Juan Pablo Montoya reckons that Ferrari and Charles Leclerc will struggle to keep a resurgent Max Verstappen behind in Miami, as Red Bull's RB18 took a clear step forward at Imola. Having retired from two of the first three races of the season, Verstappen bounced back in dominant fashion at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix to lead Red Bull's first 1-2 in six years. With Ferrari yet to introduce major upgrades to their F1-75, Montoya believes the likelihood of wet running this weekend makes the Dutch driver the favourite. "I think the biggest winner from a wet track would be Max," Montoya told the Vegas Insider. "Max would have a big advantage. He seems to be very strong and comfortable in the wet." But, if the weekend remains dry, Montoya reckons the advantage could swing back towards Leclerc and Ferrari: "If it's dry, I would probably put my money on Ferrari."
Will Leclerc's Imola mistake be playing on his mind?
Montoya praised Verstappen for his performance at Imola, and believes the mental battle for the championship is starting to kick off. Pointing to Charles Leclerc's costly mistake late in the race, the former Williams and McLaren racer thinks that Leclerc will have that moment in the back of his mind. "If the Max Verstappen from Imola shows up, Ferrari and Leclerc will struggle to beat him," he said. "It will be interesting to see what Charles does after the mistake last week – if he keeps committing and everything works great, or if he goes down a notch on performance just to be cautious and not make a mistake. "If you do that, then you'll put yourself in a bad situation, because you take performance away. "Unless the team went to him and said, 'Just keep pushing, don't worry about it' – if they said that to him, he could still win the race." But Montoya said his money is firmly on Verstappen for this weekend. "If I was a betting person, I would probably put my money on Max. Especially with the Miami weather," he summed up.