Max Verstappen Passes Both Ferrari’s to Continue Winning Trend

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 08: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Miami at the Miami International Autodrome on May 08, 2022 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202205090378 // Usage for editorial use only //

Max Verstappen overtook both Ferrari’s to win the first Miami Grand Prix, his 23rd Grand Prix victory.

The Dutchman, who started third, passed Carlos Sainz at the start and then snatched the lead from pole-sitter Charles Leclerc on lap nine.

The 2021 world champion continued his phenomenal form in 2022 of winning every time he has reached the end of the grand prix.

Verstappen cuts eight points from Leclerc’s championship lead, as he collected an extra point for setting the fastest lap of the race, reducing his deficit to 19-points.

A visibly drained 24-year-old said: “It was an incredible Grand Prix, very physical. Incredibly happy with winning here in Miami, it was an incredible Sunday for us.”

“It feels amazing to win in Miami, the whole atmosphere this weekend has been incredible and to win in the US is always a nice feeling. It was a physically tough race; I think I must have lost around 3kgs! We had a really good pace on the minimum tire, that for sure helped to make my race. Once we had the pitstop I was just managing my time to Charles, I think we were very closely matched on the hard tire. Then the safety car came out which made it more entertaining for the fans, I had to push hard today but we made it work. I’m super pleased for the Team, we didn’t have a great start to the weekend so we’ve come far, a big thank you to everyone.”

Ferrari had to settle for second and third, despite having locked out the front row in qualifying.

Leclerc had led the early laps, before he ran into tyre wear troubles, allowing Verstappen to pounce.

The Monegasque gave chase for the win following the late safety car, but the Ferrari lacked the straight-line speed to keep the Red Bull under pressure.

Ferrari have now been beaten in three consecutive races, including the sprint at Imola.

The Scarlet cars head to round six in Spain, Sainz’ home race, needing to win.

Red Bull and Verstappen Superior Again

Red Bull had been long renowned for their high-rake, high downforce philosophy, in the previous design rule set, which generally saw them lack straight-line speed.

The RB18 however, is the most potent machine where top speed matters most.

Verstappen tracked his opponent throughout the opening laps, having muscled his way around the outside of former Toro Rosso teammate Carlos Sainz at turn one.

Leclerc’s Ferrari began to damage its front right tyre, in similar fashion to the Imola sprint, allowing Verstappen to execute a straightforward overtake into turn one, with the assistance of DRS.

Once behind, Leclerc simply didn’t have an answer to the speed of the Red Bull in the areas it would make a difference.

Regularly, the timing screen for sector one, would light up purple next to Leclerc’s name but the same would happen just as often in sector two alongside Verstappen’s name.

The critical second sector contained the first long straight, with a DRS zone, where Verstappen could go as fast, if not faster than the Ferrari, even without DRS.

The Red Bull’s strength in this area was hammered home after the safety car restart on lap 47, following a collision between Lando Norris McLaren and Pierre Gasly’s Alpha Tauri, which ended the Englishman’s race.

For several laps, Leclerc hounded his Dutch rival but was never able to get enough of a run to have a legitimate attempt at taking back the lead.

Despite his best efforts, the Monegasque had to settle for second best, as he did in Saudi Arabia, while Verstappen took the chequered flag first.

Verstappen’s win was all the more impressive considering his lack of Friday running with reliability issues and an error in Q3, which cost him pole position.

Red Bull has a package that is able to recover from behind, with the potency of their straight-line speed, which then aids in keeping the car in front on the straights, putting them in a formidable championship position.

At the end of a satisfying weekend in Miami, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner is looking forward to another strong run of results as the paddock returns to Europe.

“It was a real tactical race today and we threw everything we had at it, we were quite lucky that Ferrari didn’t pit under the safety car, Max was under so much pressure from Charles Leclerc but he kept focus and didn’t make any mistakes and was gradually able to break the DRS, which was very powerful today and manage the victory from there. Checo was really unlucky today, he had a sensor issue early on and lost about 30 horsepower, and he gave it a real go when we pitted him and gave him the tyre advantage and without that issue he may even have finished second. We’ve got some interesting races coming up, the car is running well, we have some development coming in the summer and we need to lose some weight, but we’re pleased with what we’ve come away with this weekend,” concluded Horner.

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