Chosen by us to get you up to speed at a glance
By Tom Cary, Senior Sports Correspondent, in Miami
What a statement this was from Max Verstappen. After all the talk that Red Bull’s reigning world champion might lose his championship lead to in-form team-mate Sergio Pérez, with the Dutchman stranded down in ninth on the grid after his qualifying mishap and the Mexican beginning the race on pole, he only ended up winning and extending his lead.
A magisterial performance in Miami saw Verstappen blaze his way from ninth on the grid to first place by the finish, beating Pérez by 5.3sec in the final reckoning. It was a consummate performance, and to add to it, Verstappen also picked up the fastest lap bonus point right at the death. He now leads the drivers’ standings by 14pts.
“I’d call that simply f—— lovely,” Verstappen told his team at the finish. It was hard to disagree, albeit it does not bode particularly well for this year’s title fight.
This was Red Bull’s fourth one-two finish in five races this season. And while lots of teams will be bringing lots of upgrades to the next race in Imola – notably Mercedes, whose entire season would appear to depend on the success of their new package – it is hard to see anyone eating too far into Red Bull’s advantage.
Predictably the second running of the Miami Grand Prix struggled to live up to the hype. Mind you, that would be difficult given this was possibly the most hyped race of all time, with rapper LL Cool J hosting a new pre-race presentation ceremony that saw each driver emerge in turn onto the grid accompanied by smoke and Miami Dolphins cheerleaders.
‘Look HOW powerful that Red Bull is!’ 🔥
Verstappen moves up to second! 2️⃣ pic.twitter.com/U4XkH1j878
A number of drivers later expressed their bemusement at this development but the crowd at the Hard Rock Stadium appeared to enjoy it. A grid which was positively groaning with celebrities eventually cleared and a race got under way.
Verstappen, starting on the hard compound, wasted little time in scything through the field. With such a superior machine, he knew there was little point risking anything at the start. Indeed he actually dropped a place from ninth to 10th right. But from that point on the world champion was unstoppable, his speed advantage extraordinary. Even without DRS, Verstappen was able to catch and pass cars that had their rear wings open. By lap four he was up to sixth, by lap eight he had passed Mercedes’ George Russell for fifth, and by lap 15 only his team-mate Pérez remained ahead of him.
The Mexican, who had begun the race on mediums, was clearly feeling the heat. On lap 17, with a lead of only around 3sec, Pérez came onto the radio to tell his team that his front right was starting to give up the ghost.
Pérez pitted soon afterwards, on lap 20, by which time Verstappen had cut his lead to just 1.4sec. That gave Verstappen the lead of the grand prix for the first time. And although Pérez briefly reclaimed it after Verstappen finally pitted on lap 46, the game was up. Verstappen, on fresh medium tyres, was less than a second behind Pérez, on used hard tyres. After an aborted pass on lap 47, Verstappen got the job done the following lap.
Behind the Red Bulls, Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso won the battle for third from Mercedes’ George Russell, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz fifth and Russell’s team-mate Lewis Hamilton sixth.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff had described the W14 as a “nasty piece of work” after Russell and Hamilton qualified sixth and 13th fastest respectively on Saturday. Once again, the W14 proved a lot more competitive in race trim.
Verstappen seizes the lead from team mate Perez at Turn 1 ⚔️#MiamiGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/ENxOTFa8L9
Hamilton struggled to make headway early on and by lap five he was on the radio complaining to his engineers about his tyres. But he knuckled down on his hard tyres, lasting 36 laps before stopping (although he did have to let Russell past at one point, which must have stung. “Very much appreciated,” Russell said as he cruised by).
By the end, Mercedes were actually to sound reasonably encouraged, although they know just how much is riding on that Imola upgrade package. “I hope that in Imola we are going to make a step,” Wolff commented. “We are glass half empty people. We’re establishing a new baseline.”
“There’s a lot of expectations on Imola,” Russell conceded. “We ended 30-odd seconds behind the leader today and quite a bit behind Fernando. It’s not going to transform things. The car’s a little unpredictable…let’s hope it exceeds our expectations.”
