When the Miami Grand Prix was announced for the 2022 F1 calendar, there was a lot of built-up excitement from the organisers. Unfortunately, the Miami Grand Prix ended up being viewed as one of the most dull races from last year’s calendar by fans.
What happened in 2022?
As expected, the fight for pole on Saturday’s qualifying was between the Ferraris and the Red Bulls. Charles Leclerc of Ferrari was the one to claim pole position with his teammate Carlos Sainz locking out the front row. Max Verstappen made a mistake on his last Q3 run, which meant that he had to abandon the lap and settle for third place, and his teammate Sergio Perez crossed the line to take fourth.
When Sunday came, the inaugural Miami Grand Prix kicked off with Charles Leclerc comfortably taking the lead. Behind him, Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen battled into turn 1, with the Dutchman coming out of the corner having successfully overtaken the Ferrari.
There wasn’t much excitement until lap 39, when Verstappen overtook Leclerc into turn 1 with the help of DRS, and later that lap when two cars made contact. Fernando Alonso had tried to overtake Pierre Gasly into turn 1, but was unable to do so without making contact. Alonso hadn’t managed to pass the Alpha Tauri driver and was also given a 5 second penalty for the contact.
On lap 41, Pierre Gasly was involved in another incident. Gasly had initially gone off the track and was in the middle of trying to correct his mistake when he went into the side of Lando Norris. The McLaren driver spun violently, immediately lost his right rear tyre, and was therefore forced to retire from the race. The collision led to a Virtual Safety Car and then the Safety Car being deployed.
There was a battle between the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, as well as former Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas on lap 49. Valtteri went wide, which allowed both Mercedes drivers to breeze past him.
Throughout the entire race, the battle for third between Perez and Sainz was evident and seemed imminent, but just too far out of reach each time it seemed. But finally, on lap 52 it looked like an overtake would be made. With DRS, Perez went for the inside line into turn 1 but ultimately outbraked himself, with the lockup allowing Sainz to stay third.
A few laps before the chequered flag, on lap 54, the friendly pair of Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher turned sour rivals. The two had been battling for a few corners when at turn 1 – where all the action seemed to be happening that race – Mick miscalculated the gap and ran into the side of Vettel. Both Germans sustained damage, but were able to go to the end of the race, with Mick finishing 15th and Vettel 17th.
The race ended as expected, with Max Verstappen claiming his third win of the season, the Ferrari pair taking up the second and third steps of the podium respectively, and Sergio Perez finishing fourth.
That race had fans disappointed, and fans do not seem too excited about racing in Miami again. Fans believe that the result has already been decided.
Is the 2023 result already set in stone?
If we thought 2022 was a predictable season, the first four rounds of the 2023 season have shown us what predictable really looks like. Especially at Baku, where for the first time in the track’s history, we got a repeat winner in Sergio Perez, who drives a Red Bull. Red Bull have won every race but ONE since 24th July of 2022, so this was expected.
It is expected that Miami will bring us the same result – a Red Bull win. If we’re lucky, Aston Martin, Mercedes and Ferrari might bring on some competition on Saturday during qualifying, but on Sunday’s race, with the speed of the Red Bulls under DRS, we are most likely going to see the Austrian team pick up yet another win.
We’ll find out if that’s all true on Sunday the 7th of May, when Formula One goes racing again in the city of Miami.