DSérgio Perez’s golden opportunity to lead the championship for the first time slipped through his hands ten laps from the end when his ninth-place team-mate Max Verstappen, thanks to a lucky tire tactic, raced past with plenty of excess on his way to his 38th Grand Prix victory. in the end he has a comfortable lead of 5.3 seconds. A demonstration of power by the driver – and the car.
Third at the Miami Grand Prix is Fernando Alonso with the Aston Martin, for the fourth time this year. After a race with many overtaking manoeuvres, but without any real drama, Nico Hülkenberg from Emmerich took 15th place with the Haas-Ferrari.
In the overall standings, Verstappen now has a comfortable 14-point lead again. “That was pretty impressive,” congratulates team manager Christian Horner, also relieved that his two drivers didn’t go on a crash course. And to the loser Pérez he radios: “Well done.” It will probably not have been the last duel of this kind.
It was to be the week of Sergio Pérez, Formula 1’s road king. In Baku, the Mexican won both the sprint and the race and is on pole position at the Miami International Autodrome. That surprises everyone, including the man they just call “Checo” himself.
Like many others, at the beginning of the fifth race weekend of the season, he skidded more on the slippery track than drove in a controlled manner and decided before qualifying to start from scratch with the car set-up. “That got my car going again,” he said delighted as Saturday’s winner.
“It was all my fault”
However, he also owes the best possible starting position to Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc. As on Friday, the Monegasque drove his car into the barriers of turn seven in the decisive phase of qualifying, and the race control then stopped the event. Bad luck for those who hadn’t turned a perfect lap at that time.
Max Verstappen, for example, who this time didn’t want to see himself as the victim of a wrong strategy, but admitted his mistake on the first try. Leclerc didn’t want to use any excuses either, neither wind nor technology had provoked his crash: “It’s unbelievable, but it was my fault alone. That is not acceptable.”
Suddenly, the second edition of the Formula 1 guest appearance in Florida begins with a motley starting line-up. Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin in second place, Carlos Sainz junior in the Ferrari in third place alongside Denmark’s Kevin Magnussen in Haas. Verstappen only ninth, alongside Valtteri Bottas in the Alfa Romeo. Lewis Hamilton completely out of character only in 13th place behind Nico Hulkenberg in the second Haas.
The signs are pointing to chaos, at the premiere on the improvised course there were five safety car phases last year. But the event that decided the race happened during the night, when a tropical storm rained down on the asphalt loop – the already poor grip was washed away. This means that all secured knowledge about the right tire strategy is gone in no time. In the top ten, everyone initially relies on the soft medium tires, with the exception of Verstappen.