Verstappen Wins F1 Miami GP From Ninth, Perez Second
Even with Sergio Perez starting from pole, Max Verstappen overcame starting from ninth to win the Miami Grand Prix.
The 2023 F1 Miami GP was a proper race. Even though the podium order of winner Max Verstappen, second place Sergio Perez, and third place Fernando Alonso is the new Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, and Max Verstappen, there was a surprising amount of slicing, dicing, and overtaking around the “street” circuit of Miami.
Despite Perez starting on pole after a truncated qualifying session due to Charles Leclerc spinning spectacularly into the barriers outside of turn six, Verstappen overcame starting a distant ninth to win the grand prix. Tire strategy dictated the race, with drivers either stopping early on mediums to swap for hards or starting on hards and running them to within the last 15 laps of the race. Perez starting on mediums and stopping midway for hards could not overcome Verstappen running 46 laps on his starting hards and immediately overtaking Perez on fresh mediums.
Meanwhile, an exciting battle in the midfield kept the first two-thirds of the race exciting with the jumbled qualifying order. Carlos Sainz finished fifth despite a five-second time penalty due to speeding at the entry to the pitlane, while Charles Leclerc struggled despite strong qualifying pace to finish seventh. Kevin Magnussen held on and defended against Leclerc early in the race to grab a single point in tenth. Fernando Alonso had a lonely race to finish third, taking a moment near the end to compliment his teammate’s overtaking maneuver. Finally, the two Alpines finished eighth and ninth to mark the French team’s first trouble-free race of 2023.
Overall, the race was enjoyable and engaging despite overnight rain washing the track clean. Compared to last year, overtaking was much better and driving off of the racing line was possible. But with Verstappen looking unstoppable on pure pace, Perez had no answer for his title hopes this round. For now, we wait for the triple-header of Imola, Monaco, and Spain that begins on May 19.
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