The race weekend in Florida got off to a miserable start for the number 1 driver. Due to a gearbox change and a technical defect, Max Verstappen was only able to complete the Miami International Autodrome fifteen times. Not ideal on a new track, although the Limburger took care of that afterwards. “What an insanely good result for Max in Miami. He looked very strong again throughout the race after a difficult start to the weekend. Due to problems with the car, he was hardly able to drive on Friday and you just need this time to finish the race. “Then I understand very well that he is a bit more testy.”
The lack of driving time still hampered Verstappen in qualifying on Saturday, but the moment in the final stages of Q3 proved not insurmountable. “It was a shame that he made a mistake in qualifying, but that can happen. It didn’t help that he didn’t know the track as well as usual.” 24 hours later, however, the Red Bull driver was able to quickly put things in order. Carlos Sainz was outwitted in the first corner combination and on lap nine Verstappen took the lead from World Cup leader Charles Leclerc.
What seemed to be a fairly relaxed afternoon (albeit relative to the physical exhaustion) followed, but the intervention of the safety car decided otherwise. “The final phase of the race was still exciting when the safety car came. Max had a hard time, you really pushed him on the pedals,” Jos continues in his column Verstappen.com† “But he knows exactly what he’s doing at that moment. I honestly expected Charles Leclerc to come by. With those DRS zones it was difficult to pull a gap. Luckily Max managed to hold the lead, he’s a tough racer.”
As a result, Verstappen conceded just nineteen points in the Championship while trailing Australia by 46 points. In just two race weekends, the gap has more than halved, so everything seems playable again. “It can go in all directions, but it’s clear that you just can’t get off,” says Jos. “If Red Bull’s reliability turns out to be good then I think Max will have another very strong season and we will have a nice duel between him and Leclerc.” This duel is decided not only by the drivers themselves, but also by the battle to develop the new cars. “Then the real question is which team will develop the car best and which upgrades work best right away.”