2022 Miami Grand Prix Blog
The Miami International Autodrome hosted its inaugural Grand Prix over the weekend and there was no mistaking whereabouts in the world we were. From Martin Brundle’s hilarious grid walk to the police escort which lead the drivers on a 10-minute journey to the podium ceremony. This race had an unmistakably American feel about it.
The jury is out as to whether these changes were an improvement but, in front of a sell-out crowd and with millions more tuning in from around the globe, right now F1 is the hottest sport on the planet. And that is exactly where owners Liberty Media want it to be.
Let’s focus on the Grand Prix itself. Red Bull will be most pleased with the outcome as Max Verstappen fended off a late challenge from title rival Charles Leclerc to take victory in the race. Qualifying ended with a Ferrari front row lock out, and the Dutchman showed tremendous resilience to pass both of the red cars and then doggedly hold his position until the chequered flag. “I think I need a drink, and I think you also need a drink,” Verstappen said over the radio as he crossed the line. It turned out he meant this literally and Max looked exhausted from what must have been a physically gruelling race for all the drivers.
Ferrari will come away from the weekend scratching their heads a little bit. They hold a 6-point lead in the Constructors Standings but there is mounting evidence that Red Bull have the faster race car. “Yes, I’m disappointed,” said Leclerc after the race. “We are very strong in terms of tyre warm up so at the beginning of every run we are strong. But after four, five laps they [Red Bull] seem to stabilise the tyres in a better window and there they are just quicker than us and it’s very difficult for us to do anything.”
If Ferrari are scratching their heads a little, then Mercedes must be scratching theirs a lot. George Russell outscored his teammate Lewis Hamilton again, but the Silver Arrows will be disappointed with how their weekend played out. Russell summed things up, saying: “I think it is mixed feelings to be honest because based on where we were yesterday it is a good result… But if you had told me after Friday we would finish P5 and P6 that far behind P1 I would have been disappointed so we have a fast race car in there we just don’t have the key to unlock the performance.”
As a side note, are cracks starting to appear in Lewis Hamilton’s relationship with Mercedes? During the race the team told him to decide his own pit stop strategy. Hamilton was evidently less than impressed at being asked to do this and said in his post-race interview:
“In that scenario I have no clue where everyone is so when the team say it’s your choice, I don’t have the information to make the decision… “That’s what your job is, make the decision for me. You have all the details. I don’t!”
One man who is showing no signs of pressure is Valtteri Bottas. The Finn was punching above his weight all weekend. Having Qualified in P5, Bottas looked set to finish the race in the same position until he brushed a wall in the closing stages, a mistake which allowed the two Mercedes to get past him. Nonetheless, Bottas was pleased with performance, saying: ”The race pace was very close to Mercedes so it is good to see that we can really fight with them. It’s a shame we didn’t get P5 but, still, P7 is good.”
As with any new track, there were a lot of unknowns going into this Grand Prix, which presented an opportunity for the smaller teams to score points. Step forward Alex Albon (P9) and Lance Stroll (P10). Both drove excellent races. Albon gave one of the strangest explanations we’ve heard for his improved performance and suggested it was linked to his bright red hair, saying: “I got it dyed before Melbourne and we finished 10th. Then, as the dye faded away, we finished 11th in Imola. So, it started to affect the performance, so we re-dyed it, hoping for more points.”
We’re pretty sure the two aren’t linked, but if he keeps finishing in the points then the red dye is sure to stay.
Spain is the next stop on the F1 roadshow and Circuit de Catalunya is a track that the teams maybe know better than any other. It will be interesting to see how this translates into performance. Ferrari could ace Qualifying again but will they be able to hold Red Bull off during the race?
We’ll be there to find out and are looking forward to welcoming all our guests in Barcelona. If you would like to join us at a race later this year, please call +44 (0)207 107 1640 or email email@example.com.