Miami Grand Prix – Max Verstappen (Red Bull): “A hell of a comeback!”

Miami Grand Prix - Max Verstappen (Red Bull):

The Max Verstappen threat is becoming clearer and Ferrari is well aware of it. Forced to retire twice in five events this season, the Dutchman saw the other three finish lines as the winner. We could even add four by counting his success in the “sprint” race at Imola. The reigning world champion does not let much pass. He also left, for the second time in a row with the bonus point for the best lap in his pocket, Sunday in Miami. He has only signed one pole position and he adapts very well to the era of the DRS, which has become all-powerful on the altar of spectacle, and these new technical regulations, as laudable in their intentions as they are incapable of living without artifice.

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We can say that “Super Max” has a sense of priorities because the best times in qualifying do not earn any points. His Red Bull is a behemoth of straight-line efficiency – 8 km/h faster than the Ferrari this weekend – and unparalleled in generating traction in slow corners and thus regaining its advantage on the parts of resilient with his opponents.

Verstappen is also a phenomenon of opportunism. When he is beaten, he is not completely beaten. Third in qualifying behind the Ferraris who were to block him, he recovered a position on the most adherent part of the track at the start in Florida, and the candor of Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) at the first braking did the rest. Without putting himself in danger, he managed to slip outside in turn n°2, in front of the F1 75 n°55, and he spun towards his ultimate objective: the “rossa” n°16.

Saved like in Jeddah

Irresistibly, he swooped down on the Monegasque and dropped him off at the DRS on the 9th of 57 laps. Determined to distance himself, he only needed one lap to get his rival out of his DRS zone and take off. He let the Maranello driver pit first, on lap 25. Without rushing into the pit lane since he took “hard” tires two laps later, during a smoothly conducted intervention, which again highlighted the operational superiority of the Milton Keynes pit crew. The case was folded in 2″4 against 3″2 for his red challenger.

The sequel was serene for the ace oranje, to the size of the champion he has become. He perfectly managed the Norris – Gasly post-crash restart on lap 47, and he was perfectly positioned under braking for No. 17, three laps later, when the Monegasque swerved to try to dive the rope. He was not at his best at this moment with his “hard” tires and he was perhaps saved as in Jeddah by the impossibility of Leclerc to activate his DRS.

Max Verstappen hasn’t been unhappy with the racing circumstances lately but it would be a grave mistake to consider his 23rd Formula 1 victory – as much as three-time world champion Nelson Piquet – to be down to randomness and technical supremacy of Red Bull. It must be remembered that he came out disappointed from his day on Friday, the victim of repeated technical problems, with a total of 15 laps completed, including only one during free practice session 2, the one used to simulate race relays. Late in his settings and in his knowledge of the track, he couldn’t manage in qualifying, and it showed.

“It reminded me of Abu Dhabi”

“It’s a hell of a comeback! I don’t think I even did a starting test, so I didn’t know what to expect.explained Verstappen, who came back to 19 points behind Leclerc in the championship. “I saw the opportunity on the outside and it worked.he said on Viaplay. This victory is obviously very pleasant. After 15 laps, we start counting the laps: it was very hard physically – I think I lost about three kilos – but super nice. The safety car certainly didn’t help at the end, otherwise we could have finished in control. Of course, that made the race more exciting for everyone.”

If this setback cost him his seven-second lead, he did not complain. This time to his disadvantage, the safety car was not always ungrateful to him. “It reminded me of Abu Dhabi”he added, with a laugh, in reference to the paying risks he took to beat Lewis Hamilton.

On the other hand, everything was not perfect on the other side of the garage, because Sergio Pérez had plenty to complete this success, and at least get on the podium. But then, a power problem caused him to lose contact with Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) on lap 20 due to a faulty sensor.

30 horsepower less for Pérez

It has become a bad habit, Red Bull Racing’s progress has been slowed down by too many technical incidents and Max Verstappen has made no secret of his concern about this. “We have to get this under control in order to have trouble-free weekends, understand that and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”he recalled.

Christian Horner even felt that his team had lost an easy double because of it. “Reliability will be a concernwarned the director of Red Bull Racing on Sky Sports. The guys did everything to fix the problems but it cost Checo 30 horsepower. He lost half a second, he could have finished second.”

At the Constructors’ World Cup, Red Bull Racing fell to six points behind Ferrari (151 against 157) and the next event, in Spain, could mark the takeover of the Navy in the classification of the two championships.

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