Red Bull’s Max Verstappen passed Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to win F1 Miami GP with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz in third.
Even before the start of F1 Miami GP, the Aston Martin duo of Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel couldn’t make it on the grid due to fuel temperatures being cool. They were forced to start from the pitlane, which was detrimental for the Canadian who qualified in Top 10.
The start to F1 Miami GP was clean as pole-sitter Charles Leclerc led the way in his Ferrari, but teammate Carlos Sainz had a slower start as he lost to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for second after the Dutchman took the outside line at Turn 1.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez was fourth from Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas, with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso gaining to be sixth and seventh. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton dropped to eighth after a kerb run and a small hit from the Spaniard.
The wheels of both Alonso and Hamilton touched as McLaren’s Lando Norris and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the Top 10. Outside the points places, there were numerous fights for track positions to get themselves into the Top 10.
Despite a good start from Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou, the Chinese racer faced mechanical issues early in the grand prix to retire. Around that time, Verstappen closed in on Leclerc and eventually passed him for the lead of the F1 Miami GP at Turn 1 using the DRS.
The Monegasque tried to get back on him but dropped back after a wide moment. Sainz stood ground in third from Perez with Bottas long way off in fifth from Hamilton who passed both Alonso and Gasly to get himself back into sixth from where he started.
Alonso tried to get onto the tail of Gasly but couldn’t past him as Norris was ninth from Haas’ Mick Schumacher who climbed up to 10th after passing McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo and Tsunoda. The Japanese racer dropped further back in the pack.
Schumacher had his teammate Kevin Magnussen fighting against him for 10th but the German retook the place before pitting. Alonso tried to undercut Gasly but a slow stop for the Spaniard left him in a difficult position and he was still behind him.
At the front, Verstappen bridged a good gap over Leclerc who started to struggle and eventually stopped on Lap 25. Sainz sighed after engine issues for Perez where the Mexican lost several chunks in the fight for third with Bottas in fourth.
Mercedes’ George Russell climbed up into the Top 10 in an alternate strategy of using hard tyres on the start. Likewise Ricciardo and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon were in the points midway in the grand prix using the hard tyres for their starting stint.
This troubled the likes of Gasly and Alonso, while Magnussen and Norris were hurt by the resurgent Aston Martin duo who also were on the hard tyres. At the front, Verstappen stretched out a good lead from Leclerc with Sainz and Perez in third and fourth.
The Spaniard was third despite a slow pit stop as Red Bull noted that Perez faced a senor issue for a slow lap. Russell was fifth from Bottas, Hamilton, Ocon, Gasly and Alonso in the Top 10 where Russell and Ocon were still to make their pit stop.
Stroll was just outside the Top 10 holding of a battling Schumacher and Magnussen, where the German managed to pass his teammate for 12th. A small moment from Vettel allowed Norris to pass him for 14th where both the Aston Martin hadn’t stop.
The race unraveled when Gasly and Alonso made contact in the fight for ninth. The Frenchman started to lose places and the lack of grip threw him wide in the corners. As the Haas duo got through him, he joined the track when Norris arrived at the scene.
Norris wheels touched with Gasly’s and it came lose for him to retire. The Virtual Safety Car was deployed but was converted to full safety car due to debris on track. This period allowed Russell and Ocon to pit along with the Aston Martin pair.
While Mercedes went back and forth with Hamilton to understand if they should pit for the second time, but eventually they decided against it where Red Bull brought in Perez for the the second time. He remained fourth behind Verstappen, Leclerc and Sainz.
Bottas was fifth from Hamilton and Russell with Alonso in eighth, Schumacher ninth and Ocon in 10th. Williams’ Alexander Albon was just behind in 11th from Stroll, Magnussen, Vettel, Ricciardo and Gasly – where the drivers were amid a mixed strategy.
The re-start worked well for Verstappen but Leclerc stayed with him on his tail as Sainz defended hard from Perez who had less horsepower. Bottas held on to fifth for long but a wide moment allowed both Hamilton and Russell to get past to be fifth and sixth.
Bottas dropped to seventh as Alonso had Schumacher, Ocon and Vettel in the fight for eighth. The German’s teammate had a collision with Magnussen on re-start which was put under investigation, but no further action was needed by the stewards.
At the front, Verstappen had much to defend from Leclerc in the closing stages. Sainz momentarily lost third at Turn 1 but the Mexican went wide and allowed the Spaniard to regain third. Russell passed his teammate Hamilton for fifth with Bottas in seventh.
Alonso stood eighth with a time penalty as the final corner saw a moment between Vettel, Ocon and Schumacher. The German got ahead of them going onto the main straight but when Schumacher came back on him at Turn 1, the two made contact.
The move was put under investigation as Vettel retired while Schumacher dropped to last. Ocon gained to be ninth from Albon as Ricciardo, Magnussen and Stroll continued to jostle for track positions to make their way into the points.
At the front, Verstappen had enough to secure the F1 Miami GP win from Leclerc as Sainz held on to third from Perez, Russell, Hamilton, Bottas, Ocon, Alonso and Albon in the Top 10. The time penalty for Alonso dropped him only one place in the order.
Ricciardo was 11th from Stroll, Tsunoda, Latifi and Schumacher as Magnussen was a late retirement after a tangle with Stroll which is under investigation. In a separate incident, the Dane was shown the black and white flag for weaving on track.
DNF: Magnussen, Vettel, Gasly, Norris, Zhou.
UPDATE: Post-race saw host of decisions from the FIA stewards. Following the in-race penalty for Alonso, the stewards noted no further action for the late collision between Magnussen and Stroll where no driver was wholly to be blamed.
But a second incident between the two at Turn 11 this time saw Magnussen get a 5s penalty along with one penalty point for forcing Stroll off. “The Stewards reviewed the video evidence and determined Car 18 was ahead going into turn 11 and Car 20 made contact forcing Car 18 off the track. The driver of Car 20 was wholly to blame for the collision,” the note stated.
The stewards then handed a 5s time penalty along with one penalty point to Ricciardo for leaving the track and gaining an advantage. “The Stewards reviewed the video evidence and determined that although Car 3 was in front of Car 20 going into turn 12, it was only able to retain that position by leaving the track and returning to it alongside Car 20 then used its speed to pull ahead,” it stated.
A second penalty was handed to Alonso for leaving the track and gaining lasting advantage at Turn 14. “The Stewards reviewed the video evidence and determined that Car 14 left the track at turn 14 and gained a lasting advantage,” the note stated.
The penalties meant Alonso dropped out of points to 11th promoting Albon to ninth and Stroll to 10th with the former scoring two and the latter one.