Red Bull started the Miami race weekend very poorly, with just 15 laps for Max Verstappen on Friday. That caused the Dutchman to fall back ahead of qualifying but was no longer felt 24 hours later. “Overall, it was a good race to catch up for Max. He lost a lot of driving time on Friday and couldn’t do a long run. If you think about it, he drove really well on Sunday,” Christian Horner told the camera before the race. viaplay to know.
The team boss had indicated in advance that Verstappen had to take at least one Ferrari in the opening lap to thwart the Scuderia team game. When the lights went out, it turned out that this could also be done from the clean side of the grid. “Max got off to a good start and made the second overtaking when it was necessary,” Horner points out overtaking Leclerc at the beginning of the ninth lap. That seemed to be the decisive move early on, although safety car interventions are nice, as you know, in sprint races. “The pressure after the safety car phase was immense,” said Horner. “Leclerc gave everything he had. Fortunately, Max had just enough to endure.”
Like last year, a title fight to the end?
“Ferrari had a very good car in the first sector and with these DRS zones we couldn’t get rid of Leclerc. Every time Max could make a small hole, he would come back with the help of DRS. It really took Max five or six It laps to put the lead in second. As I said, the pressure was immense, one wheel locked and it was done,” Horner continued, looking back. This mental pressure added to the physical wear and tear. “It was extremely hot and the humidity was also very high. I think every driver has already lost a few kilos.”
The latter also applies to Horner himself because of the tension: “It will be the same as last season,” he compares the Verstappen-Leclerc duel with the duel with Lewis Hamilton in 2021. Just like last year, the whole season is great for the sport, but not good for my blood pressure,” laughs the team boss. Verstappen now concedes nineteen points to Leclerc among the drivers – also because of the fastest race lap in Miami – among the constructors, Horner’s men are only six points behind despite three DNFs.