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Miami Grand Prix 2023

Winners and Losers from the 2023 Miami Grand Prix

It was not a memorable race in Miami - but the big winner and loser finished one-two as their private title battle swung firmly one way.

Start Miami
To news overview © XPBimages

In the end, it was all rather run of the mill for Red Bull in the Miami Grand Prix as they eased to a fourth Formula 1 one-two from five races.

Max Verstappen carved through the field and then hunted down Sergio Perez to take the win and assert his control over his teammate as their exclusive title battle went 3-2 in Verstappen's favour.

Indeed, it was a quiet race in Miami with no yellow flags or Virtual or full Safety Cars required.

Arguably the pre-race show will be what this race is remembered for with Sir Jackie Stewart being man-handled by security on the grid during Martin Brundle's grid-walk while trying to get Roger Federer for an interview.

LL Cool J introduced the drivers with Will.I.Am egging him on as he released his new F1-based song 'The Formula.'

It won't go down as a classic.

Anyhow, we start our run-down of the race with the World Champion.

Winner - Max Verstappen

Was it ever in doubt?

Despite starting ninth after his mistake in qualifying and then not being able to set a Q3 lap, Verstappen was still favourite for the win - even with teammate Perez on pole.

He was up to second by Lap 15 having scythed through the field and his work between Perez's Lap 20 stop and his own on Lap 45 was immense.

Despite Perez having the fresher tyres, he could not reel Verstappen in and reduce the 15 second advantage. Instead Verstappen built on it.

By the time he pitted, he had got it up to about 18 seconds, and emerged from the pits on the fresh Mediums just 1.2s behind the sister RB19.

He wisely backed out of sending it around the outside of Turn 17 on Lap 47, but moments later at Turn 1 on Lap 48, that was that.

A mighty fine weekend - and it'll take an almighty effort to loosen his grip on that World Championship trophy.

What did Verstapen say?

"I picked the cars off one by one, and then I could stay out really long on the Hard tyres, and that's where I think we made the difference today, and then had a good little battle with Checo at the end."

			© RN365/Michael Potts
	© RN365/Michael Potts

Loser - Sergio Perez

And on the flip side, we have Perez.

He nailed the start and was comfortably outside the DRS activation zone of Fernando Alonso by Lap 3, but he didn't get much further than that.

Perez did not build the lead he needed to with it being a sure bet of Verstappen coming for him.

It was only 3.9s by the time Verstappen made it into P2, having dealt with all the traffic after a slightly tardy start.

Perez was slightly unlucky in that the Hard-Medium strategy was clearly the quickest way to run the race with the track being rubbered in more and lighter fuel loads protecting the Medium rubber as opposed to the green circuit and full tanks he used them on - but starting the pole-sitter on Hards was a risky move that Red Bull did not take.

He was defenceless and it was an easy kill. This was his golden chance to get a punch in the title battle, but this was firmly Verstappen's round.

What did Perez say?

"I gave it all. I think the first stint was really poor with the graining that we had on that initial pace and that compromise quite a lot our race, because we didn't have too much of a defence on tyres."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Winner - Mercedes

After qualifying on Saturday, Toto Wolff was as critical of the Mercedes W14 as he's ever been, calling it "a nasty piece of work."

But it was slightly better on Sunday in Miami - especially once Lewis Hamilton cleared the DRS train he was caught in.

He put in a stunning overtake on Charles Leclerc late to take grab sixth, which coupled with George Russell's fourth represented a solid result.

Their much-vaunted upgrade package is coming for the next round in Imola which the team hope will set them on the right path as opposed to providing a boost to compete with Red Bull.

Third-place in the standings and just six points behind Aston Martin is a great position to be given the form of the W14 and AMR23 this season. Now, can Mercedes kick on?

What did Hamilton say?

"Eventually, I was able to start making headway, and then once I had done the stop and got back out on the [Mediums], that's when I was able to really start to push. So the car came alive a bit midway through the race and to get from thirteenth to sixth, I'm pretty happy with that, unfortunately we started so far behind."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Loser - Ferrari

This weekend can be filed under 'one that got away.'

Ferrari's pace was respectable throughout practice, but Leclerc chucking it at the wall in qualifying was where things went downhill.

His race was one of toil in the midfield, unable to carve through a la Verstappen despite starting ahead of the race-winner while the strategy call to undercut Fernando Alonso was expertly pulled off.

Except that Sainz sped entering the pit-lane, at which time the podium that was within his grasp was lost.

Their poor tyre degradation was on full show in the latter half of the race as Sainz slipped to fifth and Leclerc was done by Hamilton for sixth.

On a weekend where a podium (read third place) was the minimum, fifth and seventh is a poor return.

What did Leclerc say?

"What we are lacking is consistency in the car. It's not even from corner to corner, it's just in the same corner I can have a huge oversteer rebalance and then a huge understeer balance; our car is so wind affected."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Winner - Alpine

Given the advantage of the big four teams, the highest realistically any team can aim for is ninth - but given Lance Stroll's troubles, Alpine banked eighth and ninth.

Not a standout result granted, but after the horror of Baku, a quiet weekend with both cars in the points was the perfect tonic.

Pierre Gasly faded badly late on as he was forced into fuel saving with the race running caution-free, but still claimed eighth with Ocon slotting in behind.

Boss Laurent Rossi slammed the "amateurish" nature of their start to the season before the race, but this was a weekend the team needed. No fuss, nothing flashy, just scoring points after the sluggish start. It is something to build on.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Loser - McLaren

Not a lot went right for McLaren in Miami.

Lando Norris posted a third 17th place finish of the season and Oscar Piastri was 19th, suffering from a long brake pedal.

Their strategy of starting both on Softs to make up early places before switching under a Safety Car to get rid of the brittle rubber was a nice idea. On another day, it might have worked.

Norris even went back one place from where he qualified as it was made clear that their upgrade package in Baku was not meant to transform the MCL60 but to create a more stable platform.

It's been a season of underachievement in the early flyaway races, and so a return to the upper midfield is a must on the return to Europe in two weeks.

Take away the Australian Grand Prix result, and the team would only have two points courtesy of Norris in Azerbaijan...

What did Norris say?

" We had tried a different strategy, which required something exciting to happen during the race, but it didn’t work."

Also interesting:

Balve Bains is joined by RacingNews365.com Editorial Director Dieter Rencken and Asia Correspondent Michael Butterworth to dissect the key talking points from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

F1 2023 Miami Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


ANALYSIS Stroll is currently Aston Martin's weak link and is costing them