At least they were not driving a McLaren. Lando Norris could only finish 17th and Oscar Piastri 19th in what was a disastrous race for the Woking team.
Ultimately, everyone is having to bow before Red Bull right now. Christian Horner, speaking at the finish, tried to make it sound as if the season could still be interesting, saying he expected it to “converge” towards the end of the season as their budget cap penalty kicks in.
“Five races and five wins plus the sprint plus four one-two finishes,” Horner said. “We’ve never had a start like this and we’re kind of wondering where are the others? Where did Ferrari and Mercedes go? They’re working on big upgrades for Europe and with penalty we have to develop the car… it’s important to get as much fresh air between us and the opposition.
“I think you’ll see from the next race, there’s big upgrades coming. We’re having to be super selective with what we test and how we develop the car. We’re able to focus on those incremental gains. I do expect it to converge towards the end of the year.” By then, of course, it will be far too late.
Yes. I don't think they will. The question is whether the RB19 ends up becoming the most dominant F1 car of all time. I think it might well do. The gap to everyone else is just so large.
Four 1-2s in five races for @redbullracing 🥵🚀#MiamiGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/IseSRbfAV4
Verstappen extends his lead over Perez and Alonso cements his third place with another podium.
All 20 cars finished and only two cars lapped. A good point for Magnussen, who manages to hold off Tsunoda in the end. Well done.
Another Red Bull 1-2. Verstappen from ninth to second. Perez a solid second, but just without the firepower to hold off Verstappen.
Alonso finishes third for the fourth time this year to make his third place in the standings a little more secure.
It's been an okay race but the harsh reality is that the Red Bull is just too quick for it to be remotely competitive even when Verstappen starts ninth. Alonso, the leading non Red Bull car is going to finish 21 seconds behind Perez in second. A whole pit stop behind. That is kind of how it has been all season and it is a quite profoundly dull state of affairs.
Verstappen currently holds the fastest lap bonus point and he is looking like he's going to better his current best on this lap. A fastest sector in sector one, his personal best in sector two and the best sector three of anyone to post a 1:29.708. That is surely good enough to get that extra point.
He needs to make up 10 seconds in the next two and a half laps to effect Sainz. But that was a nice move. Squeezed a bit up against the wall and he went up the inside in the final few corners. A patient race for him and a decent comeback.
A difficult weekend for Ferrari. Didn't really have the pace on Saturday and even worse on Sunday. Alpine haven't really made too much hay whilst McLaren have struggled but, realistically, eighth and ninth is the limit of what they could achieve given who is ahead of them: seven faster cars.
Behind that Magnussen, Tsunoda, Stroll fight for 10th are Bottas, Albon, Hulkenberg, Zhou, Norris, De Vries, Piastri, Sargeant in 20th.
A very fine comeback drive from Verstappen.
Magnussen, then, is more likely to come under pressure from Tsunoda and Stroll who are 11th and 12th now and lapping pretty well. Tsunoda may run out of laps, but I think he's got the last point if he keeps it out of the walls.
But that relies on them getting Gasly a couple of seconds ahead and then charging on. I'm not sure there is enough time left in this race. Sainz is lapping reasonably well compared to Leclerc and Hamilton.
Magnussen currently holding the final points paying spot but he has Bottas on much fresher tyres five seconds behind.
Sainz's five second penalty would not cost him any places. A vast difference to what happened in Melbourne.
He has already gapped Perez by 1.6s or so.
Perez defends stoutly into turn one but Verstappen with DRS gets the job done as Perez backs out to avoid any contact in turn two.
Verstappen seizes the lead from team mate Perez at Turn 1 ⚔️#MiamiGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/ENxOTFa8L9
He had to go around the outside but the greater grip on the newer medium tyres gives him a deserved lead.
He will have DRS and has much fresher tyres. This should be a formality. He gets close as they snake through the middle sector… Verstappen deploys his DRS, Perez forces Verstappen onto the outside and Verstappen has to wait until the next lap…
He comes out in second but not by a great deal.
The gap is less than a second and I cannot think that Perez will be in the lead for much longer…
He sets the fastest lap of the race to close the gap to 18.3s. He needs a few more of those, and perhaps a bit more.
