Flow Rider: Max Verstappen Clinches Inaugural Miami Grand Prix

The Red Bull driver held off the spirited challenge of points leader Charles Leclerc in Florida
22:25, 08 May 2022

Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing have clinched the inaugural Miami Grand Prix. The reigning Formula One World Champion fought a running battle with Charles Leclerc, who started the day in pole, and held off a considerable challenge from the Ferrari man to win. Leclerc and Carlos Sainz secured a Ferrari double in 2nd and 3rd. The pair had started the day locking out the front row of the grid, the first time Ferrari had done so since Mexico in 2019.

Leclerc started the race brilliantly, but Verstappen was able to throw the gauntlet down early when he went outside Sainz to take second on turn one. Lap nine saw Verstappen take advantage of his straight-line speed with DRS enabled on turn one, allowing him to seize the lead from Leclerc. It was an advantage he never looked like giving up. 

Verstappen had a vast lead before Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris clashed. The safety car saw the field bunched and Verstappen’s runaway lead reduced. But Max held off the challenge of the points leader to etch his name in history as the first ever winner of the Miami Grand Prix 

Lewis Hamilton spent much of the race engaged in Mercedes civil war with George Russell. The Brit was perturbed early on, complaining to his team about rear damage. While the teammates duked it out, they showed fine teamwork to overtake Valtteri Bottas as a unit. The Mercedes pair finished fifth and sixth, with Hamilton adopting the junior position that he won’t want to grow accustomed to.

Carlos Sainz fought off some spirited work from Sergio Perez in the Red Bull. The Mexican complained he was losing power just when it looked like he was shaping to overtake with DRS enabled. The issue was not a long-running one, and Perez rallied to finish fourth, but his lap times did drop for a while in the middle laps.

There was a gutting ending for Mick Schumacher, who looked on for his best ever F1 finish. Sebastian Vettel, who had started from the pit lane due to a fuel temperature issue, was running ninth when Schumacher hit him in the back. Alex Albon nicked in for tenth to clinch his second points of the season, while Vettel withdrew and Schumacher dropped out of the points.

In the glamorous surroundings of Miami, under the watchful eye of everyone from Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jordan to Pharrell Williams and David Beckham, Florida certainly felt like a viable Formula One locale. After another fine Grand Prix victory, it will probably be a location Max Verstappen is keen to return to.

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