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Miami GP Review: Max Wins but a late Safety Car saw a fight for P1, P3 and P10

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It’s what we’ve been waiting for, Race Day. This race had everything, including a safety car, but, we eventually saw Max Verstappen end up on top.

It’s Charles Leclerc on pole and he’s got his teammate Carlos Sainz for company. This race had incredible moments with some midfield tussles, an overtake for the lead, and, of course, a safety car.

The podium ended up being a Red Bull in P1 with a Ferrari 2-3. Verstappen took the victory with Leclerc and Sainz in P2 and P3 respectively.

Drama Before The Race

Miami has been a crazy weekend and the grid walk didn’t disappoint. Every celebrity and racing legend was found on the grid.

Aside from the grid walk, two cars were not found on the grid. Both Aston Martin’s were nowhere to be found as it was revealed that they would both be starting from the pitlane.

This pitlane start came from an unusual FIA rule about fuel temperature. Due to the Miami heat, Aston Martin decided to chill their fuel but needed to heat it back up in the pits. If the fuel was tested and found to be too cold Aston Martin would have received penalties so both cars will start from the pitlane to avoid such penalties.

This was a disappointing start for the team as Lance Stroll had a great qualifying and was due to start in P10.

Start of the Race

None of the grid started on the soft tyre and very few were on the hard compound. At the start of the race, many were speculating whether this race would be a ‘one-stopper’ or a ‘two-stopper’.

The First Lap

It was a great start from Charles Leclerc. It wasn’t a great start with Carlos Sainz as Max Verstappen was already wheel-to-wheel with him by the first corner.

It was a great start for Fernando Alonso, who gained 4 places. It was great for Daniel Ricciardo too, who gained 3 places. The Mercedes’ both struggled with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell both dropping two places.

Laps 2-11

Charles was already streaking away by the time we reached lap 2. By lap 3, Leclerc was already a second ahead of Max Verstappen.

On Lap 3, Hamilton managed to easily get past Alonso with the helping hand of DRS.

Russell showed the rest of the grid that the hard tyre was struggling in Miami as he lost many places which he struggled to regain.

Both Haas’s were doing well on opening laps with Mick Schumacher in the points and Keving Magnussen making it to P11, having started from P16.

Everything seemed to settle down by lap 6 and everyone tried to get into their rythm.

On Lap 7, Guanyu Zhou went into the pits and fell down the standings. Alfa Romeo had to retire the car and Zhou became the first retiree of the race.

By Lap 8, Max was within DRS range of Charles and Leclerc was reportedly struggling with his front left tyre.

Verstappen, with the power of DRS, easily passed Charles on the straight into Turn 1 and took the lead of the race. Leclerc barely defended as the Red Bull breezed past.

Leclerc got DRS on the back straight but couldn’t replicate Vertsappen’s phenomenal pass.

Ricciardo also pulled off a pass on Yuki Tsunoda, making up one of the places he lost.

Laps 12- 21

A teammate swap occurred on Lap 12 when Magnussen overtook Schumacher to take P10.

Verstappen was driving into the distance putting him around 1.5 seconds ahead of Leclerc.

Magnussen pit on Lap 13 and changed to a set of the hard compounds.

The battle for P7 heated up on Lap 14 as Alonso was saying he needs to get past Gasly. Also on Lap 14, Russell managed to get past Ricciardo.

Charles Leclerc began to lap at a similar pace to Verstappen, but due to an earlier lock-up Leclerc was 3.3 seconds behind Verstappen on Lap 16. Verstappen set the fastest lap on Lap 16 also with a

Lap 16 had all the drama as Alonso pitted, and came out in P13 just in front of Stroll. Predictably, Gasly pitted on lap 17 in an attempt to cover Alonso’s pit.

The battle for P3 started to heat up around Lap 18 and Perez (in P4) started to lap much quicker than Sainz (who was in P3).

Lando Norris pitted on Lap 19 and a 3.6 second stop led to him coming out ahead of Stroll but unfortunately Stroll, then Vettel, and then Magnussen overtook him.

Perez’s incredible pace started to dwindle away on Lap 20 with radio reports of a massive loss of power. This seemed to be solved by Lap 21 but was a hot topic to watch for the following laps. Throughout the race Perez was heard to have suffered a 20KW drop in power.

Max Verstappen set another fastest lap and became lonely at the front as he was now over 4 seconds ahead of Leclerc.

Laps 22- 31

After an interesting first 20 laps, Bottas had remained in P5 the whole time with an uneventful drive through those 20 laps.

Hamilton pitted on lap 23 and came out just ahead of Ricciardo.

Up in front, Charles Leclerc set the fastest lap (stealing it from Verstappen). However, just after, Leclerc reported that:

This car is so difficult to drive”- Leclerc on Lap 24

Leclerc then swiftly pitted and came out in P4, in front of Bottas. It was presumed that it was the tyres giving him issues.

Covering Leclerc, Verstappen was told to ‘Box Box” on Lap 26 once it was known was tyres Leclerc was on. Red Bull opted for the hard compounds and came out just ahead of Perez into P2.

