Max Verstappen Makes Dramatic Late-Race Pass To Win Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix
Story By: PAOLA ARGUETA / SOUTH FLORIDA MOTORSPORTS – MIAMI GARDENS, FL – From ninth on the starting grid, Max Verstappen delivered a driving masterclass to take a thrilling win in today’s FORMULA 1 CRYPTO.COM MIAMI GRAND PRIX.
In front of a sell-out crowd, the Red Bull ace came through the field to overtake his team-mate Sergio Perez with just nine laps to go. As the pair went wheel-to-wheel at Turn 1 on lap 48, the crowd leapt to their feet to celebrate. It was a thrilling end to the second-ever Formula 1 race held at the state-of-the-art Miami International Autodrome.
Verstappen’s 38th victory in his career and his second in Miami Gardens extended the Dutchman’s lead over his team-mate Perez at the top of the FIA Formula 1 Drivers’ World Championship to 14 points. His performance was particularly impressive given his starting position of ninth on the grid. Max chose to start on the hard tyre, the majority ahead of him began on mediums, meaning he ran longer into the race before making his pitstop.
“It was a good, clean race and I picked off the cars one by one,” said the reigning World Champion. “I could stay out long on the hard tyres and that made the difference today. I then had a good little battle with ‘Checo’ at the end but the most important thing is that we kept it clean. To win from P9 is extremely satisfying — a great win today.”
Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso joined the Red Bull pair on the podium to record his fourth top-three finish of the season ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell. Behind them Carlos Sainz finished fifth, but his final classification included a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pitlane.
Throughout the 57-lap event there was action up and down the field with drivers running on alternate tyre strategies and taking advantage of the Drag Reduction System (DRS) ensuring there was plenty of overtaking action at three main areas: Turn 1, Turn 11 and at the end of the back straight into Turn 17. The quality of the racing and the excellent reliability meant all 20 cars made the chequered flag — with South Florida’s very own Logan Sargeant the final runner to finish the race.
The overtaking action was so good, that at one stage Fernando Alonso came across on his team radio to complement a move his team-mate Lance Stroll had made late in the race, having watched the pass on one of the circuit’s big screens as he was driving around the track. Alonso started the race on the medium Pirelli compound and made his one and only pitstop on lap 25, four laps after Perez. When the time came for Verstappen to finally stop to change his hard compound tyres (at the end of lap 45) he emerged just 1.5s behind his team-mate. Despite a spirited attempt from Perez to hold Verstappen back, the decisive move for the lead of the race took place into Turn 1 on lap 48.
In addition to the exciting action on the track, the sell-out crowd was treated to a full day of entertainment at the Miami International Autodrome. There was music from award-winning DJs Tiësto and Cedric Gervais headlining at the Hard Rock Beach Club, and FISHER performed a set to round out the weekend after the podium celebrations. There were also pre-grid performances from bilingual Latin girl group Bella Dose, while the national anthem was sung by chart topping Puerto Rican singer and songwriter, GALE. The pre-race grid ceremonies were a new feature for 2023 with LL COOL J announcing each of the 20 drivers in turn, conducted by will.i.am and attended by the F1 Grid Kids, hailing from the local Miami Gardens community.
“It has been a fantastic weekend, an incredible race day and I’m proud of the entire team who have worked so hard to put together this year’s event,” said Tom Garfinkel, Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium and Managing Partner of the FORMULA 1 CRYPTO.COM MIAMI GRAND PRIX 2023. “Thanks to Stephen Ross and the hard work of so many people on our team, we were able to deliver an event that showcased Miami to the world and stayed true to our commitment of improving from Year 1 to Year 2. It is our goal to provide a best-in-class experience for everyone, from the guests enjoying the new Paddock Club, to the fans around the Campus soaking up the atmosphere, to the teams enjoying their new home on the field of Hard Rock Stadium. We can’t wait to welcome everyone back next year and celebrate another weekend of great racing together.”