Race Report: Miami GP

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 07: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Miami at Miami International Autodrome on May 07, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202305072844 // Usage for editorial use only //

The Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix looked a bit more executed and planned than its first year on the calendar and that’s a good thing. A few track corrections like a re-profiled corner and all-new asphalt for the entire circuit. They even cordoned off the escalator so ted Kravitz couldn’t do dangerous antics on it again.

The race was going to be a Red Bull win but which driver would it be? Pole-sitter Sergio Perez or his teammate, Max Verstappen? In the end, Max put in a very impressive run from 9th to victory with a series of very fast laps on Hard compounds to minimize the delta on his final stop.

With fresh Medium tires, Max hunted down Sergio to make the pass for the lead and the win. Max and Sergio were followed home by Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso with Mercedes driver George Russel in 4th. IT is interesting that the Mediums were graining for Sergio and the Hard was the tire to be on but with Max running so deep, it left a handful of laps left for Mediums and avoid the graining. A great strategy call by the team.

Win

A big win for Max Verstappen who started 9th and put in some terrific laps on his Hard compound tires to ensure that once he did stop for fresh Medium’s, he would only be 1.5s behind Perez but with much quicker tires. Max also managed to ensure his teammate didn’t take the fastest lap point so a maximum haul for the world champ. A win for Sergio for a very good drive to 2nd and while you could argue he started on the wrong tire, all the cars around him started on Mediums so he would have been a sitting duck on the first stint. His run to 2nd was very good, Max’s recovery drive was even better.

A win for Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso who secured his 4th podium finish in five races in 2023. He ran long on his first stint and I wasn’t sure that was going to work but he must have been pushing hard on the in-lap’s and ensured he had the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz covered.

A win for Mercedes driver George Russell who managed 4th and on a weekend that the team was really struggling, as evidenced by Lewis Hamilton’s struggles down in 6th, it was actually better than I expected so good on George for dragging that car around Miami by the scruff of the neck.

You could perhaps argue that it was a win for Alpine to get both cars in the points and that’s good but after a scathing review from CEO Laurent Rossi, it’s hard to consider 8th and 9th for Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon respectively a good result.

A good point and some great racing from Kevin Magnussen to bring home 10th place with the team boss, Gene Haas, at the track.

Fail

A fail for Ferrari with a 5s penalty for Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc’s struggles beginning with two crashes over the weekend that left him starting down the field where he sank even further until recovering to P7. Where their pace evaporated to from Friday is hard to pin down but there is a good chance the tires and heat were very much a part of it.

A fail for Lance Stroll who struggled this weekend to find the pace his teammate Fernando had and he was relegated to P12 but I’ve not heard why yet so we’ll discuss that on the race review podcast.

A fail for McLaren who struggled all weekend for pace despite some upgrades. A 17th and 19th for Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri respectively is a very difficult result to stomach and it puts a lot of weight on the major upgrades later this season.

Not a good day for Alpha Tauri or Alfa Romeo as both teams were out of the points.

WTH

Not sure how Ferrari solves their tire issues but they had that issue last year and it’s unfortunate they haven’t solved it.

As we’ve mentioned on the podcast, the unforced errors from Charles Leclerc has given me some major concern and with two crashes this weekend has solidified my concern that he is going to be seen as a bit of a liability at Ferrari with all the broken bits and seemingly not grasping where the limit is on his car. That’s easy for me to say but it does seem that he pushes beyond the limit and he’s been in the series long enough to not be struggling with that.

The driver announcement ceremony was odd and way too long but the grand prix seemed a little more orchestrated and smooth running than their first year so that’s really good.

Best moment, Sir Jackie Stewart pushing his way into the VIP area to get Roger Federer for an interview with Martin Brundle. Like a boss!

Pirelli’s Tyre Story:

 

  • Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won his second consecutive Miami Grand Prix, ahead of his team mate Sergio Perez who started from pole. Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso, who had got underway from P2 on the grid, completed the podium. Perez and Alonso started the race on P Zero Yellow medium tyres, swapping them for P Zero White hard on laps 20 and 24 respectively. Verstappen started on the hard and managed to get into the lead before stopping on lap 45. He completed the final 12 laps on the medium, passing his team mate a couple of corners into his out-lap, to reclaim the lead.
  • All the teams adopted a one-stop strategy but seven of them split the strategies between their drivers by starting on different compounds. Ferrari and Williams decided to start both their drivers on the mediums, while McLaren was the only team to take the soft at the start, hoping to make an early stop to comply with the regulation to use two slick compounds during the race.
  • Williams driver Logan Sargeant completed the most laps on the hard. He put them on during lap two and maintained them all the way to the finish: a total of 54 laps. Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou completed the most laps (26) on the medium, while McLaren’s Oscar Piastri was the most prolific exponent on the soft for five laps at the start.
  • Around halfway through the race, all the drivers were on the hard for seven laps. Among the drivers who started the race on the medium and soft, the last driver to make a stop was Alonso on lap 24. The first driver to switch from hard to medium was Zhou on lap 31.
  • Alonso set the fastest lap on the hard tyre (1m30.519s) while Verstappen set the fastest lap overall with a time of  1m29.708s on the medium. Lando Norris set the best time of the two drivers on the soft: 1m33.869s.
  • After overnight rain, the weather was cloudy for today’s race with temperatures that peaked at 30 degrees centigrade, while asphalt temperatures remained between 35 and 43 degrees Miami GP Results:
POSNODRIVERCARLAPSTIME/RETIREDPTS
11Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT571:27:38.2410
211Sergio PerezRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT57+5.384s0
314Fernando AlonsoASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES57+26.305s0
463George RussellMERCEDES57+33.229s0
555Carlos SainzFERRARI57+42.511s0
644Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES57+51.249s0
716Charles LeclercFERRARI57+52.988s0
810Pierre GaslyALPINE RENAULT57+55.670s0
931Esteban OconALPINE RENAULT57+58.123s0
1020Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI57+62.945s0
1122Yuki TsunodaALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT57+64.309s0
1218Lance StrollASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES57+64.754s0
1377Valtteri BottasALFA ROMEO FERRARI57+71.637s0
1423Alexander AlbonWILLIAMS MERCEDES57+72.861s0
1527Nico HulkenbergHAAS FERRARI57+74.950s0
1624Zhou GuanyuALFA ROMEO FERRARI57+78.440s0
174Lando NorrisMCLAREN MERCEDES57+87.717s0
1821Nyck De VriesALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT57+88.949s0
1981Oscar PiastriMCLAREN MERCEDES56+1 lap0
202Logan SargeantWILLIAMS MERCEDES56+1 lap0
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Tim C.

With the struggles that McLaren continue to have this year, Danny Ric leaving the team doesn’t seem like such a bad thing now. Glad he’s out of that disaster.

Worthless Opinion

Imagine Piastri though, after fighting like a demon to get out of his Alpine contract.

Worthless Opinion

I adore the city of Miami for all it is, but the prerace stuff on ABC had me reflecting on having given three years and two children to the Army to protect our way of life. Yikes. I think you’re being tough on Charles, a couple years ago Max looked like a nut who overpushed his car now he looks like a patient zen master. Lewis has been through the same stages. When they’re in a car that will do the job they drive it. When they’re not they overdrive it because it’s their only chance. I respectfully disagree that… Read more »

Last edited 11 months ago by Worthless Opinion
Fabio

The funniest thing was when Perez asked if Max’s tyres were going off!