As is Russell. 7.7s the gap between the pair in third and fourth.
Ted Kravitz on Sky Sports believes so. There has been no safety car period where the cars manage to save fuel, so we are getting to the critical point of the race.
That might explain Perez's pace dropping off.
Verstappen now in the net lead, almost. Not sure what's up with Perez but it shouldn't be the case that Verstappen is faster on 41 lap old hard tyres than a man on 22 lap old hard tyres.
A few further tenths. Verstappen with the fastest first sector and plenty of life left in his 40-lap old hard tyres. He has to stop again but will only be a few seconds behind his team-mate when he comes out of the pit lane and with much fresher tyres. He has to be massive favourite now.
Perez needs to find some pace. Wonder if he made a big mistake on the last lap?
Leclerc does get Magnussen for 10th, going up the inside of the hairpin after the long back straight.
Perez loses a second to Verstappen and the gap grows to 17 seconds. Perez is in clean air, so that does not explain it. Verstappen just looking like the faster man.
But then that is beaten by Nico Hulkenberg on fresh medium tyres. Russell dives up the inside of Carlos Sainz to take fourth place. Sainz also has a five-second time penalty. Leclerc, meanwhile is scrapping with Magnussen for 10th again. A bad day for Ferrari so far.
Well, relative to his qualifying position. He's down in 14th, 2.5s behind Bottas ahead of him. The Williams always a slightly more difficult proposition on Sundays than Saturdays.
The gap is stable, the difference in lap time between the pair last time around was 0.020s. Verstappen, though, sets another fastest lap.
…and then retakes it. Hulkenberg finally pits and drops down into P16.
Though with DRS it all feels rather artificial. Hamilton, who has not stopped, has moved aside to let Russell through.
GR: 📻 “Very much appreciated.” 🙏
George moves into P6 and sets off after Carlos and Esteban.
Verstappen sets the fastest lap of the race to move 15.7s ahead of Perez, but with one stop still to do. So the effective gap is around five or so seconds. Can he make that up in his final stint? I would imagine so.
They want him to get out ahead of Alonso when he does stop. But when will he stop? Another five or six laps?
Perez's pace has dropped off a bit now from when he was doing all those fastest laps.
It's bad. Very bad. Norris is in 17th and Piastri is in 18th. Painful.
Leclerc not going too well here: 13th…
He goes deep to overtake Sainz, which is crucial for his race if he is to secure another podium.
Verstappen leads Perez by 16.3s.
It's a Red Bull 1-2 again now Alonso has stopped. 16.4s the gap between leader Verstappen – who has not stopped – and Perez, who has.
Alonso is getting close to Sainz for fourth. Not yet though. Patience.
So he's lost that place, sort of, but Sainz has a five-second time penalty to be added to his race time if he doesn't stop again. And he also has fresher tyres by six laps or so.
Perez is on a charge, a new fastest first sector time. Russell is told his front wing looks okay.
Verstappen leads Alonso by 4.7s. Alonso with decent-ish pace really, only a few tenths slower than Verstappen and on old mediums. He now pits.
Perez gets Ocon for third and trails Verstappen by 17.9s. Could be a race that comes to Perez later on. Or Verstappen. Perez will have the more durable tyres later in the race but Verstappen will have mediums as the race comes to a close.
It's a five-second penalty for Carlos Sainz for speeding in the pit lane.
"F—! Check the front wing," Russell says on the radio.
Perez comes out on the hard tyres in fourth. Sounds like Sainz could be in for a penalty for speeding in the pit lane. Perez has come out into a little bit of traffic, Esteban Ocon is 1.3s ahead of him in the Alpine. With the Red Bull's DRS, though, it should be an easy job.
Verstappen leads Alonso by 3.6s. Neither man has stopped.
"Upshifts are not that smooth," Verstappen says. It's his "Bono, my tyres are gone".
Verstappen has closed the lead to 1.4s. Will Perez be coming in now and switching to the hard tyres? Looks like the mechanics are out in the pit lane and it will almost certainly be Perez. Indeed it is.
