Verstappen takes Miami victory from Leclerc

Max Verstappen was victorious at the Miami Grand Prix by passing Charles Leclerc and then resisting the pressure from the Ferrari driver.

Carlos Sainz finished in third position ahead of Sergio Perez, with George Russell coming home in fifth ahead of Lewis Hamilton after gaining so much ground with the safety car timing and then beating his Mercedes teammate in battle afterwards.

At the start, Leclerc led away from pole position in P1, while alongside his teammate Sainz could not make a similarly quick getaway from away from the racing line on the right-hand side of the track.

That meant Verstappen was able to quickly get alongside the second Ferrari and the defending champion went wheel-to-wheel with Sainz through the first corner before passing with a forceful move in to the second corner sweep through which they were soon blasting.

Leclerc had a 0.8 seconds lead at the end of the first lap of 57 and quickly moved to pull clear of Verstappen’s DRS range by the time it was activated on the third lap.

For the opening phase of the race, Leclerc would gain three-four tenths each time through the first sector before Verstappen’s superior top speed brought him back towards the Ferrari along the long straights in the second two thirds of the circuit.

Leclerc’s lead reached a maximum of 1.4 seconds at the start of lap six, just as he had set a then fastest lap in the high one minute, 33 seconds, but soon after this a dark band of rubber appeared on his right front tyre.

Verstappen, informed his rival was struggling to preserve the mediums tyres all the leaders had started on, then began to edge back towards the Ferrari.

At the end of lap eight, Leclerc slid exiting the Turn 17 hairpin and Verstappen arrived right on his gearbox, moving alongside as they ran down the pit straight and then taking the lead with a simple pass into Turn 1, Leclerc opting not to fight too hard.

On the next lap, Leclerc pushed hard to keep up through the first sector that favour’s Ferrari’s higher downforce package, but was dropped as Verstappen ran down every subsequent straight and was out of DRS threat after two laps.

The Red Bull was steadily able to build a lead, aided by Leclerc locking up and sliding deep at Turn 17 on lap 12, which cost him a second and meant at the end of that tour Verstappen’s lead had reached 2.6 seconds.

That was 4.2 seconds by lap 21 – Leclerc being told Ferrari was moving to its “Plan D” strategy, while Red Bull informed Verstappen his right front tyre management was making the key difference.

Behind the leaders, Sainz had soon fallen back, with Perez initially following him closely before losing over five seconds as his engine developed an issue that Red Bull had to issue a steering wheel setting fix to correct.

Leclerc was able to set competitive times at this stage, but could not do so consistently and with Verstappen able to cover him off each time anyway, so Ferrari called him in to switch to the hards at the end of lap 24, just after he had reported his car was “so difficult to drive”.

Red Bull left Verstappen out for two more laps before he was switched on the hards, gaining another 0.8 seconds with a quicker service from his mechanics compared to those working on Leclerc’s car earlier.

Verstappen led by 7.5 seconds at the start of the second stint, which Leclerc initially cut with a series of fastest laps into the high one minute, 32 seconds, before the lead responded with an even quicker best time and restore and then maintain his advantage.

Much like at the start of the race, Leclerc regularly gained several tenths through the twisty first sector before Verstappen took back time later in the lap – the pair trading fastest laps but the gap between then staying stable.

Heading into the final third, Verstappen led by 7.8 seconds, with Red Bull seemingly only concerned about a threat of rain, as clouds built up above the Miami Gardens track.

But a serene had no chance to play out after the safety car was called out on lap 41 after Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris collided, putting the McLaren driver out just past the start of the long, meandering acceleration zone that follows the fake marina at Turn 8.

Gasly was touring slowly having just had an earlier collision with Fernando Alonso at Turn 1 as they fought in the lower reaches of the top 10 and when the AlphaTauri ran wide through Turn 8 Norris moved to overtake on its right-hand side.

But Gasly appeared to drift left, unaware Norris was coming by, reporting his “car doesn’t turn” with a problem, and the contact spun Norris around and knocked off his right-rear, after which the race was neutralised for five laps, during which Perez pitted from fourth to go back to the hards.

