Verstappen Holds Off Leclerc to Win First-Ever Miami GP

Max Verstappen took the lead from Charles Leclerc early in the first-ever Miami GP and never let it go, with Leclerc coming in second.

byNico DeMattia| PUBLISHED May 8, 2022 5:57 PM
Verstappen Holds Off Leclerc to Win First-Ever Miami GP
MIAMI, FLORIDA – MAY 06: Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 on track during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Miami at the Miami International Autodrome on May 06, 2022 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images).

The first-ever Miami GP got off to a hot start, and not because F1 legend/Sky Sports presenter Martin Brundle mistook a man for Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, ahead of the race. Ferrari's Charles Leclerc jumped ahead for a great start from pole position and Red Bull's Max Verstappen immediately overtook Leclerc's teammate, Carlos Sainz, with an excellent move. From there, the three drivers battled it out in the humid Miami heat.

By lap 8, Leclerc came on the radio to alert his team of front right tire damage and, almost immediately after, Verstappen overtook Leclerc for the lead. After that, it was a battle by both Ferrari drivers to try and fend off team Red Bull; Leclerc trying to overtake Verstappen and Sainz trying to hold off Red Bull's Sergio Perez for third place.

For several laps, the first three positions didn't change but Leclerc then lost serious ground to Verstappen, due to a mistake by the pit crew taking over five seconds to swap tires. That put Leclerc well behind Verstappen and into fourth place, behind even Sergio Perez. Though, after both Sainz and Perez went into the pits, Leclerc retook second place and continued to chase Verstappen from more than seven seconds behind.

TOPSHOT - Red Bull Racing's Dutch driver Max Verstappen races during qualifying for the Miami Formula One Grand Prix at the Miami International Autodrome in Miami Gardens, Florida, on May 7, 2022. (Photo by Chandan Khanna / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Then the yellow flag came in. AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly clipped McLaren's Lando Norris' right rear wheel, causing him to spin, jettisoning the wheel down the track. After the yellow flag was lifted, Leclerc was once again right behind Verstappen but couldn't take advantage of the opportunity, as Verstappen pulled ahead for a distant lead once again.

From there, the status quo remained and the Verstappen took the win, holding off both Ferrari drivers, Leclerc and Sainz, who took second and third, respectively. Miami Dolphins legendary quarterback Dan Marino presented Verstappen with his trophy and then came the spray of Moet. Next up is the Spanish GP on May 22.