Formula 1 is in Miami for the first time this weekend, where the organization has set up a circuit around Hard Rock Stadium. On Friday, the drivers were able to familiarize themselves with the track for the first time in the two Friday practice sessions. The circuit has yet to make a lasting impression on Sergio Perez. The Red Bull Racing driver finished third in free practice two, around two tenths of a second behind fastest man George Russell and appears to be good in terms of speed. At the same time, Perez is concerned about the race the Miami track will deliver.
“I’m a bit disappointed because there’s no grip next to the ideal line. It’s a shame because I think it makes the race a lot more difficult,” explains Perez. He experienced this twice in the second practice session in Miami: first the Mexican spun at the exit of turn 8, later he had to go through the run-out lane after overtaking Sebastian Vettel in turn 11. “Once you try to go over the line, there’s just no grip. Then you are done. Outside the racing line it feels very gritty so it will be very difficult to race here.”
In addition, the qualifying and race preparations were far from optimal due to red flags, which proved necessary in both VT1 and VT2. The second practice was even interrupted twice, leaving Perez with little knowledge to work towards the race. “It was a very chaotic session. Overall I did one fast lap on medium and two fast laps on soft. We couldn’t really run on a lot of fuel because of the red flags and the time we lost with them. We’re actually approaching the race blindly,” says Perez, who also notes that this applies to almost all drivers. “We seem to have a little more idea about qualifying, but that can change very quickly here due to the weather.”
Friday in Miami was dramatic for Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen. After just 14 laps in the first practice session, his gearbox was changed as a precaution. When the Dutchman was finally able to drive off after half an hour, he had a hydraulic problem.