Max Verstappen won his first Miami Grand Prix, taking the lead early in the race over Ferrari pole-sitter Charles Leclerc and defending it in a thrilling late-race fight.
Red Bull’s political champion Carlos Sanz’s P2 took the lead in turn 1 and soon began to close on Leclerc. The Ferrari driver lost his opponent’s lead on the main straight at the start of 57 of the Lap 9s and hit the middle to hard on the Lap 24, causing Verstappen to react to his stop after two laps. It looked like Worstapen would go to victory in front of the Miami Gardens Marines
With caution up to Lap 41, the VSC-turn-safety car was triggered by a collision between Pierre Gasley and Lando Norris, which sent the McLaren driver into a spin as his right rear tire ruptured. Perez took the opportunity to make a dent for new media from the P4, where the hardest Verstapen, Leclerc and Senz were ahead.
Verstappen appeared to be in the lead in the Lap 47 restart but struggled to widen the gap between Leclerc. It was just as difficult for the final-podium spot for the mid-shod Sergio Perez’s chase.
Perez tried to pass Senz on Lap 52 but was locked up, with both drivers avoiding contact, while Leclerc was half a second behind Verstappen in the pursuit of the lead. But neither Perez nor Leclerc could move forward, and the victory will be as narrow for Verstappen as it was for Ferraris.
In the top five was George Russell, who started at No. 11 and pitted between VSCs, taking advantage of the new tire to pass Lap 54 to teammate Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton lamented that he could not pit during VSC but was promoted. P6 when the Valtteri Bottas turn 17 widened to Lap 49.
The Alfa Romeo driver seemed to start the P5 from there, but due to his late mistake, he finished seventh. It was followed by the Alpines, with Esteban O’Connor finishing ninth to ninth from Fernando Alonso – the latter was fined five seconds for contacting Gasley.
Alonso was given another five-second penalty for leaving Alex Albon on the P9, promoting Lance Stroll to the P10, and leaving the track to take the two-time champion to 11th place and take advantage of the semifinal lap.
Kevin Magnusen retired late after contacting Lance Stroll (P10 after starting in the pits), as was Sebastian Vettel – who started in the pits and was knocked out by Mick Schumacher (P15).
Gasley did not complete the work after contacting Norris (DNF), while Zhou Guanyu was the first retiree to be dragged into the pits on Lap7.
Despite starting in the front row, Ferrari has not been able to convert their advantage into the Miami Grand Prix – while Max Verstappen has now won two in a row.
The Miami Grand Prix weekend has always been a showstopper, with the A-list celebrity swinging palm trees, the largest marina on this side of Dead County. Now it was time to turn on the lights just in case of sunlight.
Ferrari thanked pole-sitters Charles Leclerc and Carlos Senz, two of the Red Bulls – Max Verstappen ahead of Sergio Perez – and Alfa Romeo’s Valetri Botas will share the third row with former Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Aston Martin faced a pre-race fuel temperature problem, with both Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel starting from Pit Lane to avoid penalties from the FIA - while Esteban O’Connor started from behind for the alpine that crashed in FP2.
Ominous cloudbursts, concrete walls closing, 18 drivers lined up on the grid. In the rising heat, four drivers (Strol, Vettel, George Russell and Ocon) started on the hard compounds, while the other 16 started on the medium.
Initially, Leclerc made a brilliant launch, while Senz lost to Worstapen in Turn 1, Hamilton moved to eighth after a turn-1 lock-up, and Fernando Alonso moved from 11th to seventh – with little contact with Hamilton in the process.
As Leclerc took the lead at the station, Hamilton – now complaining of damage after Alonso’s Lap1 tap – was Verstapen a second behind – overtaking the Alpine driver for the P7 as he ran to turn 11 on Lap3. Lap 6, he took the P6 from Gasley and the seven-time champion returned to where he started.
Lap 8 saw Werstapen come out on top in the DRS range, at the tail end of Leclerc, and the Dutchman passed Lap 9 early to take the lead on the main straight side. Leclerc made his rebuttal and tailed the Red Bull in the next full lap. – But the reigning champion was now in commanding position.
Ferrari’s struggle began. In Lap 13, Leclerc had to face a lock-up on the 17th turn, his deficiency is now at 2.5s to Verstappen, while Perez is closing in on Sainz for the P3.