until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Verstappen resists Leclerc for Miami Grand Prix victory

by Josh Suttill
3 min read

Max Verstappen emerged victorious from Formula 1’s inaugural Miami Grand Prix after surviving a late safety car that allowed points leader Charles Leclerc to pressure him.

Verstappen had dominated the race prior to a late-race safety car that was triggered by a collision between Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris.

But when the race restarted, Leclerc was right on the back of Verstappen and when DRS was enabled, it appeared Leclerc might have an opportunity to overhaul him.

However, Verstappen fended off his advances and broke clear in the final laps to secure his third F1 victory of the 2022 season and cut Leclerc’s championship lead to 19 points.

Poleman Leclerc had held the lead at the start while Verstappen passed Leclerc’s Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz to move into second place and set about chasing down Leclerc.

It only took nine laps for Verstappen to make his move, with the Red Bull driver slipping past Leclerc into Turn 1 to seize the race lead.

Thereafter Verstappen built a comfortable margin, pumping in several fastest laps to extend his gap to around eight seconds, until Gasly – recovering from a whack from an overzealous Fernando Alonso into Turn 1 – ran wide through Turn 8 and collided with the McLaren of Norris on the exit.

Norris was spent spinning across the track and into retirement. The debris from his car inevitably required a safety car that set up a last 11-lap shootout.

Alonso was handed a five-second penalty for his contact with Gasly, while the AlphaTauri driver, who was unaware Norris was on his left, was forced to retire before the safety car restart.

On the restart, Verstappen held off Leclerc while Sainz was able to repel Sergio Perez’s advances to take the final space on the podium.

Perez had to battle power issues throughout the race and did briefly pass Sainz into Turn 1 with five laps left, but ran too deep and had to concede the place.

George Russell claimed fifth for Mercedes from 12th on the grid. He ran a long first stint on the hard tyres, opting to wait for a safety car which Gasly and Norris provided.

Russell restarted in seventh place and an error from Valtteri Bottas allowed Russell and his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to pass him.

Russell had to pass Hamilton twice as his first overtake was deemed to be off-track.

He took fifth place ahead of Hamilton, Bottas and the Alpine of Esteban Ocon who stormed from the pitlane to eighth place.

Ocon was promoted ahead of his team-mate Alonso who dropped to ninth after his five-second penalty. He’ll also face a post-race investigation for leaving the track and gaining an advantage.

Alex Albon earned his second points finish of the season for Williams by completing the top 10.

Mick Schumacher blew a golden opportunity to earn his maiden F1 points finish as he slammed into the side of his mentor Sebastian Vettel into Turn 1, having run eighth. The contact ended Vettel’s race after he had charged from the pitlane to the fringes of the top 10.

It wasn’t the only Haas-Aston Martin collision as Kevin Magnussen and another pitlane starter Lance Stroll collided in the closing stages.

Zhou Guanyu’s race ended after just seven laps when Alfa Romeo called 2022’s sole rookie into the pits with a terminal issue.

Race Results

Pos Name Car Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 57 48 1h34m24.258s 1m31.361s 1 26
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 57 8 +3.786s 1m31.488s 1 18
3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 57 1 +8.229s 1m31.79s 1 15
4 Sergio Pérez Red Bull 57 0 +10.638s 1m31.819s 2 12
5 George Russell Mercedes 57 0 +18.582s 1m32.195s 1 10
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 57 0 +21.368s 1m32.941s 1 8
7 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 57 0 +25.073s 1m33.184s 1 6
8 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 57 0 +28.386s 1m33.163s 1 4
9 Alex Albon Williams-Mercedes 57 0 +32.365s 1m33.447s 1 2
10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 57 0 +37.026s 1m33.312s 1 1
11 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 57 0 +37.128s 1m33.331s 1 0
12 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Red Bull 57 0 +40.146s 1m33.035s 2 0
13 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 57 0 +40.902s 1m33.265s 2 0
14 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 57 0 +49.936s 1m34.169s 1 0
15 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 57 0 +1m13.305s 1m32.528s 2 0
Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 56 0 DNF 1m33.511s 3 0
Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 54 0 DNF 1m33.479s 2 0
Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Red Bull 45 0 DNF 1m34.487s 3 0
Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 39 0 DNF 1m33.411s 1 0
Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 5 0 DNF 1m35.731s 1 0
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