F1 – Miami GP – Race
Hello, MiniFans! An incident filled race was predicted, due to the slippery and tight nature of the track, but it was before the race that the problems started. Both Aston Martin had to pull out of the starting grid and be demoted to kicking off from the pitlane, due to a fuel temperature issue.
The start was insanely clean for a track that, according to the drivers, is very slippery out of the racing line. At the front, Verstappen managed to overtake Sainz while, further back, Alonso made up four positions, settling in front of Hamilton. On the other hand, Russell was having a tough time with the hard tyres, trying to go against the current and use a different stop strategy to try and climb positions.
The biggest candidate to the win changed very soon into the race, just a few laps in. Verstappen, once his team relayed the information that Leclerc’s front right tyre wasn’t in the best condition, got past the Ferrari very easily and started opening a gap, while Pérez was trying to get close enough to Sainz to do the same.
The forst stop of the race came courtesy of Tsunoda, who got rid of this mediums in order to get a fresh set of hard tyres, and cars started to slowly trickle through the pitlane. A heated discussion was broadcasted between Pérez and his engineer, as the driver insisted he was losing power and he kept being told it was due to losing the tow with Sainz. After a few adjustments, the time bleed settled, but he was still slowly dropping further back.
The first of the top dogs to go for a tyre change was Leclerc who, not being able to catch Verstappen on softs, tried to kickstart a chain reaction. Verstappen copied his strategy, as it usually happens when defending, as did Sainz and Pérez. The second Ferrari’s luck is still recovering and a long stop meant that he lost a couple of seconds to Pérez, but nothing to worry too much about.
In a very settled race and with tyres that were still decent, Russell asked the team to wait until a safety car came out. After a small incident between Gasly and Alonso, that ended in a five-second penalty for the Spaniard and a damaged car for the Frenchman that didn’t let him turn correctly, Russell’s moment came to be.
In lap 41, his wish came true thanks to an incident between Norris and Gasly that prompted a VSC first and a full-on safety car after, so that the recovery of Norris’ car didn’t pose any danger to the marshals. Pérez also took great advantage of it, as it turned into an opportunity to use medium tyres and try to climb onto the podium, as the three cars in front of him had old hard tyres on them.
The restart wanted to be all that the real kick off wasn’t. Attacks and overtaking opportunities were clear on track, but none came to be in the first handful of laps. The DRS being allowed to be used made it so the top 6 started to battle in pairs. Leclerc was breathing down Verstappen’s neck, while Sainz was still managing to fend off Pérez’s attacks and Russell finally got past Hamilton without the need for team orders.
The battle for third was decided first, as Pérez overshot it in turn 1 as he tried to overtake Sainz, which meant getting kicked out of the DRS zone. The one for first settled only a bit later, as Leclerc also dropped more than one second behind Verstappen. A few incidents were noted by the stewards, alongside several corrections to the messages informing of the ongoing investigations, but nothing that affected the fight for the win, which turned into Verstappen’s third finish and victory of the year.
The Miami GP copied the formula of so many before it. A boring race turned exciting towards the end after an accident and a safety car that brought the whole grid together. Verstappen and Leclerc fought, once again, for the win, as Sainz came back to the podium after a couple of difficult races for the Spaniard. Despite the warning signs during the free practices, the circuit wasn’t to blame for the only safety car of the race, but it has already been promised that changes will be made to try and turn it into an overtaking showcase for the following years.