After the double win in Bahrain and Red Bull Racing’s double retirement, Ferrari held a 44-point lead in the constructors’ championship. Four races later, much of that is gone like snow in the sun as the lead is down to just six points. With Max Verstappen, Red Bull have won convincingly in the last two races, also thanks to the upgrades introduced at Imola. With these new parts, the increase in top speed compared to Ferrari has been retained, while weight savings have made the car more agile in corners.
At the moment Ferrari seems to be suffering from the deficit, especially in terms of top speed. Just like in Jeddah, Charles Leclerc couldn’t react to Verstappen’s DRS attack in Miami, but he couldn’t counter with DRS either. According to Martin Brundle, if that stays the case, Ferrari’s chances for the title will not look good. “Charles Leclerc and his Ferrari were once again the fastest combination on track, but again Ferrari had no answer to Red Bull’s excellent top speed, both with and without DRS,” Brundle said in his column for Sky Sports† “Both world championships will be for Red Bull unless Ferrari solve that with less drag at high speed.”
The advantage that Red Bull has in terms of top speed ensures that Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Perez also have a tactical advantage over their Ferrari colleagues. “Verstappen and Leclerc put in another impressive and mature drive but the Ferrari drivers just can’t overtake as easily as Leclerc did in Bahrain with Verstappen. This gives Max and Perez the luxury of watching their tires and waiting, knowing that they can overtake later on the straight with relatively little risk,” explains Brundle.
Brundle saw a way Ferrari could have won the battle with Red Bull in Miami. However, the former Formula 1 driver, who first appeared on British television as a commentator after abandoning the race, failed to see the Italian formation seize the opportunity offered by the virtual safety car period. “Ferrari most likely would have wished they had brought at least one of their cars during the inevitable virtual safety car and full safety car after Pierre Gasly collided with Lando Norris on a relatively narrow section of the track. Verstappen was out at the time. that the VSC had already passed the pit entrance.”