At the restart, Verstappen easily pulled clear of Leclerc, while Perez pressured Sainz heavily onto the pit straight but was rebuffed on the outside line into Turn 1.

There followed a thrilling 11-lap sprint to the finish, with Leclerc able to stay within DRS threat for much of the remaining action and putting Verstappen under severe pressure.

Leclerc came closest to making a pass with a look to the inside of Turn 11 at the end of the long, curving run from the ‘marina’, but was pinched on the inside line and lost ground – never getting alongside the leader.

He closed in again, but clattering the kerbs hard at the chicane on lap 52 meant he dropped from 0.5 seconds behind to 0.8 seconds and as Verstappen’s superior top speed then came into play on the next straight the writing was on the wall for the Ferrari driver.

On the next lap, Leclerc fell out of DRS range on the back straight and never recovered it – Verstappen easing clear to win by 3.7 seconds.

Sainz took the final podium spot despite his tyres being much older than those on the following Perez, who had closed in again after his restart attack did not pay off.

On lap 52, Perez, still down on power after his earlier issue, made a late lunge at the first corner, but when Sainz swept right and the pair nearly touched the Red Bull driver locked up and went deep, allowing the Ferrari back into third, which he did not lose from there.

George Russell finished fifth after gaining massively under the safety car – the Mercedes driver having started in P12 on the hards and running a very long first stint in the hope of a race interruption.

He got his wish and so was able to take the mediums while the rest where travelling slowly and restarted behind Lewis Hamilton, who had recovered from a slow first lap where he climbed over the Turn 1 kerbs and was then tapped by Alonso at the next turn, cost him momentum.

Hamilton recovered to run sixth behind Valtteri Bottas at the restart, with the Finn then gifting the Mercedes pair a place when he glanced the wall exiting Turn 17 – after which Russell came out on top of a wheel-to-wheel fight with his illustrious teammate going through the Turns 11-12 sequence.

He had to repass Hamilton at the same spot with DRS when the seven-time champion had nipped back ahead late on, but Russell held on from there to finish fifth.

Bottas was seventh ahead of Esteban Ocon, who benefitted from a late Turn 1 shunt between Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher.

The pair had both been running in the points when Ocon attacked Schumacher at Turn 17 on lap 53, with Vettel passing both in one move but giving DRS to Schumacher as they ran onto the pit straight.

There was contact between the Aston Martin and the Haas at Turn 1, which spun Vettel around broke Schumacher’s front wing, the former later retiring in the pits with damage and the latter coming home P15 having missed the chance to score his first Formula 1 career points.

Alonso, who was given a five-second time addition for his clash with Gasly, took ninth, with Alex Albon completing the top ten for Williams.

Zhou Guanyu was the other retirement, ordered to stop in the pits during the early laps.

Congratulations to Max Verstappen and Red Bull in winning this Miami Grand Prix. The event was overhyped by Formula 1 standards as this is a new race in terms of location and excitement but the actual racing was simply lacking. Only the late safety car made it entertaining. Still, important championship points scored.

Miami Grand Prix race results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:34:24.258
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 3.786
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 8.229
4 Sergio Perez Red Bull 10.638
5 George Russell Mercedes 18.582
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 21.368
7 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 25.073
8 Esteban Ocon Alpine 28.386
9 Fernando Alonso Alpine 32.128
10 Alex Albon Williams 32.365
11 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 35.902
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 37.026
13 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 40.146
14 Nicholas Latifi Williams 49.936
15 Mick Schumacher Haas 73.305s
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas DNF
17 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin DNF
– Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri DNF
– Lando Norris McLaren DNF
– Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo DNF

3 thoughts to “Verstappen takes Miami victory from Leclerc”

  1. Miami Grand Prix race review as reported by

    Max Verstappen won the first ever Miami Grand Prix, having pried the lead off Ferrari’s pole-sitter Charles Leclerc early in the race, and defended it in an enthralling late-race battle.

    Red Bull’s reigning champion took P2 off Carlos Sainz into Turn 1 at the start, and soon began to close in on Leclerc. The Ferrari driver lost the lead to his rival on the main straight at the start of Lap 9 of 57 and pitted from mediums to hards on Lap 24, causing Verstappen to react with his stop two laps later. It seemed that Verstappen would cruise to victory in front of Miami Gardens’ marina…

    That was until the Lap 41 caution, a VSC-turned-Safety Car triggered by a clash between Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris, which sent the McLaren driver into a spin as his right-rear tyre ripped off. Perez took the opportunity to pit for new mediums from P4, emerging there, with hard-shod Verstappen, Leclerc and Sainz ahead.

    The Lap 47 restart saw Verstappen lead away but struggle to build up a gap to Leclerc. It was equally difficult for Sainz, who was being hounded by medium-shod Sergio Perez for the final podium place.

    Perez attempted to pass Sainz on Lap 52 but locked up, both drivers avoiding contact, while Leclerc was under half a second behind Verstappen in the chase for the lead. But neither Perez nor Leclerc could make headway, and the win – narrow as it was over the Ferraris – would be Verstappen’s.

    Rounding out the top five was George Russell, who started 11th and pitted during the VSC, using the benefit of newer tyres to pass team mate Lewis Hamilton on Lap 54. Hamilton lamented the fact that he couldn’t pit during the VSC but was promoted to P6 when Valtteri Bottas went wide at Turn 17 on Lap 49.

    The Alfa Romeo driver seemed destined for P5 having started there, but his late mistake left him seventh. The Alpines were next, Esteban Ocon finishing eighth from Fernando Alonso in ninth – the latter having been penalised by five seconds for contact with Gasly.

    Alex Albon completed the top 10 despite having run as low as last, the Williams driver beating Daniel Ricciardo to the final point.

    Kevin Magnussen retired late on after contact with Lance Stroll (P12 having started in the pits), as did Sebastian Vettel – who started in the pits and was tapped out of the race by Mick Schumacher (P15).

    Gasly did not finish the race after his contact with Norris (DNF), while Zhou Guanyu was the first retiree, having been pulled into the pits on Lap 7.

    Despite starting on the front row, Ferrari couldn’t convert their advantage to a Miami Grand Prix win – while Max Verstappen has now made it two wins in a row.

    Swaying palm trees, A-list celebrities, the biggest Marina this side of Dade County – the Miami Grand Prix weekend was always destined to be a showstopper. Now it was just time for lights out in the Sunshine State.

    Ferrari painted the front row red thanks to pole-sitter Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, with row two belonging to the Red Bulls – Max Verstappen ahead of Sergio Perez – while Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas would share row three with former Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton.

    Aston Martin encountered pre-race fuel temperature trouble, both Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel starting from the pit lane to avoid a penalty from the FIA – while Esteban Ocon would begin from the back for Alpine having crashed in FP2.

    Bushels of ominous clouds looming, concrete walls closing in, 18 drivers lined up on the grid. Amid the stifling heat, four drivers (Stroll, Vettel, George Russell and Ocon) began on hard compounds, while the other 16 started on mediums.

    At the start, Leclerc had a terrific launch while Sainz lost out to Verstappen going into Turn 1, Hamilton falling to eighth after a Turn 1 lock-up and Fernando Alonso jumping from 11th to seventh – making slight contact with Hamilton in the process.

    While Leclerc held station in the lead, Verstappen was just over a second behind, with Hamilton – now complaining of damage after the Lap 1 tap from Alonso – breezing past the Alpine driver for P7 on the run up to Turn 11 on Lap 3. On Lap 6, he took P6 off Gasly and the seven-time champion was back where he began.

    Lap 8 saw Verstappen get well into DRS range, right on the tail of Leclerc, and the Dutchman made the pass for the lead on the main straight at the start of Lap 9. Leclerc prepared his rebuttal, tailing the Red Bull throughout the next lap – but the reigning champion was now in a commanding position.

    Ferrari began to struggle. Lap 13 saw Leclerc suffer a lock-up at Turn 17, his deficit now at 2.5s to Verstappen, while Perez was closing in on Sainz for P3.

