Max Verstappen driver and winner of the day!
We did not have to wait long for another race because one week later, the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix was ready to take place with much anticipation. The Miami International Autodrome in and around the Hard Rock Café Stadium hoped to match last year’s inaugural race with even more action and drama on the circuit. Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, who sat behind his teammate Max Verstappen by only six points in the driver s championships, had massive support in the stands and rooting for the Mexican driver to achieve his first back-to-back wins after claiming the top of the podium at Azerbaijan. A victory for Perez would sit him on top of the rankings, creating some desperately needed drama for the 2023 season. No one wants to see Verstappen run away with his third straight title, and perhaps Perez can be the man to stop that from happening. The rest of the field would have to do their best to keep up with the Red Bulls and grab as many points as possible at the end of the day.
Qualifying had very windy weather, and the track surface was very slippery, according to drivers after Friday’s practice sessions. Ultimately the slick track would create the right amount of chaos allowing for one of the most diverse and unique top 10 grid positions for Sunday’s race. Valtteri Bottas of Alfa Romeo reached Q3 for the first time this season, and Kevin Magnussen of HAAS also found himself in the mix. Q3 began without any issues, with most of the final tent putting at least one more time on the board. In the last minutes of the session, Leclerc was flying around the circuit only to lose the back end of his Ferrari, spinning out and colliding with the wall enough to force a Red Flag.
Q3 ended immediately, and the final standings bode well for Perez, who took the pole position, the third of his career, and placed him in a prime position to win the race. Contrarily, Verstappen could not add any faster times to his session, landing him P9 and adding more frustrations to the Dutch driver. Alonso had no complaints because he was in P2, followed by Carlos Sainz of Ferrari. Magnussen was giddy with excitement finishing in P4, while Pierre Gasly of Alpine sat in P5. Mercedes’ George Russel sat in P6, followed by a dismayed Leclerc in P6. Alpine enjoyed qualifying even more with Esteban Ocon in P8, and for the first time this season, Bottas was in P10.
If qualifying indicated what to expect of Race Day, fans anticipated an exciting race filled with action. Could Perez take control of the race from the very start, or would Alonso make his day a living nightmare? Will Verstappen claw up the ranks, take the chequered flag for himself, and send a message to his team that he is still the number 1 driver on the team? Can Ferrari and Mercedes throw themselves into the mix of things, or would they continue to battle their demons and be forced to be satisfied with no podium finishes and grabbing a few points? The table was for the 2023 Miami Grand Prix; now, all that was needed was the red lights to go out.
Perez had no issues at the start of the race, taking off cleanly and putting a safe distance between himself and Alonso, who was in P2. He immediately began to pull ahead of the pack on his medium tires while his teammate Verstappen tore through the pack ahead of him. Verstappen, who elected to start the race on Hard tires, had an incredible pace slice through the field, and by the time lap 15 came around, he already had Perez in sight. Perez could not keep his lead from Verstappen, who quickly took over the race lead. Perez needed solid lap times to give him a chance at surpassing Verstappen when it was his turn to pit. Unfortunately for Perez, Verstappen put up the fastest lap after lap making any effort by Perez negligible. Although Perez took the lead back of the race, it would not last long, with Verstappen hunting him down and passing his rival effortlessly again. Perez made his only pit stop of the day, switching to hards that would last him until the end of the race.
There was no stopping Verstappen, who went on to win his third race of the season and his second win in Miami. Verstappen added an extra point after setting the fastest lap of the race and became the 5th driver to start a race in ninth and winning the race in F1 history. Perez now sits fourteen points behind his teammate in the standings. Alonso reached the podium yet again in P3, followed by George Russel in P4 and Sainz in P5 despite serving a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane. Hamilton and Mercedes finished in P6, with a frustrated Leclerc in P7. Two Alpines followed by Gasly in P8 and Ocon in P9. Grabbing the last point of the race was Haas and Kevin Magnussen.
The race as a whole lacked entertainment value, and many overtakes and high-stakes moments between the drivers. Red Bull’s dominance is clear, and the rest of the field seems to have no chance of catching them, let alone beating them. Hopefully, Perez can achieve some miracles and keep Verstappen on his toes; otherwise, both titles will be claimed by the Austrian team by midseason. Next up on the schedule on May 21st is the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix (Imola) in Italy. Red Bull is the clear favorite, and hopefully, some action will keep fans satisfied with everyone else on the track battling for higher positions.
|1||MAX VERSTAPPEN||NETHERLANDS||RED BULL||1:29.708|
|2||SERGIO PEREZ||MEXICO||RED BULL|
|3||FERNANDO ALONSO||SPAIN||ASTON MARTIN|
|5||CARLOS SAINZ JR||SPAIN||FERRARI|
|11||YUKI TSUNODA||JAPAN||ALPHA TAURI|
|12||LANCE STROLL||CANADA||ASTON MARTIN|
|13||VALTERRI BOTTAS||FINLAND||ALFA ROMEO|
|16||ZHOU GUANYU||CHINA||ALFA ROMEO|
|18||NICK DE VRIES||NETHERLANDS||ALPHA TAURI|
|20||LOGAN SARGEANT||UNITED STATES||WILLIAMS|