Automotive

Max Verstappen Unstoppable at F1’s Miami Grand Prix


Image for article titled Max Verstappen Unstoppable at F1's Miami Grand Prix

Photo: Mark Thompson (Getty Images)

From a scrapped circuit over the Port Miami Bridge to a fake marina in a stadium parking lot, the FIA Formula One World Championship has finally raced in Miami. On Saturday, qualifying concluded with Scuderia Ferrari securing its first front row lock-out since the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix with Charles Leclerc on pole. The Red Bulls lined up on the second row, and Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas qualified fifth.


Image for article titled Max Verstappen Unstoppable at F1's Miami Grand Prix

Photo: Mark Thompson (Getty Images)

At the start of the 57-lap race, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was able to get around Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz through the first corner for second place. It seemed like Leclerc would hold a fast enough pace to keep Verstappen behind him. Though, the Ferrari driver damaged his right front tire and hampered his lap times. At the start of Lap 9, Verstappen blew past Leclerc on the approach to the first corner.

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Pit strategy ended up being straightforward. Most of the field started on the medium compound tires and pitted once for a set of hard compound tires. Ferrari pitted Charles Leclerc on Lap 25, and Red Bull responded by bringing in Verstappen two laps later. The only real outlier was Mercedes’ George Russell, who started the race on hards and went the furthest of any points-scorer.

Russell finally pitted on Lap 41 under Virtual Safety Car conditions. Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly and McLaren’s Lando Norris made contact as Gasly rejoined the track after running wide. Norris’ rear right wheel was severely damaged with the tire ripped off the rim. Race control eventually deployed the actual safety car to recover the McLaren and clear debris.

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The sprint to the finish featured fights throughout the field. Russell, on fresh tires, had to fight his teammate Lewis Hamilton for sixth place. It became a fight for fifth after Bottas ran wide on a corner exit and brushed a wall. For the minor points, Williams’ Alexander Albon finished tenth after Haas’ Mick Schumacher and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel collided in Turn 1 on Lap 54.

Max Verstappen would get to the finish line after the restart to win the inaugural Miami Grand Prix without a serious challenge from Leclerc.

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Race Results – Top 10

  1. Max Verstappen
  2. Charles Leclerc
  3. Carlos Sainz
  4. Sergio Pérez
  5. George Russell
  6. Lewis Hamilton
  7. Valtteri Bottas
  8. Esteban Ocon
  9. Fernando Alonso
  10. Alexander Albon

Charles Leclerc leads the World Drivers’ Championship over Max Verstappen by 19 points. Formula One will return in two weeks for the Spanish Grand Prix.

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