Formula 1

Verstappen comes from ninth to beat Perez to Miami GP win

by Matt Beer
3 min read

Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen came through from ninth on the grid to defeat Red Bull team-mate and title rival Sergio Perez for Miami Grand Prix victory.

Verstappen failing to set a Q3 lap thanks to a first-run error and then a red flag for Charles Leclerc’s crash gave Perez some hope of winning on a weekend his team-mate looked set to dominate.

But Verstappen made clinical progress and by the time he reached second place on lap 15 of 57 Perez was only four seconds ahead of him.

Most of Verstappen’s moves were set up using DRS on the long back straight and completed under braking, but the highlight was a two-at-once blast past the fiercely battling Charles Leclerc and Kevin Magnussen.

Perez had started on medium tyres and Verstappen on hards, meaning Perez relinquished a dwindling lead on lap 21 to swap to the harder rubber and Verstappen stayed out until lap 45 before making the opposite move.

At first Perez came back at Verstappen on his new hards and Red Bull predicted a late battle between them after Verstappen’s pitstop.

But as the race wore on and Perez’s pace faded a touch, it became clear that Verstappen had this in the bag.

He rejoined from his pitstop only 1.6s behind Perez and on softer tyres that were 24 laps fresher, so while Perez did do his best to hold Verstappen off when attacked, a change of lead and another Verstappen win was a foregone conclusion.

Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin returned to the podium in third, having hung on relatively well to Perez at first.

Alonso then came under pressure from Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari and was jumped by it in the pitstops. But Sainz incurred a pitlane speeding penalty in the process and then just lacked pace in the second stint on hards, being overtaken on the road by both Alonso and George Russell’s Mercedes.

Both Mercedes had strong races – Russell also overtaking Pierre Gasly in the first stint on his way to fourth and Lewis Hamilton converting 13th on the grid to sixth behind Sainz. Hamilton had a muted start, fearing damage from a first-corner brush with Nico Hulkenberg, then ran long on hards before charging on mediums.

It took 38 laps of often superb battling for Leclerc to clear qualifying star Magnussen’s Haas, and then Leclerc lost sixth late on to the charging Hamilton.

Magnussen began dropping down the field after losing out to Leclerc, but did manage to hang on for a point in 10th behind the Alpines of Gasly and Esteban Ocon.

McLaren’s disastrous qualifying was the prelude to an equally awful race. Neither driver made much ground on very brief early stints on soft tyres, Oscar Piastri finished 19th after race-long brake worries and Lando Norris 17th after being pushed onto the run-off area at the first corner by Nyck de Vries.

Race Results

Pos Name Car Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 57 0 1h27m38.241s 1m29.708s 0 26
2 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 57 0 +5.384s 1m30.56s 0 18
3 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin-Mercedes 57 0 +26.305s 1m30.519s 0 15
4 George Russell Mercedes 57 0 +33.229s 1m31.015s 0 12
5 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 57 0 +42.511s 1m31.362s 0 10
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 57 0 +51.249s 1m30.669s 0 8
7 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 57 0 +52.988s 1m31.434s 0 6
8 Pierre Gasly Alpine-Renault 57 0 +55.67s 1m31.971s 0 4
9 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 57 0 +58.123s 1m31.143s 0 2
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 57 0 +1m02.945s 1m31.691s 0 1
11 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT 57 0 +1m04.309s 1m31.038s 0 0
12 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 57 0 +1m04.754s 1m30.862s 0 0
13 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 57 0 +1m11.637s 1m31.838s 0 0
14 Alex Albon Williams-Mercedes 57 0 +1m12.861s 1m31.852s 0 0
15 Nico Hülkenberg Haas-Ferrari 57 0 +1m14.95s 1m30.901s 0 0
16 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 57 0 +1m18.44s 1m31.736s 0 0
17 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 57 0 +1m27.717s 1m32.401s 0 0
18 Nyck de Vries AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT 57 0 +1m28.949s 1m31.562s 0 0
19 Oscar Piastri McLaren-Mercedes 56 0 +1 lap 1m32.006s 0 0
20 Logan Sargeant Williams-Mercedes 56 0 +1 lap 1m32.384s 0 0
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