    Mercedes, meanwhile, were on a march, with Hamilton opening up a gap to Pierre Gasly behind (the Frenchman holding off Alonso for P7) while Russell’s hard tyres came into play and he passed Ricciardo on Lap 14. In an attempt to undercut Gasly, Alonso pitted one lap later but his stop lasted over five seconds, and he emerged 13th.

    Lando Norris chose to pit soon after, David Beckham watching the 3.6-second stop unfold, with the McLaren driver emerging 12th but falling to both Aston Martins on Lap 19. Two laps later, he went wide in Sector 3 to bring out a short yellow flag. Towards the front, Russell was now up to seventh, behind Hamilton.

    Back in the fight for the podium places, Perez was on the radio to relay that his “engine had gone”, his pit wall attempting to reassure the Mexican as he complained of a loss of power on the lengthy straights. A sensor issue was to blame and Perez was back – but had lost considerable time (and some engine power to boot) to Sainz ahead.

    Hamilton was brought in to the pits on Lap 23, emerging seventh with a smooth stop – just ahead of McLaren’s yet-to-pit Ricciardo – and giving the rest of the top 10 something to respond to.

    Leclerc was next to pit, a swap to hards taking 3.2 seconds, as he emerged in P4 on Lap 25. That caused Verstappen to react at the end of the next lap and emerge second ahead of team mate Perez, leaving Sainz in the lead until the Spaniard stopped for hard compounds – along with Perez – at the start of Lap 27.

    Sainz’s stop however lasted 5.4 seconds, Perez making ground with a 3.1-second stop, to re-ignite the fight for P3.

    Then, on Lap 41, Gasly – who had previously been tapped at the final corner by Alonso – went wide at Turn 8, rejoined, and clashed with Norris, ripping the McLaren’s rear-right tyre off and sending him into a spin. A Virtual Safety Car was called, soon morphing into a Safety Car.

    Russell took that moment to pit for the first time, dropping from fifth to seventh, with Perez swapping a second time along with a number of others hoping to snatch positions. Hamilton was asked if he wanted to follow suit – but decided to stay out and try to protect his P6 position.

    The Lap 47 restart would therefore see Verstappen lead Leclerc and Sainz (the top three on hards). Then we had medium-tyred Perez, Bottas, then Hamilton and Russell in the top seven. Alonso – now holding a five-second penalty for contact with Gasly – led Schumacher and Ocon at the back of the top 10.

    Up and down the grid, the chase was back on.

    Perez was right on Sainz’s tail, the Spaniard having run wide on Lap 48, giving the Mexican a run for the final podium place. However, the Red Bull driver made his move on Lap 52, locked up, and caused Sainz to dodge in avoidance. Sainz swept past for P3 and completed the podium.

    Meanwhile, right at the front, Leclerc had closed the gap to within half a second but Verstappen held firm – going on to take his second consecutive victory of the season by an eventual 3.786s.

    Russell and Hamilton had their own duel on the restart. Medium tyres helped Russell close in on Hamilton on Lap 49, and, with Bottas going wide at Turn 17, both Mercedes swept past. Russell passed Hamilton at Turn 11 but was forced to give the position back having gone off track. He retook P5 a few laps later, leaving Hamilton to lament another unfortunate tyre call on the radio.

    Bottas’s late mistake put him seventh, ahead of the soft-tyred Ocon. The Frenchman started at the back but had made up 12 places by Lap 37, classified in P8 and ahead of Alonso, as the Spanish driver was given a five-second penalty for making contact with Gasly earlier on.

    Alonso therefore finished ninth, with Alex Albon rounding out the top 10. The Thai driver ran as low as last but made it back up to 12th on hard tyres, and took the final point on the Safety Car restart.

    Ricciardo pitted for hards on Lap 30 and again for softs for the late Safety Car restart, but couldn’t make it count, finishing 11th ahead of Stroll – the pit lane starter having been demoted to P13 thanks to a late collision with Magnussen.

    AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda fell out of the top 10 past the halfway point and finished 13th, having also ended the race on softs – a gamble that didn’t pay off for him. That left Williams driver Latifi in P14.

    Despite battling with Tsunoda early on to get into the top 10 and then again with team mate Magnussen, Schumacher was classified P15 thanks to late contact with a baffled Vettel, whose race started and ended in the pits.

