F1 Miami GP 2022: Miami F1 GP 2022: Verstappen unyielding to pressure from Leclerc

Max Verstappen (Red Bull) has won an exciting F1 Miami GP 2022 this Sunday at the International Miami Autodrome. The Dutchman held off Charles Leclerc‘s (Ferrari) late attack after a safety car got away with the distance between them on the final laps. 

An outstanding Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) completed the podium after repelling  Checo Pérez‘s (Red Bull) final offensive, who came after him on fresher tires. Mercedes´ George Russell & Lewis Hamilton completed the top six.

The winner and current world champion has demonstrated once again what he’s made of, with this his third win of the season after Saudi Arabia &  Emilia-Romagna and 23rd of his Formula One career. What a dominant performance, leading the race from lap nine for the Duth Lion! Following his success, with fastest lap and all, he has narrowed his distance with Leclerc, still at the lead, to 19 points (104 vs 85). Ferrari must be worried about Red Bull´s improvement.

Leclerc holds on to the pole until the arrival of Verstappen  

Leclerc managed to hold on to his pole at the start. His teammate Sainz, on the other hand, relinquished his second place to Verstappen, who had started in third. Behind the Spaniard, Pérez and Bottas kept their respective fourth and fifth positions. 

Completed the first two laps and Leclerc momentarily escaped 1,1 seconds ahead of the Dutchman, but the latter wouldn’t give up and soon caught up with him. On the 9th lap, Verstappen finally devoured the Monegasque at the end of the straight. The likely issues with the Ferrari tires had played in favour of the defending champion but they were both still running very close together. 

The battle for the leadership allowed Sainz and Pérez to remain close to the head of the race. Only 5 seconds separated the four leading cars. Slowly, and thanks to a small mistake by Leclerc, Max cruised ahead increasing his advantage from 1,6 to 2,6 seconds. By lap 16 his rhythm was unattainable. Soon he was running 4,5 seconds ahead of Leclerc who was followed by his Spanish teammate at roughly the same distance. 

War on the pits 

The title rivals began their pit dance on lap 25. The first one to visit the garage was Leclerc who changed his mediums for hards. Verstappen would follow suit a lap later. 

On the following tour, it was Sainz’s turn, which suffered a dreadful, 5,4 seconds stop which could have well cost him the podium. Not in vain, Checo, after a 3,4 second stop, was on the prowl behind.  

Following the first round of stops, the Miami GP resumed unchanged with Verstappen leading Leclerc by 7,6 seconds. The Dutchman asserted his authority by taking the fastest lap. Sainz followed in third. Despite being held back by his front right wheel during his atrocious pit stop, he was already 12 seconds from his teammate and five ahead of Pérez.  

 

Safety car: Things get exciting at the top 

When the fate of the race seemed decided, Lando Norris (McLaren) and Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri) crashed on lap 41, turning everything upside down. The safety car came on lap 42 after a period of virtual safety car. Pérez quickly took advantage of the situation to mount medium compounds and go after Sainz on resuming the race, which happened on the 46th lap, with 11 to go. 

As the safety car left the track Max got a few metres and 0,7 seconds over Leclerc, at the same time as Pérez, in fourth, endeavoured to hunt Sainz down, third. Despite every attempt from the pursuers to steal the position ahead, nothing would change now.

Max maintained his spectacular defence to victory, so much so that Leclerc finally gave up in the final laps, falling back by over three seconds. Similarly, Sainz fended Pérez off, despite both lightly touching with six laps left for the end.  

Images of F1 Miami GP 2022: Red Bull Racing.

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