Russell did eventually put up a time on the board, seventh-quickest with 1min 30.173sec.
With two minutes to go, both McLarens were in the Q2 elimination zone – Norris and Ricciardo were 11th and 15th respectively.
Woking needn’t have worried about the Englishman though – a 1min 29.634sec meant Norris ended the session third, but a fellow countryman wouldn’t be so successful – Russell ended the session 12th, 0.045sec off Tsunoda in 10th.
There were a number of other surprise knockouts, including Alonso in 11th, and Ricciardo in 14th. Filling out the rest of the elimination zone was Sebastian Vettel in 13th and Schumacher in 15th.
Leclerc was first to set a quick lap, 1min 29.055sec his opening gambit as Q3 got underway, with Sainz 0.02sec behind.
Verstappen was even quicker though – a 1min 28.991sec put the Red Bull on top.
Perez came in fourth, half a second off his team-mate on the first run, whilst Hamilton was sixth 1.2sec away, Bottas inserting himself into fifth.
Norris’s first run yielded a 1min 30.540sec and seventh, Tsunoda 0.04sec off the Brit, Lance Stroll in ninth with a 1min 30.83sec lap and Gasly’s 1min 30.987sec bringing up the rear.
All eyes were on track as the final runs commenced, with Stroll going out first and Leclerc behind him.
The Ferrari driver went a tenth faster than Verstappen in the first sector, but Sainz was even faster – 0.25sec up.
Come the end of the lap though, it was Leclerc who could keep it all together: 1min 28.796sec secured pole, with Sainz 0.190sec off.
Verstappen’s lap never happened, but his first effort good enough for third. “I f***** it,” he told the team on the radio, oversteer stymying his challenge.
Perez improved to get within a tenth of his Red Bull stablemate, whilst Bottas was 0.4sec off – the Alfa Romeo’s 1min 29.475sec means he’ll start fifth tomorrow.
A solid 1min 29.625sec for Hamilton will see him to sixth on the starting grid tomorrow, Gasly’s time 0.06sec off the Mercedes meaning the AlphaTauri will join it on the fourth row.
A 1min 29.750sec means Lando Norris was close in eighth, with Tsunoda ninth and Stroll filling out the final position.
2022 Miami Grand Prix qualifying results
|1||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||1min 28.796sec|
|2||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||1min 28.986sec|
|3||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1min 28.991sec|
|4||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||1min 29.036sec|
|5||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||1min 29.475sec|
|6||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||1min 29.625sec|
|7||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||1min 29.690sec|
|8||Lando Norris||McLaren||1min 29.750sec|
|9||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||1min 29.932sec|
|10||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||1min 30.676sec|
|11||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||1min 30.160sec|
|12||George Russell||Mercedes||1min 30.173sec|
|13||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||1min 30.214sec|
|14||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||1min 30.310sec|
|15||Mick Schumacher||Haas||1min 30.423sec|
|16||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||1min 30.975sec|
|17||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo||1min 31.020sec|
|18||Alex Albon||Williams||1min 31.266sec|
|19||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||1min 31.325sec|
|20||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||No time set|