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Miami Grand Prix 2022

Verstappen pips Leclerc to victory in Miami after another late scrap

Max Verstappen has made it three victories from three finishes in 2022 after passing and beating Charles Leclerc to become the Miami Grand Prix's first-ever winner.

Verstappen Leclerc Miami
Article
To news overview © XPB Images

Max Verstappen secured victory from third on the grid at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix after passing World Championship rival Charles Leclerc to cut further into his points lead.

Leclerc, who at one stage reported his Ferrari was "so difficult to drive", led during the early laps but soon saw Verstappen catch and pass him.

The reigning World Champion was moving forward from lights out as he breezed past Carlos Sainz, who started the race on the dirty side of the grid, to take second.

After closing the gap to the race-leading Ferrari, which struggled with its tyres in the Miami heat, Verstappen made a pass for the lead on Lap 9 of 57 and stayed ahead until the chequered flag.

A late-race Safety Car, thrown with 17 laps to go, put Verstappen's win under threat, with Leclerc allowed to close up behind his rival – and just like in Saudi Arabia, the pair found themselves going toe-to-toe for the win during the final laps.

Sainz snatched the final podium place for his third top-three finish of the season, despite the other Red Bull of Sergio Perez being able to pit for faster, Medium tyres late in the race.

Red Bull given scare as Russell's wait for a Safety Car pays off

Red Bull were given a scare on Lap 20 when Perez reported a sudden loss of power. The Mexican was soon back up to speed, although the blip lost him plenty of ground in his battle with Sainz.

The Safety Car spun the race back in his favour, but despite a late lunge on the Ferrari, he was unable to find a way past in time for the chequered flag.

Lewis Hamilton completed several passes during the opening laps as he made up for a poor start off the line. He moved through Fernando Alonso and Pierre Gasly while his teammate, George Russell, held on with his Hard tyres on an alternate strategy, waiting for the perfectly-timed Safety Car to arrive.

That Safety Car allowed Russell to pit for Medium tyres and rejoin the race just behind Hamilton in seventh. Russell would, with the DRS (Drag Reduction System), pass Hamilton with eight laps to go.

A late mistake from Valtteri Bottas opened the door for Russell and Hamilton to take fifth and sixth respectively, ahead of the former Silver Arrows driver.

Esteban Ocon, Alonso (after a five-second time penalty for a clash with Gasly) and Alex Albon were the final top 10 finishers on another impressive day for the young Williams driver.

Result Race - Miami

Pos. Driver Team Time
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How was the race was decided?

It was Leclerc who led the race during the early laps, but Verstappen and his Red Bull had the pace to close the gap by Lap 6, as the Ferrari began to struggle with tyre life.

By Lap 8, Verstappen was on the back of his championship rival and managed to close the gap under DRS to complete the pass, much to the delight of the cheering Miami crowd.

Soon, the gap at the front had stretched to five seconds as Verstappen set two fastest laps in four attempts.

Ferrari then made the decision to pit Leclerc and swap his Soft tyres for Hards, with Verstappen responding and returning to the race track, on the Hard tyres, having only built his lead.

But a late-race Safety Car cut the gap at the front with Verstappen, Leclerc and Sainz (all at risk of losing track position) staying on Hard tyres, while Perez was able to gamble and pit for new Mediums.

Leclerc spent the final few laps trying and failing to find a way past his Verstappen, while Perez was unable to turn his tyre advantage into an overtake on Sainz.

Schumacher suffers again as McLaren struggle at important race

Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu became the race's first retiree on Lap 7 when he was called back to pit lane by his team due to technical issues.

Meanwhile, it was disaster for Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll before the race had even began when Aston Martin were forced to start both their cars from the pit lane due to a fuel issue.

Both drivers made moves through the field during the 57-lap race, with Vettel pulling off a remarkable overtake on Nicholas Latifi.

But a late crash between Vettel and Mick Schumacher ruined the German drivers' afternoons. Vettel retired, while Schumacher limped home in 15th. Stroll, meanwhile, was 12th, followed by Yuki Tsunoda and Latifi.

It proved a disappointing day for the McLaren cars during an important weekend for the brand. The team lacked pace all weekend, with Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo suffering through a frustrating afternoon around the Hard Rock Stadium.

And Norris' race came to a premature end when he made heavy contact with Gasly on Lap 41, bringing out the Safety Car. Gasly was also forced to retire following the incident, brought on by his own steering issues, while Ricciardo ended the race in 11th.

Haas - on home soil - lost their other driver, Kevin Magnussen, to retirement late on.

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F1 2022 Miami Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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