Max Verstappen gave a master class to embarrass Ferrari on a day when everything went terribly wrong for the championship leader.
Max Verstappen won a chaotic Miami Grand Prix.
It was all there for Ferrari to accept, but a bizarre series of mistakes cost Charles Leclerc the victory.
Verstappen overtook the championship leader on lap 9 and never looked bothered from there.
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Meanwhile, it went from disaster to disaster for Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian started 14th on the grid.
His problems continued on Monday as he dropped several positions before settling into the race in the middle of the pack, outside the championship points standings.
A tactical error to keep him on track instead of stopping only made the situation worse.
He finished 11th – and leaves Miami with no championship points.
In another slap in the face, Ricciardo received a five-second penalty for leaving the track and gaining the upper hand.
Meanwhile, Verstappen’s victory closed Leclerc’s championship lead to just 19 points.
Verstappen also earned the additional point for the fastest lap.
“Alright dude, you really made this work. Congratulations on holding on,” said Red Bull boss Christian Horner on team radio after the race.
Leclerc said after the race that he believed he would run over Verstappen.
“It was a very difficult race physically. We struggled a lot on the medium tires in the first stint and were overtaken,” he said.
“That made our race a little more difficult from that point on.
“In hard we were very competitive and in the end I thought I could catch Max at one point, but today they had the advantage in terms of pace.
“We need to keep pushing. Updates will be important.”
Miami GP final standings
Max Verstappen led the Grand Prix by just 0.5 seconds, with Charles Leclerc breathing down his neck with five laps to go. However, the Dutch driver was more than a second ahead in the final laps to cross the finish line with a comfortable lead.
Huge drama when Lando Norris falls
The Miami Grand Prix’s first safety car shook things up dramatically.
McLaren’s Lando Norris crashed on lap 41 after contacting Pierre Gasly at the exit of a corner.
Norris made contact with Gasly’s wheels before he was swung violently to the side as sparks flew around him. He completed several rounds before hitting the barriers.
He was able to walk away from the incident that scattered debris all over the track.
It is Norris’ first DNF of the season.
Daniel Ricciardo was one of the few riders to roll the dice and take the opportunity to step into the pits to switch to soft tyres.
Miserable Daniel Ricciardo returns to P17
Daniel Ricciardo is having a weekend to forget as he dropped to 17th after stopping on lap 32.
The Australian was the last rider to stop for the first time and put on hard tires like the rest of the field in hopes of running to the end of the race.
Martin Brundle told Sky Sports: “It wasn’t the best weekend for McLaren. They just didn’t have the pace at this track.”
Simone Lazenby said of the pit stop strategy: “All McLaren did was let him back.
“Unfortunately, another race for Daniel Ricciardo to forget.”
Verstappen leads on lap 30 after first pit stops
Daniel Ricciardo is the only rider in the top 10 who hasn’t stopped.
Verstappen takes the lead, Ferrari in disaster
Max Verstappen passed Charles Leclerc with a smart move entering Turn 1 on lap 9.
Using a DRS advantage, Verstappen made it look easy by taking the race lead on lap 9.
Commentators were surprised at how easily Red Bull took the lead in the race.
He passed Carlos Sainz on the first lap and then easily passed Charles Leclerc on lap 9, entering the first corner.
On lap 20, Verstappen’s lead was over 3.5 seconds.
“Leclerc has to stop, he’s struggling, that’s why Verstappen came so close and now Leclerc is two seconds away,” former driver Jolyon Palmer told the BBC.
“Ferrari has to roll the dice, at the moment he’s hiding out of nowhere.”
“Leclerc made it a lot easier, he stayed on the race line – for the race lead.
“Leclerc without any defense. He just allowed Verstappen the inside line and Max said ‘thank you very much’.
“I wonder if Leclerc has just butchered his tyres.”
Martin Brundle of Sky Sport said: “I don’t think Charles had any defenses.”
Big moves in the chaos of early laps
Charles Leclerc retained first place on the chaotic opening lap in Miami.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz lost to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at the second turn, with the Red Bull driver moving up to second.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo won three places on the first lap, finishing 11th. However, he dropped to 13th on lap 4 after being overtaken by both Haas cars.
Lewis Hamilton dropped to eighth and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel was 19th after starting from pit lane.
Meanwhile, Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu was forced to return to the pits and retired.
“We have to stop. I can’t believe it,” the team said on the radio.
Aston Martin in last minute game
Both Aston Martin cars were missing as the cars lined up on the starting grid.
The team had no public issues at the start of the weekend.
Sky Sports commentator Martin Brundle called them “last-minute gremlins”.
Lance Stroll told Sky Sports ahead of the race that it was a “fuel issue”.
‘Ridiculous’: F1 champions criticized for ‘childish’ antics
Formula 1 great Ralf Schumacher criticized Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel for their “ridiculous” protests ahead of the Miami Grand Prix, accusing them of “childish” antics.
Earlier this week, race director Niels Wittich wrote in his guidelines that drivers’ jewelry and underwear must be checked to ensure they meet the FIA’s fireproof safety standards.
Hamilton expressed his disdain for the F1 bling ban at a press conference, in which he appeared wearing three watches, a bracelet, eight rings, four necklaces, two earrings and a nose ring.
Meanwhile, Vettel wore panties over her running suit on Friday as a sign of protest.
Speaking with Sky Deutschlandsix-time race winner Schumacher argued that Hamilton and Vettel should set a better example for younger drivers.
“I find it all a bit childish, to be honest,” he said.
“The drivers who drive Formula 3 and Formula 4 must know that the big ones adhere to this.
“And most of all it’s about your own safety and that it’s really a ridiculous thing that people so experienced who’ve seen so many accidents scoff in that way.”
Miami GP starting grid
1) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
2) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
3) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
4) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
5) Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo
6) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
7) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
8) Lando Norris, McLaren
9) Yuki Tsunoda, Alpha Tauri
10) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin
11) Fernando Alonso, Alpine
12) George Russell, Mercedes
13) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin
14) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren
15) Mick Schumacher, Haas
16) Kevin Magnussen, Haas
17) Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo
18) Alex Albon, Williams
19) Nicholas Latifi, Williams
20) Esteban Ocon, Alpine
Originally published as Miami Grand Prix Live: Verstappen Wins After Brutal Ferrari Mistake