Max Verstappen fought his way up from third on the grid to take victory at Miami. The Dutch Red Bull Racing driver was joined on the podium by Leclerc and Sainz, making for a third double podium of the year for Scuderia Ferrari.
The race got started with track temperature at 41°C creating worries about tyre degradation. Wary of that risk none of the drivers started on softs while everybody in the top 10 chose mediums. Russell was the highest placed starter on hard tyres but he had a very poor start and ended up 15th after the first lap.
Leclerc kept first as the lights went out enjoying the ideal line into Turn 1. Max Verstappen enjoyed the same outside line and managed to punch past Sainz on the exit thanks to better grip round the outside. Sainz followed up in third then with Perez, Bottas and Gasly right behind him.
Alonso made a great start via the outside of Turn 1 and ended up 7th. A bump with Hamilton on the exit of Turn 1 caused some worries for the Mercedes driver, but it did not seem to bother him too much as he moved on to pass Alonso and then Gasly before lap 6.
Meanwhile both Aston Martins had a dismal start of the race and continued at the back after having to start from the pits due to fuel temperature problems. Fuel temperature must be at most 10 degrees lower than ambient by regulations.
In front, Verstappen came back into DRS range on lap 8 and soon breezed past Leclerc on lap 9. Leclerc clearly wore his tyres a bit faster than Verstappen and was subsequently unable to stay within a second of Verstappen. As the Ferraris steadily kept on losing time on Verstappen, Perez built up the pressure on Sainz until on lap 18 he reported a power loss that got remedied with a “Fail 50” setting change. By the time he did though, the Mexican was 8s behind Sainz.
Leclerc was predictably the first of the front runners to pit, returning to the track behind Perez. Two laps later, positions were back to what they were before the stops as Verstappen was then called in, followed by the respective team mates one lap later. Sainz though has a bad pitstop that cost him two to three seconds, leading to a 10s gap to Leclerc as the latter recorded fastest lap.
Sainz gradually closed into Leclerc again while the real fights happened further back, notably from Alonso in 10th and further back. Several drivers, including Magnussen, Vettel and Norris were seen going wide, allowing other drivers to easily take positions but usually unable to break away from competition, making for never ending fights, but usually only including position changes due to errors of others.
Then on lap 38, Alonso attempted to genuinely take a position with a deep dive on Gasly, but the Alpha Tauri driver turned in, resulting in Alonso bumping into the Frenchman’s car and earning him a 5s penalty. Gasly was still ahead of the Alpine when turning in, so it was perhaps an optimistic move from Alonso after he had been fighting to recover from the lost time in his earlier slow pitstop.
Two laps later, Gasly got very out of shape through Turns 3-6 and then got into contact with Norris when coming back fully on the track. Norris had clearly not expected Gasly to go so far away from the barrier, sending Norris into a spin and a retirement from the race.
Debis and the car itself being on track forced a virtual safety car, followed by a real safety car. The period was used by many to pit, including Perez, Russell, Schumacher, Ocon in the top 10. Others from the top 10 didn’t stop, leaving 10 laps with some drivers having a clear tyre advantage.
The restart immediately saw Perez challenge Sainz, forcing the Spaniard to get his elbows out to keep the Red Bull on fresh mediums behind. Sainz held on but was unable to follow as the two cars ahead of him jointly ran away with Leclerc repeatedly challenging Verstappen in the next laps.
On lap 52 Perez had a go on Sainz but outbraked himself, allowing Sainz to easily take the corner and get back into third.
In the fight for 5th, Russell got past Hamilton as Bottas made a mistake and saw both fighting Mercedes breeze past him. Alonso followed closely in 8th while Ocon used his fresh softs to get past Albon, into 9th position.
Behind them, Vettel got bumped out by Schumacher, throwing away a possibly great result for Schumacher. The German pitted for a new nose and continued while Vettel was reversed into the box for an early retirement.
As Leclerc lost some ground in the final laps, Verstappen won the inaugural Miami Grand Prix in faultless fashion. Leclerc and Sainz made for a strong finish for Ferrari but might make the Scuderia wonder how they can sort they tyre management deficit, as well as a search for a bit more top speed to better cover Verstappen’s Red Bull.
In terms of show, Miami didn’t disappoint, but in reality, the track was mostly challenging because of the temperatures and green surface that made early running in the weekend difficult. It was all topped off by some awkward post-race parade with two police motorcycles leading Verstappen’s golf cart into a short parade while both Ferrari drivers were waiting in the driver’s room to prepare for the podium.
Once again, Red Bull and Ferrari filled the top 4. Mercedes had a fairly strong showing and ended up 5th and 6th with its drivers, ahead of Bottas. Alonso finished 8th, but two 5-second penalties dropped him out of the points to the advantage of Ocon, Albon and Stroll, bringing Aston Martin a point after a very difficult race for them.
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||57||1:34:24.258||26|
|4||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Rbpt||57||+10.638s||12|
|7||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||57||+25.073s||6|
|8||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||57||+28.386s||4|
|9||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||57||+32.365s||2|
|10||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||57||+37.026s||1|
|11||14||Fernando Alonso||Alpine Renault||57||+37.128s||0|
|12||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Rbpt||57||+40.146s||0|
|13||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Mclaren Mercedes||57||+40.902s||0|
|14||6||Nicholas Latifi||Williams Mercedes||57||+49.936s||0|
|15||47||Mick Schumacher||Haas Ferrari||57||+73.305s||0|
|16||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||56||DNF||0|
|17||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||54||DNF||0|
|NC||10||Pierre Gasly||Alphatauri Rbpt||45||DNF||0|
|NC||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||39||DNF||0|
|NC||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||6||DNF||0|
Verstappen scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race.
Alonso and Magnussen received five-second time penalties for causing collisions.
Ricciardo and Alonso received a five-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage.