World Champion Verstappen wins first Formula 1 race in Miami
In front of 85,000 spectators at the premiere in Florida, Dutchman Max Verstappen shows his full strength and ultimately wins with confidence. Mick Schumacher is promising in the race for a long time, but he doesn’t finish on points.
Weltmeister Max Verstappen has immortalized himself in the history books as the number one winner on the new Formula 1 scene in Miami. Under the Florida sun, the Red Bull driver beat rival Charles Leclerc for the Ferrari title in a tough final lap duel on Sunday and narrowed the gap in the world championship standings with his third win in the fifth race of the season. Spaniard Carlos Sainz finished third in Ferrari’s second in the first race, which was only exciting at the end, ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.
Ahead of Barcelona’s guest appearance in two weeks’ time, Verstappen is now 19 points behind Monegasque Leclerc, who has been unable to use the top spot on the grid for success. Mick Schumacher also missed his first points in the 26th Formula 1 race of his career. In the home match of his American team Haas, the German raced to ninth for a long time before having to dig again in the final stage after contact with Sebastian Vettel and slipped to fifteenth place. Vettel, who had to leave the pit lane due to a fuel issue with Aston Martin, retired.
Formula 1 celebrated a three-day party on its debut in the South Florida capital in front of a completely sold-out house. Miami is the eleventh host nation in First Division history and has welcomed the racing series with great enthusiasm. “We are finally in North America,” said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff. In addition to Austin and Miami, Las Vegas is already the third location in the United States at the beginning of 2023.
The crowd of celebrities in Miami also delighted the race organizers and fans. Former First Lady Michelle Obama visited Lewis Hamilton’s garage, and soccer star Tom Brady and basketball legend Michael Jordan walked the field with soccer icon David Beckham. In the shadow of Hard Rock, the makers of the Grand Prix fed the fun factor with a man-made beach, a makeshift marina without water and plenty of shows.
The new 5.4 kilometer track has drawn some criticism from drivers. Because of the unusual asphalt mixture, many people began to slip. Turn 14, drivers were alarmed by the discomfort, which was also where serious accidents occurred in practice. The unusual nature of the course made some fear the Chaos Race.
But for a long time, things went well. Right at the start, Ferrari grabbed second place Verstappen and went in search of Leclerc. Things went as planned for Mick Schumacher at the start as well, and soon he was in 10th place.
The 23-year-old has also benefited from the misfortune at Aston Martin. Lance Stroll, who qualified for eighth, and teammate Vettel, who was supposed to start 13th, followed up on the field at the start after their technical problem.
Up front, Leclerc hasn’t been able to maintain the lead for long after his third place finish this year. His tires quickly deteriorated, Verstappen passed almost effortlessly on the ninth lap. The Dutchman pulled out a small pillow quickly.
Record champion Hamilton had no chance again in the fight for the top spots. The Mercedes driver has caused an uproar, especially with the row over the ban on jewels in the cockpit, which new German racing director Nils Wittish wants to enforce more forcefully in the future. While Hamilton reluctantly gets rid of his earrings and most of his piercings, he wants a special pass for the future.
However, defending champion Verstappen posted the greatest brilliance on the road. Great, he dominated the race in front of the Ferrari duo. Leclerc complained: “It’s hard to drive.” Even after the first tire changes, Verstappen remains clearly on top.
The violent collision between McLaren’s Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly’s Alpha Toure on lap 41 created new tension. The safety car slowed the field and Verstappen’s lead over the competition faded.
With 11 laps left, the race was free again. Leclerc stayed close to Verstappen this time around, also thanks to bypassing the DRS. But this was not enough to win. “It was a very tough race, and Red Bull had the speed advantage today,” Leclerc said. Verstappen took a breath and then said, “It was so exhausting. An incredible Sunday for us. I need a drink first.”