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Verstappen bests Leclerc to take victory at maiden Miami GP

09/05/22

The Dutchman has won each race he has finished.

Max Verstappen sealed his second straight Formula 1® win by getting the better of Charles Leclerc at the maiden Miami Grand Prix.

Reigning champion Verstappen – who started in third – got past Carlos Sainz and pole-sitter Leclerc in the early stages and never looked back.

It was not entirely plain sailing for the Red Bull driver, with a safety car deployed after Lando Norris collided with Pierre Gasly seeing his seven-second advantage evaporate.

Leclerc was on Verstappen's tail thereafter, but the Dutchman got out of DRS range by setting the fastest lap and cut the Monegasque's championship lead to 19 points.

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Verstappen got away well at lights out and dived down the outside of Sainz at Turn One, while DRS helped him reel in Leclerc by lap nine.

Leclerc was unable to retaliate with the Ferrari lacking pace on the straights, and Verstappen gradually established a lead of almost eight seconds.

The collision between Norris and Gasly, which forced both drivers to retire, initially brought out a virtual safety car on lap 41 of 57, but that was quickly upgraded to a full safety car.

Neither Verstappen nor Leclerc was able to get into the pits quick enough for fresh tyres, but the Ferrari man was seemingly energised by having the Red Bull back in his sights.

However, after failing to make a move, Leclerc started to lose time and Verstappen took the chequered flag in relative comfort.

Sainz earns podium

Following the disappointment of early retirements in Australia and Imola, Sainz did well to hold off the challenge of Sergio Perez in the closing stages and finish third.

Had a sensor issue not caused Perez to temporarily lose power earlier in the race, though, he could have been undercut in the pits by the Red Bull and missed out on his third-place finish.


Mercedes off the pace

The story of the race was yet again Red Bull v Ferrari, with Mercedes a non-factor.

Lewis Hamilton slipped from sixth to eighth on the opening lap but ended up recovering to finish in the same position he started from.

He lost out to team-mate George Russell in the closing stages, who was put on softer tyres behind the virtual safety car while Hamilton stayed out.

Sorrow for Schumacher

Mick Schumacher appeared to be on course to score his first F1® points as he closed in on Fernando Alonso while running in P9.

However, a collision with Sebastian Vettel at Turn One forced him into the pits for a new nose and he re-emerged all the way down in 16th. The Aston Martin driver was forced to retire.

IN THE POINTS

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +3.786s
3. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +8.229s
4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +10.638s
5. George Russell (Mercedes) +18.582s
6. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +21.368s
7. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) +25.073s
8. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) +28.386s
9. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) +32.128s
10. Alexander Albon (Williams) +32.365s


CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers

1. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 104
2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 85
3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) 66
4. George Russell (Mercedes) 59
5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) 53

Constructors

1. Ferrari 157
2. Red Bull 151
3. Mercedes 95
4. McLaren 46
5. Alfa Romeo 31

What's next?

F1® returns to Europe in a fortnight, with the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona next up.


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