Max Verstappen recovered from ninth position on the grid to win the Miami Grand Prix on Sunday, beating polesitter and teammate Sergio Perez in the final laps.
Leclerc struggled to get to grips with the Miami track, and his crash in Q3 on Saturday brought out a red flag, prematurely ending the qualifying session. Perez was the major benefactor and sat on pole, but teammate Verstappen languished down in ninth.
However, as has been the case at various points this season, there was an air of inevitability to Verstappen’s rise through the field. The speed in the Red Bull is unmatched on this year’s grid, especially in a straight line, and aware that resistance was futile, no driver put up considerable resistance.
Charles Leclerc demoted to the midfield
On a different strategy to most, Verstappen was in the lead by the midway point and only briefly ceded that lead to Perez after a late pitstop. On medium tyres, Verstappen made the race-winning pass on his teammate around the outside of turn one and eased to the chequered flag. Perez took second ahead of Fernando Alonso to complete the podium.
Leclerc was fighting at the front during last year’s inaugural edition of the race, but the Ferrari simply didn’t have the speed to compete this weekend. Instead, Leclerc, who seems to lack confidence on the track, exemplified by his two crashes over the course of the race weekend, was left fighting with the Haas of Kevin Magnussen for phases of the Grand Prix.
The Monégasque did eventually free himself of that battle and was in sixth before Lewis Hamilton made a late overtake to demote Leclerc to seventh. Teammate Carlos Sainz finished in fifth in what was a difficult weekend for Ferrari, who sorely lacked pace.
They will be looking to close the gap to Red Bull, who have won all five races this season (three for Verstappen, two for Perez), at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in a fortnight.
Photo source: Scuderia Ferrari Media Centre