Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen took victory at the Miami Grand Prix, overtaking both Scuderia Ferrari cars early in the race and protecting his lead until the checkered flag. He started the race in third and was able to overtake Carlos Sainz Jr just after the start with an assertive move through Turn One. He grabbed the lead off pole-sitter Charles Leclerc on lap nine, overtaking under DRS on the main straight.
A late-race Safety Car saw Verstappen’s lead come under pressure from Leclerc behind, keen to take back the lead before the race’s end. Leclerc wasn’t able to pass, and Verstappen crossed the line first to bring home his third win of the season– narrowing the gap to Leclerc in the Drivers’ championship.
“It feels amazing to win in Miami, the whole atmosphere this weekend has been incredible and to win in the US is always a nice feeling. It was a physically tough race; I think I must have lost around 3kgs!
“We had a really good pace on the minimum tire, that for sure helped to make my race. Once we had the pitstop I was just managing my time to Charles, I think we were very closely matched on the hard tire. Then the safety car came out which made it more entertaining for the fans, I had to push hard today but we made it work. I’m super pleased for the Team, we didn’t have a great start to the weekend so we’ve come far, a big thank you to everyone.”
“It is a big disappointment today” – Sergio Pérez
Team-mate Sergio Pérez was disappointed by his result in Miami, after being unable to move up from his starting position of fourth. Attributed to a sensor failure which cost him significant performance, he struggled to challenge Sainz ahead for the podium positions.
“It is a big disappointment today but at least we managed to finish with the points we have. We were putting the pressure on Carlos and then we had a problem with the power. It was caused by a sensor failure and meant we lost a lot of power, which limited our ability to attack.
“I was a second from Carlos and then the engine dropped and I lost around 30 seconds in two laps and then the issue affected me throughout the race. We had the pace to be up there on the podium and I pushed as much as I could in the position we were in.”
Along with the power issues he faced, Pérez said that he found it hard to manage his tyres. Since he had “no grip at all”, he was unable to capitalise on the opportunity to overtake Sainz on the safety car restart.
“It was difficult to look after the tyres too, it was so hard in the corners and I was losing a lot of grip towards the end of the race. I went for it after the safety car restart but there was no grip at all and I just couldn’t get past Carlos.”
With the sensor issue adding yet another mark against Red Bull’s reliability this season, Pérez said that reliability is a point of emphasis for the team moving forward. Having still added a solid number of points to his total, Pérez remains third in the Drivers’ championship. He will, however, be looking to further close the gap to the front in coming races.
“We are working really hard on reliability and we will keep pushing as a Team, it is unfortunate, but I am pleased we managed to finish today. In Barcelona I want to be back battling at the top.”