The stats that Max Verstappen wins every race he completes this year, stands proud even after the fifth race weekend. Around the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, the man with the starting number 1 is tough and tried and tested in many ways. It started with a miserable Friday at a track where time is of the essence and ended with a delayed safety car. Charles Leclerc pulled out all the stops after the restart, but Verstappen – also supported by Red Bull’s set-up and top speed – didn’t flinch. The Limburger made the only notable mistake on Saturday in Q3, which turned out to be inconclusive due to Red Bull’s focus on race pace. In fact: By achieving the maximum number of points on two consecutive weekends, Verstappen only gives up nineteen points in the world championship position. It’s a scenario he blindly signed up for after the Australian GP and given the speed of the RB18 there’s more in store.
The latter observation is also the reason why Ferrari is not declared the winner this time. Sure, a double podium is good for Scuderia and a nice boost for Carlos Sainz, but Leclerc said Ferrari needed upgrades quickly to keep up with Red Bull, and with good reason. The preference for the second cut therefore goes on George Russell, who drove cleanly from P12 to P5. He honestly admitted afterwards that the safety car was called for, but credit also goes to Russell. His race pace on the hard tire and thinking along with the strategy – “Let’s go longer and hope for a VSC or SC” – deserve praise. Teammate Lewis Hamilton was on a different strategy and had already stopped, but was completely overwhelmed when the team asked him for tactical input: “Well, that’s what you’re there for,” said the seven-time world champion. Part of that saw Hamilton finish behind his younger team-mate again, and that didn’t exactly look like it on Saturday afternoon…
The latest winner is the man who finished third in the F2 season in which Russell became champion: Alexander Alban† The Thai rose to the premier class the following year, along with Russell and Lando Norris, but found more obstacles in his way. Albon went down alongside Verstappen but will get a second chance this year. A second chance for which he says he is better prepared than ever. Unfortunately, Williams doesn’t have a car to perform heroic deeds in, drivers can only wish for points finishes. The fact that Albon managed to do this twice in a row from a hopeless position says a lot about his class on Sunday. Albon isn’t doing anything crazy, impressing with good race pace and keeping his tires in good condition. It allows catch-ups like in Imola and Miami. Russell’s shoes have plenty to fill at Williams, but Albon is doing well and is already completely overtaking Nicholas Latifi.
Sergio Perez can be called a loser because of Red Bull’s potential, but that would be unfair because he had 30 hp less (also in the closing stages). According to Christian Horner, a one-two was possible, but the failure cannot be attributed to the Mexican. Instead, the dodgy credit comes on McLaren† The Woking team is hard to predict this year. In Bahrain it howled with the cap on, but after that they knew each other beyond Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes the best of the rest Crown. Valtteri Bottas was that in Miami and the decline at McLaren was big. Daniel Ricciardo hobbled behind the scenes all weekend and the man who should have taken the chestnuts from the fire finished early. The incident between Norris and Pierre Gasly was mainly caused by the latter’s technical failure, although Norris also objected somewhat more mumble be able to drive and take margin. The bottom line is that McLaren The states goalless and such a downer was not really expected after Bahrain.
The goalless finish is also true Sebastian Vettel† The German could have scored a point or two in the closing stages, but a collision with his best friend in the paddock decided otherwise. Vettel and Mick Schumacher found each other on their way and ended a difficult weekend in tears. The situation of Vettel and Aston Martin has been discussed at length on this side of the section, although an added factor is that Vettel was beaten by Lance Stroll in qualifying last weekend – not a high flyer after all. The Canadian made it into Q3, while Vettel had to settle for thirteenth on the grid. At least that’s what he thought at the time. A fuel problem eventually led to a pit start, although Aston Martin’s racing pace encouraged the citizen. A points finish for Vettel could have done that too, but yeah… that one moment. Or as the four-time world champion himself said: “That was very stupid of both of us.”
It also has the turbulent final phase hare cost the head. The American Brigade have a much better car this year than last year and were hoping to impress on home soil but little has come of it. While Haas had a car in Q3 on three of the past four race weekends, Saturday ended in P15 and P16 in Miami. Kevin Magnussen struggled with radio issues, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it was way below average. In the opening lap, the duo seemed to catch up in one shot and fight for the points. Günther Steiner still thought that he would make a good impression on his own supporters, but that didn’t happen. In the closing stages, it came into contact not once, but twice with an Aston Martin. Magnussen and Stroll also touched, after which the Dane had to retire. It’s only the second weekend this year that Haas has gone goalless. That basically says a lot about progression, but there’s also a downside: Haas has never been strong in development since entering F1, which means better goals can now be scored and such chances are costly wasted at the end of the drive can come out.