Max Verstappen blew away the field, including Red Bull teammate and closest rival Sergio Perez out of the warm Miami ocean on Sunday to win the Grand Prix from ninth position.
The reigning champion made an error in Q3 during Saturday’s qualifying and was unable to better his time due to Charles Leclerc’s crash drawing a red flag.
Perez took advantage of the shortened qualifying and started from the grid with Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso second and Carlos Sainz third. Haas’ Kevin Magnussen started in a surprising fourth spot.
Verstappen started the GP six points ahead of Perez, and by the end of Sunday extended his lead to 14 points. The Dutch driver won emphatically, collecting the driver of the day award and an extra point for the quickest lap.
Easily the 25-year-old’s best overtaking move was executed on Leclerc and Magnussen as the squabbling pair were passed with gusto down the main straight.
After a busy afternoon scything through the field, Verstappen told F1.com: “It was a good race. I stayed out of trouble at the beginning and then just had a clean race, picking the cars off one by one. Then I could stay out really long on the hard tyres and that’s where I think we made the difference today.”
From a team perspective, Red Bull continued their dominance with the 1-2 victory. The pair are the only drivers to score over 100 points, Verstappen leads the drivers’ standings with 119, Perez has 105, and Alonso is way back with 75 points.
Two-time champion Alonso scored his fourth third-placed finish of the season, while Lewis Hamilton fought back from 13th to finish in sixth position.
Hamilton and teammate George Russell, who finished fourth, ground out impressive performances despite the W14 not having enough pace to keep up with Alonso’s Aston Martin.
Mercedes left Miami with a solid points haul, and the Brackley team closes the gap on second-placed Aston Martin in the Constructors’ Championship to six points.
In their opening stints, both drivers made steady progress whilst focusing on conserving tyre life.
Another podium finish for Alonso, the best of the rest
The Spaniard was ecstatic with another podium finish, and said after the race: “I think at the beginning of the year a podium was amazing; now after four podiums we want more, at least a second place,” Alonso said. “But the two Red Bulls they are always unbreakable, and always super-fast, but as I said, maybe Monaco, maybe Barcelona we have a possibility.”
All the teams will return to their respective HQs after a testing couple of weeks of racing that included the Baku and Miami doubleheader. For teams other than Red Bull, the focus will be on delivering upgrades for the next event – the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Imola, in a fortnight.
Race Results (Classification) – 2023 Miami Grand Prix
1 – Max Verstappen Red Bull 57 Laps
2 – Sergio Perez Red Bull +5.384
3 – Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +26.305
4 – George Russell Mercedes +33.229
5 – Carlos Sainz Ferrari +42.511
6 – Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +51.249
7 – Charles Leclerc Ferrari +52.988
8 – Pierre Gasly Alpine +55.670
9 – Esteban Ocon Alpine +58.123
10 – Kevin Magnussen Haas +62.945
11 – Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri +64.309
12 – Lance Stroll Aston Martin +64.754
13 – Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo +71.637
14 – Alex Albon Williams +72.861
15 – Nico Hulkenberg Haas +74.950
16 – Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo +78.440
17 – Lando Norris McLaren +87.717
18 – Nyck De Vries AlphaTauri +88.949
19 – Oscar Piastri McLaren +1 Lap
20 – Logan Sargeant Williams +1 Lap