Max Verstappen won the inaugural Miami Grand Prix after a torrid weekend of reliability issues in the buildup to race day. The Ferraris locked out the front row of the grid in qualifying, Leclerc ahead of teammate Sainz with Verstappen narrowly behind in third. Verstappen first chased down the Ferrari of Sainz on the opening lap and muscled his way into second before mounting an attack on Leclerc. Nine laps later and Verstappen took the lead from Leclerc with a fairly easy pass, Leclerc making way to mount a counter-attack. But it never came to pass as Verstappen thereafter built a determined 8-second lead.
The round of pitstops only served to enable Verstappen to increase his lead. Thereafter Verstappen used his Red Bull to build up a comfortable buffer between himself and the Ferrari behind.
Leclerc appeared unable to match the Red Bull’s race pace. Ferrari has not upgraded their car since the first race of the season whereas Red Bull upgrades on a race-by-race basis.
A safety car was deployed on lap 41 to clear up the miscommunication caused by Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly. With the field closed up Leclerc sensed an opportunity to reclaim the lead. With the safety car period over, Leclerc used all that his Ferrari could offer. He got close to Verstappen but was never close enough to go wheel to wheel.
The Red Bull had the better race pace and Verstappen used it to eventually build up another lead as Leclerc’s Ferrari faded into second. Sainz finished the race third but had to fend off a spirited attack from Sergio Perez in the closing stages of the race. The race itself was mostly processional, indeed the new Miami street circuit venue was probably more interesting than the race.
Nevertheless, Verstappen has three victories to Leclerc’s two and is currently second in the driver’s standings, 19 points behind the Ferrari. In this form, Verstappen looks unbeatable, but the season is long and more battles have yet to be fought.
Miami Grand Prix 2022, Race Result:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:31.458
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 3.786s
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 8.229s
4 Sergio Perez Red Bull 10.638s
5 George Russell Mercedes 18.582s
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 21.368s
7 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 25.073s
8 Esteban Ocon Alpine 28.386s
9 Alex Albon Williams 32.365s
10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 37.026s
11 Fernando Alonso Alpine 37.128s
12 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 40.146s
13 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 40.902s
14 Nicholas Latifi Williams 49.936s
15 Mick Schumacher Haas 73.305s
16 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1 LAP
17 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 2 LAPS
R Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 11 LAPS
R Lando Norris McLaren 17 LAPS
R Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo Racing 50 LAPS