Max Verstappen jumped from third to first place at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, but who else caught the eye of our judges this weekend? The results are from Sunshine State.
How does it work
Our five panel of judges evaluates each driver after each Grand Prix and rates him out of 10 according to their performance over the weekend – throwing machines out of the equation
The results of our experts are then averaged to get the result of the race – with these results which are then added up during the season on our overall table of the best results (at the bottom of the page)
Max Verstappen did not have the easiest start to life in Sunshine State, a hydraulics problem – which he blamed for his qualifying error on Saturday – interrupted his FP2 session and lost the opportunity to postpone a long drive to Miami. But the Dutchman managed it on Sunday, jumping off the line to separate P2 from Carlos Sainz, and then passing Charles Leclerc shortly afterwards. The belated Safety Car shook the current champion a bit.
Alex Albon showed off his best run of the season and one of the best of his career, implying a sublime result in the Power Rankings, reflecting his path from a P18 online to a stellar P10 on a checkered flag. That single point was doubled when Fernando Alonso was penalized after the race, giving Albon a well-deserved P9 on a day he didn’t put his foot wrong.
Charles Leclerc took pole position after Verstappen’s mistake in Saturday’s session and while the championship leader expressed confidence that Ferrari’s speed in corners would be enough to keep the mighty Red Bull at a distance, that hope was not realized. Instead, the Monegasque driver passed Verstappen and finished second. He later he admitted it backwards, his defense on Sunday could have been a little more stubborn. Despite the late restart of the Safety Car which gave him a second chance, Leclerc could not separate the lead from his rival.
Lewis Hamilton stayed looking back at the “unfortunate” Miami GP. The Mercedes 7-meter qualifier solidly sixth – well ahead of his team-mate George Russell – but also finished sixth, behind his team-mate. Hamilton said he felt unhappy not to pass under the late Safety Car, unlike Russell who did – and took the P5. However, he was lucky to finish ahead of Valtteri Bottas, who made a late mistake and fell to seventh place.
Esteban Ocon fell short due to the close entry of the chicane into Turn 14 in FP3 and since then the Alpine driver’s weekend seemed to be over, as he had to stay in qualifying with a cracked chassis. Starting 18th (both Aston Martins dropped out of the pits due to fuel problems) Ocon managed to regain sterling, starting with toughness and avoiding late incidents to finish in a brilliant eighth place.
Carlosa Sainza FP2 pad it seemed a logical continuation of his recent troubles, but the Spaniard shrugged it off – and the physical pain – shifted on Saturday in the second row behind Leclerc after Verstappen’s mistake. Yes, Verstappen passed with ease at the start, and Sainz might have hoped he could keep the champion a little longer. Sainz instead denied the helpless Sergio Perez for the final spot on the podium.
Bottas was one of many who crashed in training on Friday, but and he kept his chin up, qualifying for the best P5 season on Saturday. It seemed that the driver of the Alfa Romeo was almost destined to end up there, all the way to Russell’s late station because of the tires. Unfortunately, the Finn deviated from the track while the Mercedes were fighting and remained complaining about the P7 on the flag.
Although Russell himself was happy to be able to go out to box during the late Safety Car, he did an amazing job to recover from the awkward start of the weekend. Porpoising shattered his confidence and led him out of Q2, but a long stay on hard tires led Russell to break into the top 10 and beyond when Bottas veered off course and Hamilton neatly conceded a P5.
Sergio Perez won a place in the P4 qualifiers despite beating FP3, and the Mexican seemed set to finish last on the podium – until he ran into engine problems and lost ground early. It has been difficult to keep up with Sainz ever since, but Perez marched on, doing his best to pull the P3 out after a late restart of the Safety Car – but his lock in lap 52 was the last chance Perez had. He finished P4, but hoped for much more.
Alonso had the misfortune of missing Q3, but gave it all – maybe a little too much as he admitted – on Sunday. The Spaniard finished in eighth place but fell back to 11th after breaking two penalties in the race after colliding with Gasly and then narrowing the track limits late. It was a typically strenuous performance by the double champion and an approach that impressed our judges enough to place him in this week’s top 10.
Pierre Gasly missed out on the top 10 this weekend. The AlphaTauria driver started seventh but didn’t finish after a collision with McLaren’s Land Norris to deliver a late warning.