Bottas also pitted meaning Russell went up into P5, after a pretty mundane start.

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Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez both pitted on lap 28. Carlos had an awful stop of 5.4 seconds and Perez was right behind him after a much quicker stop.

On Lap 29 Charles Leclerc set the fastest lap on his Hard tyre but remained over 7 seconds behind Max Verstappen.

Max Verstappen quickly stole it back, when his tyres started to get up to temperature.

During these laps, a team battle started to emerge with the two Aston Martins and two Haas’ fighting with each other. by the end of Lap 31 Stroll and Vettel ended up ahead of Magnussen and Schumacher with the Aston Martins sitting in P11 and P12 respectively.

Ricciardo finally pitted on Lap 31 coming out behind Norris and then falling behind Alex Albon.

Laps 32-43

After all his hard work on the previous lap, Vettel then fell behind both Haas on lap 32.

On lap 33, a few drivers still hadn’t pitted, Ocon being one of them, having made his way up from the back of the grid.

Seb ran wide on Lap 36 and Norris managed to take P14. Vettel’s engineers also radioed in on lap 36 with reports of potential rain.

There could be a littl bit of rain in about 8 minutes”

On lap 37, Russel and his engineers were talking about pitting. Russell responded with:

Why dont we wait and see if there is a safety car or a VSC”

Max Verstappen started to lap backmarkers during a very calm section of the race.

By Lap 39, Gasly and Alonso were having a tussle again. It ended up with Stroll taking advantage and getting in between the two and Gasly getting pushed down into P11. Stroll made it into the points but was yet to pit by this point.

Fernando Alonso and Pierre Gasly kept having their tussle with Alonso making contact with Gasly. This sent Gasly to a moment of ‘control loss’.

On lap 41, Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly made contact. Russell made the right call earlier saying to “wait for a VSC” as Norris’ crash led to a VSC. Gasly managed to drive onwards after the collision but fell down the order to P17. Shortly after, Gasly retired the car.

The stream of pit stops came after a Full Safety Car came out. Sergio Perez pitted and came out ahead of Bottas. Russell pitted onto the medium compound, and Ocon changed to Softs during what was his first stop of the race. Ricciardo made another stop and went on to the soft compounds too.

During all the safety car drama, Fernando Alonso was given a five-second time penalty for colliding with Gasly which ultimately led to his collision with Norris.

Hamilton was given the chance to pit but declined, even after the pit crew came out.

Lap 44- 52

The Safety Car was still out as we entered lap 44. Due to the amount of debris, the Safety Car stayed out for a number of laps.

With nearly 10 laps to go, many pundits were discussing the potential restart with Ocon of fresh softs and Albon or Schumacher on track for potential points.

On Lap 46, the Safety car was called in and the all-important restart would begin. All the cars weaved on the straights with Verstappen holding the pack up. Verstappen restarted after the hairpin and accelerated out of it.

Perez was hot on the tail of Carlos Sainz with Bottas close behind.

During the restart, Mick Schumacher managed to overtake into P9.

Yellow flags were briefly waved when Stroll and Magnussen had a minor collision.

Lap 48 saw Carlos Sainz running wide and Perez just missed his chance to move into P3.

On Lap 49, DRS was enabled and with Leclerc within a second of Verstappen, the battle for P1 was back on the table.

Hamilton and Russell started to have a tussle in P6 and P7 respectively. During this battle, Bottas ran wide and both Hamilton and Russell overtook him, pushing Bottas into P7.

Leclerc set the fastest lap of the race by Lap 50 and was closing in on Verstappen. Leclerc got within half a second of the Red Bull.

Also on lap 50, George Russell finally got ahead of Hamilton. We got to see the Mercedes fight during this restart and Russell put everything into the fight.

Perez finally got past Sainz on Lap 52 into turn 1 but Sainz quickly reclaimed the position as Perez went slightly too deep.

Verstappen and Leclerc were also fighting for P1 with Leclerc risking his fight whilst bouncing over a kerb through the chicane. Luckily he kept his gap small and hunted down Verstappen.

Last Five Laps

With five laps to go, Leclerc started to fall behind Vertsappen. Sometimes, Leclerc was out of DRS range.

Lap 54 saw a yellow flag in sector 1 and Vettel fell through the ranks after a spin caused by contact with Schumacher. Mick Schumacher was also on the verge of his first EVER F1 points before the incident with Vettel.

After the incident, Vettel retired and Schumacher fell down to P16. This tussle meant that Albon came into P10 and was in the points.

Final Lap

Going into the final lap, Vertsappen was over 2 seconds ahead of Leclerd. Leclerc fought very hard but it seemed that Verstappen was too strong in his defense.

Perez didn’t manage to get past Carlos. Albon finished in P10. After Alonso’s penalty was applied, Albon was still in P10 but this could change after Alonso is STILL under inverstiagtion.

The drivers came across the line with the top 10 looking like:

Feature Image: SkySports.com

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