Sergio Perez showed consistency during qualifying to secure pole position in the Miami Grand Prix, but couldn’t maintain it come race day. Perez started the race on the front row, while teammate and arch rival Verstappen was out of position in 8th after fluffing his lines in qualifying. So, Perez began his Sunday afternoon with a significant advantage in the alien spaceship, known as the Red Bull rocketship. The Miami Grand Prix was really between the two Red Bulls which are in a different league, but today Max Verstappen was on another planet.
Verstappen started the race on the technically slower hard tyre, Perez on the faster medium tyre. Verstappen may have been out of position, but the Red Bull is a blue flag, and rival cars have no answer to the sheer pace when the Red Bull is combined with the relentless focus of Max Verstappen. Verstappen eventually made his way to 2nd after 15 laps and then reeled in Perez thereafter.
With scheduled pitstops completed, the deed was done on lap 48. Perez had a narrow lead but couldn’t fend off Verstappen who exited his pitstop just over 2 seconds behind Perez. On fresher tyres, Verstappen made short work of taking the lead, Perez put up a valiant fight but couldn’t hold off the inevitable. Even if they were on the same tyre strategy, Verstappen still would have had the superior pace.
By winning the Miami Grand Prix from 9th Verstappen demonstrated his speed in the same car as Sergio Perez. Perez couldn’t quite match the pace shown by his teammate, but he did demonstrate the continued otherworldly superiority of Red Bull over the rest of the field. Fernando Alonso finished a comfortable 3rd, but 26-seconds behind Perez.
Perez has one eye on the title and believes he has the pace to match Verstappen. But today was a reality check. Despite starting first, Perez was simply second best.
2023 Miami Grand Prix Results:
1 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull
2 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull +5.384
3 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +26.305
4 George RUSSELL Mercedes +33.229
5 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +42.511
6 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +51.249
7 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +52.988
8 Pierre GASLY Alpine +55.670
9 Esteban OCON Alpine +58.123
10 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas +62.945
11 Yuki TSUNODA AlphaTauri +64.309
12 Lance STROLL Aston Martin +64.754
13 Valtteri BOTTAS Alfa Romeo +71.637
14 Alexander ALBON Williams +72.861
15 Nico HULKENBERG Haas +74.950
16 ZHOU Guanyu Alfa Romeo +78.440
17 Lando NORRIS McLaren +87.717
18 Nyck DE VRIES AlphaTauri +88.949
19 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +1 lap
20 Logan SARGEANT Williams +1 lap