Verstappen takes half a second out of leader Perez the last time around. Sainz, meanwhile, is right on the rear wing of Alonso but dives into the pits, locking up heavily as he enters the pit lane.
Unable to get past Alonso on track, Sainz pits from P3… leaving nothing off the table as he enters the pits! 😮💨#MiamiGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/slcq16Wnu7
Reminder that Verstappen is on the hard tyres and Perez on the mediums. 2.9s the gap now.
After a flurry of pit stops, Lewis Hamilton has moved into the top 10. Ninth he is after an overtake on Alexander Albon.
Didn't really break sweat in getting past Alonso here. It's a Red Bull 1-2 on lap 15…
Probably wouldn't have quite predicted that but that is bad.
The Dutchman just set the fastest lap of the race, the Red Bull gets DRS heading into turn 11 and moves up into third with a clean move on another former team-mate.
Alonso is not much further up the field…
I don't fancy Sergio Perez's chances of winning this race much now.
Alonso has slipped back to 3.2s behind the Mexican. Verstappen hasn't yet had a chance to try a move on Sainz but it is only a matter of time…
Alonso dropping back now. Verstappen sets the fastest lap of the race again. The Dutchman is 4.8s behind leader Perez and 1.0s behind third placed man Carlos Sainz.
Hamilton stuck in 13th at the moment. A DRS train has formed behind Bottas. Five or six drivers in it.
Nicely done into turn one, up the inside, late on the brakes taking his chance where he gets it. Alonso keeping within two seconds of Perez pretty much.
And he is closing in on leader Perez, albeit with three drivers between them.
Gasly is the next man in Verstappen's sights and he dives down the inside of his team-mate at turn 17 to move into fourth. Carlos Sainz next…
Max Verstappen overtakes George Russell who has an issue with his brakes 🏎️ pic.twitter.com/MDsI5txu7I
Yes. He gets DRS at the back of the track but Russell's DRS isn't enough for him to challenge into turn one.
"OK. Feels like plan a minus 12," he says on the radio. Not sure if he's joking or is serious. He did start on used medium tyres.
Perez is not really pulling away here, though. 1.6s the lead as Verstappen in sixth sets another fastest lap to close in on Russell.
Verstappen still within six seconds of the lead…
Sloppy. Verstappen sets the fastest lap of the race and has just 1.3s to make up to catch up with George Russell. Both McLarens in to change tyres early on.
Lando takes an early pit-stop, swapping Softs for a fresh set of Hards. 🔁
Oscar comes in a lap later and does the same.#MiamiGP 🇺🇸 [Lap 7/57] pic.twitter.com/F15HNDuWy4
Alonso has dropped back to nearly two seconds behind. Hamilton says his car isn't feeling right on the front wing. He hit Nico Hulkenberg early on in the race.
He patiently watches the scrap between Magnussen and Leclerc ahead of him, gets on DRS on the pit straight and sails through the inside at turn one. Lovely move.
🗣️ "He's picked up TWO cars who were fighting each other in the space of ONE corner!"
Max Verstappen doing Max Verstappen things 😅👇 pic.twitter.com/QXprtg3EOo
Alonso sets the fastest lap of the race but Perez is still holding a fair lead of 1.5s.
DRS has been enabled. Alonso is not within DRS range of leader Perez just yet. A few other drivers in there. Sargeant comes into the pits for a change of tyres and a new front wing… it's a long stop.
Alonso with reasonable pace but you feel that Perez has a bit in his pocket.
Verstappen up to eighth and is on the back of the battle between Magnussen and Leclerc for sixth.
Here's the top 10. Verstappen back up to ninth.
It's a good start from both Perez and Alonso but Perez has the place and the line leading into the first corner. Magnussen has dropped down a couple of places which means Gasly is up to P4.
LIGHTS OUT IN THE 305!!!
The Miami Grand Prix is GO and Perez keeps the lead!#MiamiGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/OKF8n2LNcN
Verstappen has dropped down a place behind Ocon and Bottas. De Vries and Piastri had a coming together and he is now down in last. Hamilton drops a place after running deep but then makes it back pretty sharpish.
