Max Verstappen had a mountain to climb from 9th o the grid but thanks to his dominant Red Bull RB19 he still managed to make it look easy to take the Miami Grand Prix victory. Team mate Sergio Perez led the entire race until 5 laps from the end as Fernando Alonso completed the podium.
The start was clean affair without any incidents. Sergio Perez easily took the lead from pole with Alonso and Sainz following up behind. Gasly, Russell and Leclerc all gained a spot thanks to Magnussen somewhat missing his start and dropping 3 positions.
Verstappen didn’t make any positions at the start while the cars around him switched positions. Bottas moved up from 10th to 8th as Ocon did the reverse. Verstappen, who started on the hardest compound tyres then took back Bottas for 8th before taking Magnussen and Leclerc at once leaving Leclerc to lose two positions in this event.
As Verstappen followed that up with several fastest laps to chase down Russell, Williams’s Sargeant and both McLarens pitted very early. Sergeant exchanged his mediums to fresh hard tyres on lap 2 while the McLarens found their softs insuitable for the conditions after 4 and 5 laps.
In lap 8 and then lap 9 Verstappen passed Russell and Gasly. The Dutchman seemed unbothered by the shortened DRS zone and made two clean passes at the end of the straight. Russell cheekily followed Verstappen through to snatch Gasly’s position away.
As Alonso steadily lost several tenths a lap to race leader Perez it was on lap 13 and 14 that Verstappen worked – or rather eased – his way past Sainz and Alonso. This resulting in the Red Bulls again in position 1 and 2, 3.604s apart from one another.
From the top 10 runners it was Gasly who blinked first to pit, changing to hard tyres on lap 17. Russell and Leclerc did so the next lap. Sainz followed up another lap later, diving into the pitlane while being seemingly glued to Alonso’s rear wing.
It was clear at the time that the mediums were starting to suffer. Verstappen on the other hand kept on getting closer to Perez until the latter was pitted before there was any chance of a fight on track. The Mexican emerged out of the pitlane in third place, 14s behind Alonso. The Spaniard wasn’t too bothered with wearing mediums and kept going, still recording personal bests before eventually pitting on lap 25. The Aston Martin driver returned to the track in 5th place in the middle of a 3s gap between Sainz and Hamilton.
After Alonso lost a position to Sainz by pitting 6 laps later, the Spaniard soon overhauled his compatriot and went on to move up into third place by passing Esteban Ocon. The latter was struggling ever more with his 28-lap old tyres and saw Sainz pass him for fourth one lap later as well. Ocon and Sainz would exchange positions repeatedly the next few laps but they’d both eventually be surpassed by Russell.
The other Ferrari steered by Charles Leclerc meanwhile was less successful and struggled in 13th position, unable to make any serious progress towards Stroll and Magnussen ahead of him.
By lap 41, Verstappen has increased his lead to 18.1 seconds, nearing what is required to make a pitstop without losing the lead. Hamilton and Ocon had meanwhile already switched their hard tyres from the start to mediums. The tyres easily enabled both to set personal bests with Hamilton for instance lapping 1.3s quicker than Magnusssen who ran 4s ahead of him.
Verstappen pitted at the end of lap 45 but it was Perez who took the lead again. The two were close though and Verstappen did a purple S3 to show he wasn’t going to settle for second this time around. At the back straight Perez defended well to not give the lead away but as has been clear often this race, the next pit straight DRS zone allowed for another attempt, this time enabling Verstappen to be side by side at Turn 1 and then power away on the fresh medium tyres.
Verstappen rounded off his weekend by setting fastest lap, making it a perfect score for him and also for Red Bull Racing. Fernando Alonso finished 26s behind the race leader and also consolidated his third place in the championship standings.
Pos.No.DriverCarLapsTimePts11Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt571:27:38.24126211Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt57+5.384s18314Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes57+26.305s15463George RussellMercedes57+33.229s12555Carlos SainzFerrari57+42.511s10644Lewis HamiltonMercedes57+51.249s8716Charles LeclercFerrari57+52.988s6810Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault57+55.670s4931Esteban OconAlpine Renault57+58.123s21020Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari57+62.945s11122Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Honda Rbpt57+64.309s01218Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes57+64.754s01377Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari57+71.637s01423Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes57+72.861s01527Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari57+74.950s01624Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari57+78.440s0174Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes57+87.717s01821Nyck De VriesAlphatauri Honda Rbpt57+88.949s01981Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes56+1 lap0202Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes56+1 lap0
Note – Verstappen scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap of the race.
F1: RaceGP Miami