Red Bulls’ Max Verstappen won in a tight race against title rival Charles Leclerc at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix.
The Dutch racer was coasting to an easy win early on in the race after passing Leclerc but with the 10 laps to go, a safety car was issued which bought the cars together for an exciting finish to the race.
Leclerc tried his best for 5 laps to get past the leader but Verstappen managed to keep him at bay. He has now managed to cut the championship lead between the two rival drivers to 19 points.
The finish to the race was highly dramatic which was a surprise as it looked like Verstappen would go ahead a comfortably win the Miami Grand Prix after climbing the grid from third.
The world champion managed to pass Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz at Turn One and he quickly chased down Leclerc in Turn Two before he was able to take the lead in the ninth lap.
From there, he was able to stretch his lead via pit stops and he looked to coasting to a victory with an 8-second lead before a safety car had to be brought onto the track as Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly and McLaren’s Lando Norris crashed.
This allowed Leclerc the opportunity to reclaim the lead which he tried hard to do for 5 laps but he was always too far away to overtake the leader.
After those 5 intense laps, Verstappen used his superior pace to improve his lead to 1-second as he prevented Leclerc from taking advantage of the 1-second advantage provided by the DRS overtaking aid, and the Dutchman went on to finish strong.
This was Verstappen’s second consecutive win and it has continued his run of either winning or retiring in this year’s Grand Prix. Despite a series of reliability problems preventing him from fighting for pole position on Friday, he was able to bounce back a claim an impressive victory.
The front drivers were in a race of their own as they left a significant gap between them and the rest of the track. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz managed to achieve a third-place finish for the final podium position even though Red Bull’s Perez pitted to get fresh medium tyres during the safety car period to gain an advantage.
Rest of the Track
Mercedes George Russell managed to climb from his 12th place grid start to finish fifth in a great race where he finished ahead of his team-mate Lewis Hamilton. He used the hard tyre at the start and then changed to medium tyres for the extra grip which lead to him passing his teammate.
Lewis Hamilton felt like his team’s strategy during the race was not kind to him as he complained that it has been the second time in three races that he has not been able to finish in a higher position due to the timing of the safety car.
Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas was in front of the Mercedes drivers before the restart but he slid wide at the last corner and finished behind both Mercedes.
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon finished in 8th place in front of his team-mate Fernando Alonso, who was penalised 5 seconds for his collision with Gasly. William’s Alex Albon raced very well and finished in 10th to earn the final point of the Miami Grand Prix.
The crash that caused the safety car to come on the track was caused by Gasly and Norris as the Frenchman’s front left wheel hit Norris’s rear right one which spun the McLaren after Turn Eight on the track.
The next F1 race will be the Spanish Grand Prix which will be in two weeks.
Williams Racing Performance
Alex Albon finished ninth after a post-race time penalty for Fernando Alonso promoted him from a 10th place on the track. Teammate Nicholas Latifi placed 14th in the inaugural Miami Grand Prix. Both drivers ran a one-stop race.
What they said:
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance:
It was a race of attrition and patience today and Alex managed the opportunity very well and showed good pace throughout the race, which allowed him to undercut Ricciardo. The Safety Car was unfortunately timed for us, but Alex kept his cool and was still able to beat both Aston Martins, but frustratingly lost out to Ocon. Nonetheless, he drove well and deserved his second point-scoring finish of the season.
Nicholas had the more difficult strategy, starting on hard tyres and aiming to run long. The pace of that tyre at the start of the race was poor for all those that tried it and this set his strategy back. Once on the medium tyre his pace was good despite having to manage a higher than expected fuel consumption. He also managed the race well and finished a credible 14th place, ahead of both Haas cars.
Our inaugural trip to Miami has been a rollercoaster of a weekend, but we recovered well after a disappointing qualifying session to push the pack hard today and finish in the top 10.
Today we found the pace that I knew we had all weekend. We had a tough Qualifying yesterday which meant we were slightly out of position with a well-performing car, so overtaking was possible and we made good progress. We had a little bit of fortune with some of the cars ahead of us getting caught up in incidents, but the important thing is that we were in a position to make the most of those opportunities when they came. The team did a great job today, especially with the strategy, and so leaving Miami with more points is really special.
It was a very difficult afternoon out there. On the one hand it is very positive for the team to score the point with Alex, especially after where we started from today, but on our side we had too many issues. It was difficult and we were having to manage some issues early on which were holding us back, including struggling with the tyres and lacking pace and we need to investigate those.
Miami Grand Prix Results
|Track: Miami International Autodrome, USA||Weather: Hot & dry conditions|
|Lap Length: 5.412 km||Temperature: Air: 28-30 °C Track: 38-48°C|
|Pos||Driver||Team||Time/Gap (Fastest Lap)||Grid||Tyre Changes|
|1.||M. Verstappen||Oracle Red Bull Racing||1:34:24.258 (1:31.361)||3||1 (26)|
|2.||C. Leclerc||Scuderia Ferrari||+3.786|
|3.||C. Sainz||Scuderia Ferrari||+8.229|
|9.||A. Albon||Williams Racing||+32.365|
|14.||N. Latifi||Williams Racing||+49.936|
2022 FIA Formula One World Championship Schedule
|1||20-Mar-22||Bahrain Grand Prix||Bahrain IC, Sakhir|
|2||27-Mar-22||Saudi Arabia Grand Prix||Jeddah Street Circuit, Jeddah|
|3||10-Apr-22||Australian Grand Prix||Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne|
|4||24-Apr-22||Emilia Romagna Grand Prix||Imola|
|5||08-May-22||Miami Grand Prix||Miami International Autodrome, Miami|
|6||22-May-22||Spanish Grand Prix||Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona|
|7||29-May-22||Monaco Grand Prix||Monte Carlo, Monaco|
|8||12-Jun-22||Azerbaijan Grand Prix||Baku City Circuit, Baku|
|9||19-Jun-22||Canadian Grand Prix||Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal|
|10||03-Jul-22||British Grand Prix||Silverstone|
|11||10-Jul-22||Austrian Grand Prix||Red Bull Ring, Spielberg|
|12||24-Jul-22||French Grand Prix||Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet|
|13||31-Jul-22||Hungarian Grand Prix||Hungaroring, Mogyorod|
|14||28-Aug-22||Belgian Grand Prix||Spa-Francorchamps, Francorchamps|
|15||04-Sep-22||Dutch Grand Prix||Zandvoort|
|16||11-Sep-22||Italian Grand Prix||Monza|
|17||02-Oct-22||Singapore Grand Prix||Marina Bay, Singapore|
|18||09-Oct-22||Japanese Grand Prix||Suzuka|
|19||23-Oct-22||United States Grand Prix||Circuit of the Americas, Austin|
|20||30-Oct-22||Mexican Grand Prix||Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City|
|21||13-Nov-22||Brazilian Grand Prix||Interlagos, Sao Paulo|
|22||20-Nov-22||Abu Dhabi Grand Prix||Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi|