The F1 Grand Prix of Miami was won in a masterful way by Max Verstappen on Sunday. The Red Bull driver and current F1 world champion was unbeatable for Charles Leclerc. The Ferrari driver had to chase the Dutchman for almost the entire race
Carlos Sainz closed the race in P3 ahead of Sergio Perez while George Russell crossed the finish line in P5. Verstappen took an extra point into the battle for the F1 World Championship by setting the fastest race lap in 1:31.361
The lights went out and the battle for the first corner combination began. Charles Leclerc got away well from pole position while Sainz immediately lost one position to the Dutchman. Sergio Perez followed his teammate’s lead and tried to put pressure on the Spaniard.
Valtteri Bottas followed the favorites in P5 with Pierre Gasly in tow. The worst start of the top 10 drivers was for Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton who lost two spots on the start and fell back to P8 behind Fernando Alonso’s Alpine.
After 3 laps, Lecler had a 1.2 second lead over Verstappen. Behind the two rivals, their teammates followed an equal distance. Bottas was slightly behind and slowly saw his former teammate Hamilton creep forward. The Briton was back at his original starting position, P6, after 6 laps. One lap later, Alfa Romeo driver Guanzy Zhou was told to go to the garage and get out due to problems with his car. This made the Chinese the first dropout.
In Round 9, Max Verstappen was on his hunt for Leclerc. The Dutchman had come closer to the Ferrari of the Monegask in the previous laps and was able to take over the lead of the race from his rival. One lap later, the gap between the ruffs was 1.4 seconds. Sainz followed 4 seconds behind.
A little further back in the field on lap 12 Yuki Tsunoda came in for his regular tire stop. The Alpha Tauri rider dropped back to P19 and was able to start his catch-up race. Kevin Magnussen also opted to have new tires fitted and returned to the race for the Japanese. Leclerc made a small mistake at the head of the field, which increased Verstappen’s lead slightly.
Fernando ALonso had a bad pit stop. The Alpine driver lost a lot of time on lap 16 and dropped to P13 behind his teammate Esteban Ocon. Sebastian Vettel battled for p14 against Nicholas Latifi and won against the Canadian. Magnussen followed the German’s example and moved up a position. On lap 19 Lando Norris made a pit stop and the Briton rejoined the track in P16 due to a brake error.
At Red Bull, dark clouds seemed to be gathering as Perez radioed that he was losing speed. The Mexican lost a few seconds to the Spaniard ahead of him. His teammate Verstappen again drove the fastest lap of the moment in 1:33.193. At that point, Lewis Hamilton made his pit stop from P6 on lap 23 of the RCE. The Briton handed over his position to George Russell who moved up behind his teammate. Behind the pair was now Daniel Ricciardo.
A lap later action at Ferrari when Leclerc came in for a new set of tires De Megask switched to the hard tire and dropped back behind Perez. For MAx Verstappen it was time for new hard tires on lap 26. The Dutchman had a solid pit stop and came back on pP2 behind Sainz. Perez followed in P3 ahead of Leclerc while George Russell closed the top 5. Ferrari and Red Bull called in Sainz and Perez for new tires which put Verstappen back in the lead followed by Leclerc. Sainz closed the top 3 for Perez.
Verstappen improved the fastest lap time on lap 30 to 1:32.779. Leclerc followed at a deficit of 7.3 seconds. On lap 35, Mick Schumacher got closer to Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin after overtaking Kevin Magnussen. While behind it Sebastian Vettel made a mistake and lost a position in favor of Lando Norris. Was told the Dark One that some rain was expected.
The last 20 laps came as Verstappen and Leclerc traded for the fastest lap of the race. This was now back in the hands of the Dutchman who sharpened it to 1:32.325. One lap later, Pierre Gasly and Fernando Alonso had a touché. The Frenchman slammed the door for the Spaniard in his Alpha Tauri while entering a corner. Both drivers were able to continue without any problems.
On lap 41 it was time fot he the inevitable, Pierre Gasly fell back and hit Lando Norris. Under a large cloud of smoke, the McLaren came to a stop with damage from Gasly’s error. Norris was unharmed. The race management called in the virtual safety car, making it busy in the pit lane with almost all drivers changing tires. The VSC was converted to a Safety Car.
Due to the safety car measure, Verstappen lost his lead over Leclerc while the rivals chose not to change tires. It took until lap 47 for the race to resume. Max Verstappen resumed the race with 10 laps to go with Charles Leclerc holding the fastest lap at the time. The Dutchman got away well and was followed by Leclerc. Sainz behind it came under pressure from Perez but the Spaniard held out. On P5 Bottas was close behind the Mexican’s RB18.
As the battle for P3 started, Verstappen had to make sure he could draw a bigger gap compared to Leclerc due to the DRS distance that came into play. Behind the foursome at the front of the field, Bottas lost his P5 to Lewis Hamilton who in turn passed Russell. The Finn hit the wall lightly and was unable to hold.
The closing phase of the race came with 6 laps to go when Perez made a move on Sainz as the Spaniard got away well and held on to P3. Before that, Leclerc was still in DRS away from Verstappen. The Ferrari driver was 0.900 seconds behind the Limburger. In the 55th lap, Schumacher Vettel touched each other and the two cars continued but the damage was done. However, the German had to return to the pits with damage to the nose wing, Vettel also made a pit stop, but he dropped out of the race. De Haas driver dropped to P16.
The race was won by Max Verstappen who also set the fastest lap in 1:31.361 at the expense of Charles Leclerc. Carlos Sainz took valuable points in P3 ahead of Sergio Perez. George Russell finished the race in P5.
Results F1 Grand Prix van Miami 2022