until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Ricciardo's heroics and Hamilton's misery: Miami GP sprint takeaways

by Ben Anderson
3 min read

Max Verstappen took his almost inevitable victory in Formula 1’s 2024 Miami sprint race but, like in sprint qualifying, he seemed not to enjoy driving his Red Bull all that much in the process.

Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari survived a pre-race pitlane collision with Esteban Ocon’s Alpine to give Verstappen’s Red Bull some genuine hassle through the opening lap.

But the safety car neutralised any momentum Leclerc built up.

Miami GP F1 safety car

And after the restart the Ferrari driver was never able to get within DRS range so ended up driving the remaining 16 of the 19 laps in effective stalemate with Verstappen.

Even with Verstappen complaining his Red Bull felt “terrible, zero rear grip, like quali yesterday”, there was just no opening for Leclerc.


Sprint qualifying was the most impressive thing Daniel Ricciardo has done in an F1 car so far in 2024 - the best thing he’s done since Mexico qualifying in 2023.

When Sergio Perez ran deep into Turn 1 after the start, Ricciardo got his RB into the top three and the (sprint) podium looked on.

It didn’t end that way. Perez managed to repass Ricciardo with DRS shortly after the restart - a crucial move to avoid being upstaged by one of the drivers in a lesser car looking to steal his drive away for 2025.

Ricciardo’s RB doesn’t belong in the top six of a Formula 1 race. Its natural pace dictates it’s a marginal top 10 contender really. But as the tyres wilted in 42°C track temperatures, Ricciardo impressively clung to fourth place despite Sainz’s best efforts to attack in the final laps.


Lando Norris should have been on pole and in position to beat Verstappen to victory in this race, but the mess he and McLaren made of his SQ3 lap on Friday meant he started back in ninth.

That put him at risk of being collected by other cars if there was any chaos at the start - and so there was.

Norris tried his best to keep out of the way on the outside line, but became the innocent victim of a three-way collision between Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes and the Aston Martins of Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll.

Hamilton was certainly aggressive on the brakes; Stroll probably turned in without realising Alonso was alongside him. The stewards opted to show customary lap-one leniency.

Oscar Piastri at least upheld McLaren honour, in the less-upgraded version of the car, following Sainz home to complete the top six.


After surviving that bump with Alonso, Hamilton ran ninth behind the Haas duo of Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen.

Hamilton tried several times to pass Magnussen into Turn 11 and Magnussen defended with typical aggression.

Too much aggression, as it turned out. He copped multiple penalties for cutting the track and going outside track limits, and admitted afterwards he doesn't like doing this but "needs to play the game".

The "game" in question was that the Magnussen roadblock protected Hulkenberg’s seventh place and ensured Haas banked two points from this race.

Hamilton managed to re-pass Yuki Tsunoda’s RB for the final point for eighth (after Magnussen was penalised), only to receive a drive-through penalty of his own for speeding in the pitlane.

That capped a miserable race for Mercedes, in which the multi-car first-corner incident condemned George Russell to a laboured recovery drive from 14th to 12th, finishing behind the Sauber of Zhou Guanyu.

Ricciardo’s result showed it wasn’t easy for much quicker cars to get past midfield ones in such a hot, tyre-limited race, but even so the lack of race pace in a Mercedes that features a heavily updated floor this weekend will be troubling for the Brackley engineers.

That car looked about as underwhelming over a race stint as it did in sprint qualifying on Friday.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks