuring he dropped out at the first stage.
Yuki Tsunoda qualified 17th behind the Briton, while Lance Stroll also failed to coax his Aston Martin out of the bottom five and collected an 18th-placed start for Sunday's race. Piastri and Logan Sargeant completed the final row.
|Nyck de Vries
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