Max Verstappen has won the inaugural Miami Grand Prix after a close battle with Charles Leclerc.
It was finally time for the highly-anticipated Miami GP. Though it was raining on Sunday, the race started in dry conditions.
Only 18 cars were on the grid at the start as both Aston Martin cars began the race from the pit lane due to fuel temperature issue.
Charles Leclerc had a good getaway and remained in front. Behind him, Max Verstappen passed Carlos Sainz for P2.
Lewis Hamilton lost two spots at the start and had a contact with Fernando Alonso. The Briton’s car was not damaged much and he passed Alonso for 7th place on lap 3. He also overtook Pierre Gasly on lap 6. A lap later, Guanyu Zhou went to the pits to retire from the race.
Upfront, Verstappen took over the race lead.
Yuki Tsunoda had high tire degradation and became the first driver to have a pit stop. He got a fresh set of Hard tires on lap 12.
Sergio Perez reported via team radio that he was losing power. The issue was quickly fixed, but he lost some time.
Leclerc was the first driver among the leaders to change his tires. He made a switch to a Hard tire compound on lap 25. Two laps later, Verstappen had his pit stop. The Dutchman remained ahead of his opponent.
Kevin Magnussen, Mick Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, and Lando Norris were all involved in a battle for P12. The team did not allow Schumacher to pass his teammate so that they all can get closer to Lance Stroll in P11. However, the German made a move. Shortly after, Vettel had a lock-up, allowing Norris to move up to 13th.
The battle between Alonso and Gasly for P9 ended up in a collision at turn 1. The Alpine driver kept going, while Gasly dropped down to P11. A bit later, the Frenchman had a contact with Norris. A wheel came off the McLaren car and the race was over for the Briton.
The Virtual Safety Car was deployed, which was a great opportunity for George Russell, who was yet to pit. The Safety Car was out on the race track later on and more drivers went for a pit stop. That list included Perez, who got Medium tires.
Alonso was given a 5-second time penalty for causing a collision with Gasly. The AlphaTauri driver himself retired from the race.
The race restarted on lap 47. Verstappen remained in front of Leclerc and Sainz. Perez was not able to capitalize on the tire advantage and he stayed in 4th.
Leclerc managed to stay right behind Verstappen in an attempt to come back to the race lead. At the same time, Perez was putting pressure on Sainz.
Russell was trying to pass Hamilton for P6, but Bottas in front of them ran wide. They used the opportunity and passed the Alfa Romeo driver. Russell got to P5 a lap later. Meanwhile, Leclerc was chasing Verstappen.
Perez tried to pass Sainz at turn 1, but the attempt was not successful. At the same time, Leclerc remained close to Verstappen, trying to get to the race lead.
Schumacher was on the verge of scoring his first F1 points. However, he collided with Vettel at turn 1, ruining his chances for a top 10 finish. The Haas driver had to change a front wing, while the Aston Martin driver retired.
Verstappen managed to hold off Leclerc and won the race. Sainz also stayed ahead of Perez and completed the podium.
The results of the Miami GP:
|1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing||1:34:24.258|
|4||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing||+10.638|
|7||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||+25.073|
|10||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+37.026|
|17||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||DNF|
|20||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo||DNF|