When the entire front row of the grid went to Ferrari on Saturday and Red Bull had to be content with Max Verstappen in P3, the leaders of these teams were absolutely not unsure. In fact, confidence for the race was high. Christian Horner explained that Red Bull have opted for a different set-up to Ferrari and the data shows that too. Once again the RB18 ran faster on straights and that proved to be one of the deciding factors on Sunday, both when attacking in the early stages and defending without DRS in the closing stages.
Another factor – and the point that Verstappen himself cited as crucial – was Red Bull’s speed on medium. Usually a little less downforce means more tire wear, but at the Miami International Autodrome the situation was comparable to the sprint race at Imola: not Verstappen but Leclerc was the first of the title contenders to start thinking about the rubber and managing things. Those are two factors that have given Red Bull the upper hand despite the late safety car and will be addressed in detail in a new episode of the F1 update.
Of course, attention is also paid to the bad luck of Sergio Perez, who drove around with less power after a sensor problem and missed a podium place. Behind the Mexican, George Russell was the best Mercedes driver, which the young Brit managed to do, among other things, through tactical thinking. Russell conceded the safety car was a stroke of luck, but unlike Lewis Hamilton, he dared to lead the team. The final question, of course, is what this weekend in Miami says for what’s to come: have trend lines emerged that will also play a role in the upcoming rounds, or is Barcelona so different that Ferrari (with upgrades) can easily fight back? Everything is covered in the video at the top of this page.
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