The top seven all on mediums, Alonso on used mediums. Ocon and Verstappen are both on fresh hards. Then Bottas and Albon on new mediums. Hulkenberg, Hamilton and Zhou on fresh hards. De Vries on fresh mediums, Norris on fresh softs, Tsunoda on hards and Stroll on used hards. Piastri on fresh softs and Sargeant on fresh mediums. A real mix.
Perez leads them away… a mixture of tyres out there, I'll update you on that shortly.
It's almost time, Miami! Let's do this 👊
Follow along with all the action! 👉 https://t.co/MddmLh2Nm7#MiamiGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/10SpnxDXze
I think this could be a bit of a messy race. Would be no bad thing, but hopefully not too many stoppages. Fernando Alonso said Verstappen would be in his mirrors by lap 25…
I reckon a little sooner.
The official risk of rain for the race is 10 per cent.
Perez, Verstappen, Alonso for me. Pretty boring.
He's only reading what's in front of him and has done a pretty good job in fairness. They haven't all been cringey.
𝙬𝙞𝙡𝙡.𝙞.𝙖𝙢. 𝙙𝙧𝙤𝙥 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙗𝙚𝙖𝙩 𝙣𝙤𝙬 🎻🎵
LL Cool J on the mic 🎤 pic.twitter.com/LQ1sDTXyJu
"This driver is known as the Hulk for his speed and aggressive driving style, Nico Hulkenberg!".
No he's not. He's known as the Hulk because his surname is Hulkenberg!
He wanted to get Roger Federer for an interview, but couldn't cross past a certain line. Jackie Stewart attempted to get to him, being manhandled and told to go away by security in the process. JYS eventually got to Roger, only for George Russell to collar him, then the Scot nods and winks at Martin to say "I've got you sorted, don't worry". We eventually get a very short interview with RF.
And it's time for the cringey driver introduction on the grid. Each driver gets a tailored introduction… like: "He's the only F1 racer in Chinese history… and now he's one of the most exciting racers on the grid… it's Zhou Guanyu!"
He snaps Otmar Szafnauer.
"A man under pressure after comments overnight from Alpine chief Laurent Rossi effectively accusing the team of being amateurish," Tom writes.
In essence this shows how a team has performed, on average, in the six qualifying sessions we have had (five normal ones and the sprint shootout).
What does this tell us? Well, Red Bull being clearly out front is no surprise. Ferrari have had a pace advantage over one lap being, really, the only team that has threatened Red Bull.
The teams in the midfield behind the top four have been up and down, and that is reflected in their positions. There’s only 0.6 per cent or so between Alpine in fifth and AlphaTauri in last, though, which shows that the midfield is very tight in qualifying trim.
Williams’ improvement from last year is stark. They averaged 102.539 per cent over 2022, so that progress puts them as the second-most improved team over one lap in 2023, behind Aston Martin and ahead of Haas.
In fact, half the grid has improved (Aston Martin, Williams, Haas, Alfa Romeo and Alpine) and the other half has gone backwards, with McLaren regressing the most. They are nearly half a per cent (or half a second over a 1min40sec lap) down on last year’s average and ranked as the slowest car over one lap here this weekend. Dark days.
Just had a chat with Horner on the grid. He said wind could be a big factor. Max "just needs to keep his nose clean at the start". Plenty of time to make up places.
It also rained overnight, which has affected the already tricky track surface. It's also a bit less crowded on the grid this year, Tom informs me, as they've limited the number of media on the grid this year. Last year was rammed.
A little over 30 minutes until lights out. Here is how they line up.
1 PER 2. ALO
3. SAI 4. MAG
5. GAS 6. RUS
7. LEC 8. OCO
9. VER 10. BOT
11. ALB 12. HUL
13. HAM 14. ZHO
15. DEV 16. NOR
17. TSU 18. STR
19. PIA 20. SAR
No grid penalties or drivers starting in the pit lane.
One or two stops? 🤔
At the #MiamiGP, it could potentially be either #Fit4F1 pic.twitter.com/tP7GTQUnn3
A dull one-stopper would not be what the doctor ordered.
A bit more detail here. I am not really sure what this demonstrates other than qualifying has been a right inconsistent mess for most drivers. Sometimes it's their fault, others not.