    Gasly didn’t finish the race after contact with Norris, and Zhou Guanyu was the first of the five drivers not to see the flag, as Alfa Romeo pulled him into the pits with a mechanical issue on Lap 7.

    The podium saw the top three celebrate in front of Miami Dolphins legend Dan Marino – and his statue. On this given Sunday, it was Verstappen who ran the whole nine yards in pursuit of his second consecutive victory, and the first Miami Grand Prix win in history.

  2. Carlos Sainz was hindered by neck pain during Miami Grand Prix after Friday practice crash. Despite that, the Ferrari driver was able to finish the race on the podium with P3. has the news story.

    Ferrari Formula 1 driver Carlos Sainz revealed he was still hindered by neck pain during the Miami Grand Prix following his heavy crash in Friday practice.

    Sainz suffered a nasty shunt in Friday’s second free practice session, crashing into the unprotected concrete wall on the outside of Turn 14.

    The Spaniard managed to rebuild his confidence on Saturday and qualified second behind teammate Charles Leclerc.

    From there he was forced to let Red Bull’s eventual race winner Max Verstappen by at the start, but he then held off the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez, despite the Mexican enjoying at tyre advantage at the end of the race.

    Sainz crossed the line in third some eight seconds behind Verstappen to take the final podium spot.

    Speaking immediately after the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, Sainz revealed he was still feeling the consequences of Friday’s heavy hit, admitting he was struggling with neck pain during Sunday’s sweltering race.

    “I’ve been better. Obviously, after the crash from Friday I still had a bit of a neck pain going into the race, but I had to manage it and I fought through it.

    “Especially with Checo on the end on the medium tyre, it was very difficult to keep him behind, but we managed to keep the podium, which is a decent result.”

    Even at the best of times Sunday’s much anticipated event became an extremely physical challenge for the drivers due to the bumpy nature of the racetrack, and South Florida’s heat and humidity.

    Sainz, who is still looking for his first win, so far struggled to get on top of the Ferrari F1-75 and match teammate Leclerc, but at least ended a run of two consecutive DNFs with a third podium of his 2022 season.

    “It wasn’t easy at all,” he acknowledged. “It’s been a tough race with the tyres, with the heat. The car was moving and sliding a lot.

    “But in the end, we got what we deserved I think, which is a decent P3, and we can build it up from here. I want more but it’s not bad.”

  3. Championship leader Charles Leclerc hopes upgrades can help Ferrari make step in Spanish Grand Prix. has the full details.

    Charles Leclerc hopes upgrades can help Ferrari make a step up at the next Formula 1 race in Spain following defeat to Max Verstappen in the Miami Grand Prix.

    The world championship leader was outpaced by his Red Bull rival, after losing the lead in the first stint and then being unable to reclaim the front spot after a late attempt following a safety car period.

    With Verstappen having taken his second successive F1 victory, following his success in Imola, and had the edge in speed terms again, Leclerc is clear that the time has come for Ferrari to make some progress.

    The Italian outfit has so far held back on bringing any major upgrades to its car, but the team has talked about having imminent developments to help its cause.

    Speaking after the Miami race, Leclerc said: “We need to we need to keep pushing.

    “Upgrades will be very important throughout the year. And I hope now that we can do a step up from the next race onwards.

    “But it’s been tight since the beginning of the season.”

    Leclerc said his hopes of going for the win were pretty much dashed in the first stint when he was not as quick on the medium tyres as Verstappen.

    And although the Ferrari F1-75 was better suited to the hards that were used for the second stint, his pace was still not strong enough to allow him to regain the front spot.

    “We struggled quite a bit with the medium tyres, especially in the first stint and got overtaken there,” he said.

    “Then it made our race a bit more difficult from that moment onwards. On the hard we were very competitive and towards the end, I thought I could get Max at one point.

    “Today they had the advantage in terms of pace. But it was fun. And it’s amazing to see so many people again, I kept saying it but yeah, it’s great to have so many Ferrari fans in the grandstands.”

    Verstappen’s victory has allowed him to close the deficit to Leclerc in the championship table to 19 points.

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