(Motorsports news) Max Verstappen won the Miami Grand Prix as his team-mate Sergio Perez led from pole position and was running medium tyres like the majority of the field but Verstappen was on a different strategy as he started ninth on hards after a very tough qualifying session on Saturday. As expected, Verstappen easily worked his way through the field, and before the middle stages he led the race after Perez pitted. Verstappen rejoined behind Perez but he quickly passed his team-mate to ensure his third victory of the year.
Perez had a great start from pole position and gained an advantage into Turn 1, ahead of Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz. Behind them there was Pierre Gasly who had his best qualifying on saturday while George Russell was the only who gained an advantage when he passed Kevin Magnussen (Haas). Further back, Lando Norris was tagged by Nyck de Vries (AlphaTauri) at the first corner, dropping both of them to the tail of the field.
Charles Leclerc made easy work off Magnussen at Turn 11 on the first lap, while Verstappen stayed in ninth on lap one as he had get the hard tyres to temperature. Once he got tyre temperature it was cakewalk for him as he breezed past ahead of both Leclerc and Magnussen at the start of lap 4 to run sixth.
Magnussen surprised everyone on Saturday when he started from 4th as he took advantage of Leclerc briefly running wide. Perez was comfortably in the lead when he pulled clear of the DRS range of Alonso while Sainz ran a close third. The man on the charge was Verstappen who overtook Russell into Turn 17 on lap eight and repeated the same move on Gasly a lap later to take fourth.
Verstappen was 4.6s behind leader Perez at lap 13 itself and had his eye set on closing the gap to Sainz. Verstappen darted past Sainz lap 14 and overtook Alonso a lap later to make it a Red Bull 1-2 by lap 15 as the gap was already down to 3.7s. Sainz meanwhile was right on Alonso’s tail when he pitted on Lap 19, locking up his brakes as he entered the pitlane and rejoined in heavy traffic. The Spainard had to get past Lewis Hamilton and Nico Hulkenberg but then received a 5s penalty from the FIA for not slowly down to the speed limit in the pitlane
Red Bull made a call and pitted Perez first on lap 21, with a 2.2-second stop that allowed Verstappen to take the lead. Alonso pitted from second on lap 25 as he extended his stint on mediums, the two time F1 champion passed Sainz at Turn 11 just before half distance. Verstappen pitted on lap 46 although his stop was a relatively slow 3.1s as Max rejoined behind his team-mate on fresh mediums.
Perez was on hard tyres that had already done 25 laps as Verstappen passed Perez with 10 laps to go at Turn 1 and pulled away to victory by over 5s. Alonso finished third, ahead of Russell and Sainz. While Hamilton made a brilliant recovery from 13th on the grid to sixth passing Leclerc and Gasly at the final stages.