Verstappen holds off late Leclerc charge to win in Miami

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 08: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Miami at the Miami International Autodrome on May 08, 2022 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202205082793 // Usage for editorial use only //

Max Verstappen claimed victory at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, but he had to hold of pressure from Charles Leclerc late on to secure the victory.

The Dutchman had the pace early on, but a late safety car brought the Ferraris back into contention, with Carlos Sainz securing the final spot on the podium.

There was an issue for Aston Martin before the start of the race as the team found its fuel was too cold, forcing both cars to start from the pitlane.

Guanyu Zhou was one of a number of drivers picking up places in the opening few laps, but a technical issue forced Alfa Romeo to retire his car just seven laps into proceedings.

There was a change at the front of the field as Verstappen got within DRS range of Leclerc, cruising past the Ferrari with ease to take the lead.

Lando Norris was looking good for a points finish, but he lost time in the pits, meaning he came out into traffic and lost places to the Aston Martins and Kevin Magnussen.

Sergio Perez reported a loss of power, and seemed to be dropping back, but the glitch seemed to be temporary as he was soon back up to speed.

Leclerc was the first of the frontrunners to stop, with Verstappen coming in a lap later, comfortably rejoining in front of his championship rivals.

Pierre Gasly had an eventful couple of laps when he had a coming together with Fernando Alonso, costing him a couple of places and earning the Spaniard a five-second time penalty, before he ran wide, collecting Norris as he came back onto the racing line, ripping a wheel of the McLaren and sending Norris colliding into the wall, resulting in a safety car.

The safety car meant George Russell, Esteban Ocon and Sebastian Vettel were all able to make their pitstops while the rest of the field cruised around behind the safety car, leaving Russell right behind his teammate, but on much newer tyres.

Perez also came in for new tyres, hoping to get the better of Sainz on the restart, but the Ferrari had enough pace to hold off the threat. Meanwhile Russell looked for a way past Lewis Hamilton, but both moved in front of Valtteri Bottas when the Finn ran wide, before Russell got in front a couple of corners later.

With the safety car having bunched the pack up, Verstappen started to come under pressure from Leclerc at the front in the closing stages of the race, but the reigning champion managed to hold him off.

Vettel and Mick Schumacher were both pushing for a point finish in the last couple of laps, but the Haas driver collided with the four-time champion, spinning him around and lifting him off the track, ending Vettel’s race.

Provisional classification:

1 Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

3. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

4. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)

5. George Russell (Mercedes)

6. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

7. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)

8. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)

9. Fernando Alonso (Alpine)

10. Alex Albon (Williams)

11. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)

12. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)

13. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)

14. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)

15. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

16. Mick Schumacher (Haas)


Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)

Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)

Lando Norris (McLaren)

Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo)

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