I guess it shows that Ferrari have been the most consistent: Leclerc’s seventh here is their equal worst performance so far this year. Sainz is so far the only driver to qualify inside the top five in every race. Alonso too has been exemplary and Albon too, with the 10th best average qualifying position.
And drivers are on their way to the grid.
time to do the grid thing 🤙 pic.twitter.com/ornSLOedKV
A couple of men here with 100 per cent records against their team-mates, the aforementioned Alonso and Albon. Hulkenberg has only just lost his perfect record against Magnussen and Tsunoda too against De Vries.
The biggest gaps when it comes to average qualifying lap time are Gasly vs Ocon (partly due to two nightmare sessions in Baku). Russell and Hamilton are fairly well matched in that regard despite Russell’s 5-1 advantage in head-to-head. Piastri and Norris well matched in that metric, too, just 0.078 per cent between them.
"Clearly, that was definitely a mistake of mine trying to put it on the limit. You rely on a bit of luck that there's not going to be a red flag. It can happen on a street circuit. Just a bit upset with myself. It's going to be tough. I have made it difficult for myself. Minimum P2 [tomorrow]."
It would be a surprise if he did not make it into P2 all things being equal but all things are not always equal.
Popular Australian driver is happy with his year off but now has his sights set on a return to the grid. Read the full interview with Tom Cary here.
Crashing, especially in qualifying, seems to be part of Leclerc's MO. He's kind of an all or nothing guy.
Charles Leclerc loses it on a flying lap causing the curtailment of Q3 ⚠️ pic.twitter.com/ZfHYhB7j2t
His response yesterday was that it would have taken a 100 per cent lap to get pole…
If Sergio Perez wins, he will top the standings heading into the next race, whatever Max Verstappen does.
Well, maybe is the short answer.
MIAMI GRAND PRIX WEATHER FORECAST
Partly cloudy with a risk (15–30%) of thundery showers. Individual showers will be hit or miss, and potentially heavy in nature. Breezy winds from the east-northeast at 25–40 km/hr. Highs of 29°C.https://t.co/0eNsvpXk9J#F1 | #MiamiGP 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/nSOmm2OIOy
And welcome to our coverage for the 2023 Miami Grand Prix. Yesterday's qualifying session reflected much of the running throughout the weekend at this track: largely unpredictable and difficult to really understand. Generally championship leader Max Verstappen had led the way but the times and order below him was harder to get a grip on.
Ultimately, it was the red flag that mixed up the order in Q3. Yes, Sergio Perez may have taken pole position without Charles Leclerc's red-flag causing crash, but he was probably second favourite to Verstappen. It is difficult to believe that Verstappen would have finished ninth, Kevin Magnussen fourth and Pierre Gasly fifth without that all important halting of the session.
What does it all mean? Well, firstly I think F1 fans should be thankful. There are some reservations about the amount of action we will get at the Miami International Autodrome given last year's race as well as the lack of overtaking at last week's race in Azerbaijan.
As it stands we have six different cars in the top seven and eight in the top 11. Verstappen is clearly out of position, as is Charles Leclerc a couple of places ahead of him. I wouldn't expect that Verstappen is going to be spending much time in the midfield, but starting where he does there's always a risk of picking up damage or being shunted from behind on the opening laps.
In my F1 newsletter last week , I said it would be one of the greatest shocks if Perez was to beat Verstappen this season and that it would require some rotten luck for that to happen. This sort of thing is the type of event that will help Perez, but he still needs to take advantage of this opportunity. Providing he can keep his car on the straight and narrow and with decent pace he could be heading into the next race with a lead in the standings. That would be something.
Still, even if I don't think Perez will win the championship, him being within touching distance of Verstappen at least makes it interesting, especially given his increased performance level this year. A DNF here or there for the Dutchman could have a big effect on the way the season goes, if we expect most races to be a Red Bull 1-2.
Anyway, the race gets under way in about 90 minutes with the formation lap beginning at 8.30pm BST. We will be here for all of the build-up, live updates and reaction from the 2023 Miami Grand prix.