Last weekend it was time for the fifth race of the Formula 1 season. One of the strongest seasons for Spaniard Fernando Alonso. After a good F1 result for Spain since qualifying, the question was when leader Max Verstappen would strike in Miami.
It was hot in Miami and that, together with the threat of rain, caused concerns for all teams about the right strategy, the right tyres and the right settings to keep the car on track. However, in the free practice sessions it turned out this was not always possible when various drivers slid across the track.
Full Spanish-language podium due to Leclerc crash
Dutchman Max Verstappen set one of the fastest times in every practice session, but disaster struck during qualifying. Despite the fact that everyone expected Verstappen to start in first place, he eventually finished in P9. Furthermore, the Dutchman had to abort his first lap early in Q3. His teammate, Sergio Pérez, immediately managed to register a fast lap.
A few minutes before the end, when Max just came out to set his fastest time, Leclerc crashed and Verstappen was unable to complete his lap. For the first time this season, there was an all-Spanish podium after qualifying. Pérez was allowed to start from first place, followed by the Spaniards Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz.
But despite his ninth starting position, the Dutchman stuck to the fast times he had set. A different tyre strategy was therefore chosen for Max Verstappen than for Pérez. The Mexican started on the medium tyre on Sunday evening while Verstappen started his race on the hard tyre. Verstappen started strongly and overtook a large part of his predecessors within a few laps.
Dutch Max Verstappen chooses a wise strategy with a hard tyre
Although Sergio Pérez could smell a lead in the world standings from P1, he was also eventually overtaken by Verstappen. The strategy with the white tyre worked out well for Verstappen as he eventually managed to increase his lead over Pérez to over 18 seconds with the intention of making a free pit stop.
However, the latter did not work and Verstappen came back on track behind Pérez a few laps before the end. Red Bull gave both gentlemen the green light to race against each other, but in a neat way. And that was exactly what happened. Pérez had the disadvantage of older tyres that eventually allowed Verstappen to take the lead again and finish first in a smart and brave way.
Miami F1 podium
The Spanish podium after qualifying did not fully hold up. Max Verstappen finished in first place and extends his lead in the World Cup standings to 119 points. Sergio Pérez, currently second with 105 points, took the silver and Spaniard Alonso (again) took third place. Alonso now has 75 points. Ferrari, on the other hand, did not have a brilliant weekend as Spain’s Carlos Sainz eventually had to settle for fifth and Leclerc finished seventh.
This was Fernando Alonso’s fourth podium finish after five races. An incredibly good performance between other strong teams such as Red Bull and Ferrari. Nevertheless, the Spaniard thinks it is time for a ‘higher podium’ than third place. He hopes for at least a second place, but of course dreams of his 33rd Formula 1 victory. Yet he also says: “The Red Bulls are not going to break down quickly and are once again very fast this year.”
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