(Miami) There’s Red Bull, and the others. But above all, there is Max Verstappen and the others. Nobody was really surprised to see the Dutchman overtake, one by one, the eight cars in front of him to win the Miami Grand Prix on Sunday, under the gaze of dozens of celebrities gathered at the autodrome.
Unsurprisingly, it was Sergio Pérez who took second to hand Red Bull a fourth one-two in five races this season. Fernando Alonso completed the podium… 26 seconds behind the Red Bulls. Domination, you say?
On Saturday, Verstappen confidently claimed he would finish “minimum second place”, even if he started 9th on the grid. The least we can say is that the double champion analyzes himself well: it only took him 15 laps to find himself behind his teammate.
The winner had a smile on his face and a joke in his heart at the press conference after the race, laughing with Pérez and Alonso.
“It was a good race! he exclaimed. I just had to stay out of trouble at the start because the cars around me were trying to gain places. »
On Sunday, the Red Bull drivers opted for opposing strategies: Verstappen started on hard rubber, while Pérez was on medium.
“Quickly, I saw that the mediums were fragile, explained the Mexican, the mire down. I had to protect the tires to make it to lap 15. […] When I put the hard guys on, Max had really good pace and we weren’t able to create a gap. »
“He was too close and we had a little struggle, but clean. Obviously, we put the team in front of us. It’s a good team result, but today Max won because he was the best car on the track. »
Before the race, and then later on the podium, Verstappen was booed by Florida fans. The Dutchman, in excellent form on Sunday evening after his victory, offered an answer that made the journalists smile.
“If I was driving behind, nobody would have a reaction. This kind of thing is normal when you win. […] It is very correct for me. As long as I stand at the top, that’s what’s important to me. They go home and can have a good evening. »
Who would have thought three months ago that Fernando Alonso and his Aston Martin would be third in the drivers standings ahead of Lewis Hamilton after five races? The Spaniard, darling of the amateurs, had a race without much history, maintaining a good pace to ensure a podium.
“I liked the race,” he said. It was a bit of a solo race for us, with the Red Bulls up front. There wasn’t much pressure behind it. »
The 41-year-old veteran has become a third-place finisher this season; this is his fourth in five Grands Prix. “Obviously we want to be higher on the podium,” he said with a smile. One day we will have an opportunity to win a race, but for now it’s not happening because Red Bull is better, stronger and faster. »
“It’s good for the team, but I’m pissed off with my weekend right now,” he said. No points. I wanted to get more out of it. »
A little anecdote, by the way: at the end of the race, when Stroll passed Alex Albon (Williams) to move from 14th to 13th place, Alonso spoke to the team in his microphone. “What position is Lance?” It was a nice pass at turn one,” he said, prompting a collective laugh in the Miami International Autodrome press room.
Asked about it at a press conference, Alonso noted that “at this circuit we have a big TV screen in some of the slow corners, so it was very easy to follow the track on the screen. “An explanation that made Max Verstappen smile at his side.
George Russell (Mercedes), Carlos Sainz Jr. (Ferrari), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Pierre Gasly (Alpine), Esteban Ocon (Alpine) and Kevin Magnussen (Haas) completed the top 10.
There are still 18 races left in this Red Bull-dominated season. Several teams will make changes to their car between now and the next Grand Prix, at Imola. Could this really have an impact on the rest of the championship?
As Alonso said, “it will be difficult, the gap is big”. “Our focus will be mostly on what’s happening behind it,” he added of Mercedes and Ferrari. Because the real struggle among manufacturers is there.