The inaugural Miami GP has taken place and while it may not have been the most exciting affair. It did make some talking points coming out of the race. With Red Bull once again picking up top form and another win over championship rivals Ferrari, and with the most straight-line speed, it all worked in the favour of Red Bull to pick up the win.
From the start, it was critical for Max Verstappen to get a good start and he did exactly that jumping Carlos Sainz and taking second place, enabling him to go after Charles Leclerc for the lead.
Fernando Alonso also had a great start jumping up to seventh. Overtaking Lewis Hamilton in the process who dropped down to eighth. Daniel Ricciardo made a good start getting himself into eleventh. Mick Schumacher, Kevin Magnussen, Zhou Guanyu and Esteban Ocon all made up three places on the start. Alex Albon also had a decent start getting his Williams up into sixteenth.
Hamilton got himself back past Alonso on lap three, up to seventh from there. By lap six Schumacher and Magnussen were up to tenth and eleventh.
Zhou by lap seven was forced to retire from the race via a technical issue, which was revealed to be a water leak. Disappointing for Zhou who was doing well up until that point.
During the first part of the race Verstappen was on the back of Leclerc but just did not have enough. That was until lap nine where he took the lead of the race with a move into turn 1.
Ricciardo who dropped a couple of places after having a good start got himself back up to twelfth on lap eleven. The following lap Yuki Tsunoda pitted for a set of hard tyres, and come the end of lap twelve, Leclerc cost himself time in his bid to fight back to Verstappen by locking up and losing a couple of seconds.
With George Russell starting further down the grid it was an opportunity to come back through the field, and that is what he did. By lap fourteen he was up to eleventh place. Schumacher came into pit for hard tyres.
Lap sixteen Alonso came in and pitted, slow stop caused him to just come out ahead of the cars behind. The same lap seen Sebastian Vettel make a great move on Nicholas Latifi. Following lap Albon pits.
Sergio Perez was showing the pace he had in the Red Bull, and it was bringing him closer to Sainz in third. End of lap nineteen Lando Norris pitted for hard tyres, as he came out, he was interjected into the ongoing battle between Stroll, Vettel, Magnussen, and Schumacher in which he lost all four places. This being the result of the slow stop he received.
A lot of pitstops happened in the next few laps with Hamilton pitting on lap twenty-three, Leclerc on lap twenty-five, Verstappen the next lap, Valtteri Bottas the lap after who came out just behind Russell, and lap twenty-eight with Sainz and Perez pitting.
Throughout the race, Aston Martin and Haas were battling it out, this continued on lap thirty-one where Vettel took thirteenth from Magnussen, only to lose out on two places to both Haas drivers on the next lap. Four laps later Norris got past Vettel as well, after a lock up from the German. This gave Norris fourteenth.
With Alonso and Gasly fighting it out for ninth, Alonso dived into turn 1 a little too hot, then collided with Gasly. Both drivers continued on, but it did result later in Alonso getting a five second time penalty. This cost Gasly another place, this time to Stroll.
Two laps later, with Gasly having damage to contend with, going through the first sector struggling. Norris came up behind him, a collision between Norris and Gasly as Norris was trying to breeze past but got caught on Gasly’s front left wheel. This meant an end to Norris’s race. Which also caused a virtual safety car to be enabled, which then turned into a full safety car.
With the safety car out, it presented an opportunity to pit for some drivers. Ocon, Russell, Gasly, Vettel, Ricciardo and Perez all pitted under the safety car.
The restart came at the end of lap forty-six. With Perez having fresh tyres he immediately was on the back of Sainz, he just was not able to get past the Spaniard here. Ricciardo gains a place on Magnussen for thirteenth. Russell now with new tyres was close to getting past his team-mate.
The end of lap forty-nine had Bottas going wide out of the ending hairpin which lost him two places to both Mercedes. By the next lap, Russell had overtaken Hamilton. The same lap saw Leclerc get as close to Verstappen as he had been since he lost the lead but did not have enough to get the lead back.
On lap fifty-two it seemed as though Perez would finally get third from Sainz but was not to be as Perez locked up into turn 1, therefore allowing Sainz to take back third.
Two laps later a collision would happen between Schumacher and Vettel, who had been at it all race long. Originally, Vettel had gained two places on Schumacher and Ocon. Going into turn 1, Schumacher crashed into Vettel, effectively sending them both out of any chance of points and all the way down to last.
This chaos allowed Albon to take advantage and gain tenth, giving Williams a chance at getting another point.
End of the race saw Verstappen take the win after a great drive, Leclerc came in second and Sainz was able to hold off Perez to finish third, meaning Perez had to settle for fourth, missing out on the podium. Russell finished fifth, ahead of his team-mate Hamilton in sixth. Bottas, Ocon, Alonso and Albon rounded out the top ten. However, due to another penalty Alonso received after the race, Albon was promoted to ninth, and Stroll getting tenth and a point for Aston Martin.
With the Alonso penalties, he was classified eleventh, Tsunoda twelfth, Ricciardo thirteenth, Latifi fourteenth and Schumacher fifteenth. With the rest of drivers being classified as not finishing.
While Leclerc still holds the lead of the championship, it has been reduced now to 19 points with Verstappen’s win in Miami. Perez being another 19 points behind Verstappen.
With Red Bull getting these wins it is also shrinking Ferrari’s lead at the top of the constructor’s championship, with the gap only being 6 points now. Mercedes are now 62 points off the top, and while they could still make a comeback, winning races will be crucial if that were to happen. McLaren keep fourth while Alfa Romeo get up to fifth with a 5 point gap to Alpine in sixth. Alpha Tauri and Haas are only 1 point apart in seventh and eighth, with Alpha Tauri on top. Then Aston Martin and Williams take the bottom two spots with Aston Martin on 6 and Williams on 3.
Going back to Europe for the next couple of races with the Spanish GP and Monaco GP. Can Ferrari bounce back with a couple of wins or will Red Bull show their pace again and keep on winning? Will Sainz be able to pick up his maiden win when we get to his home race? Whatever the case, it should be an interesting next leg in the championship.
F1 Miami GP Race Results
1 - Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
2 - Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
3 - Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
4 - Sergio Perez (Red Bull)
5 - George Russell (Mercedes) 6 - Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
7 - Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)
8 - Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
9 - Alexander Albon (Williams)
10 - Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
11 - Fernando Alonso (Alpine)
12 - Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri)
13 - Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)
14 - Nicholas Latifi (Williams)
15 - Mick Schumacher (Haas) DNF - Kevin Magnussen (Haas) DNF - Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)
NC - Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri)
NC - Lando Norris (McLaren)
NC - Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo)