Passing both Ferraris only at a pace, Jolyon Palmer says Ferrari should be worried after Max Verstappen’s victory at the Miami Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver had to come from behind to win at the Miami International Autodrome, and the Dutchman started with a P3 behind both Ferraris.
He briefly made Carlos Sainz, passing him in turn 2 in a move in which Palmer asked if the Spaniard should have done more to keep Verstappen behind him.
He wrote in his latest Column F1.com: “The concern for Ferrari at the moment must be the way Verstappen can beat them, even when they go behind both cars, and on the track in Miami which most other drivers found difficult to overtake without a significant offset tire.
“Verstappen did not rely on team tactics or strategy to win, he outsmarted Sainz in the first corner and immediately separated Ferrari. Sainza was a bit hampered by the inside line and Leclerc in boxing at the top, but could he have been a little more aggressive in squeezing Verstappen before the braking zone?
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“This move was crucial for Verstappen’s victory. Locking the front row is such a dangerous advantage for the team because it gives them strategic opportunities to cover the nearest threat in the stoppage phase in boxing. ”
As Sainz pulled out of the way, Verstappen began to approach Leclerc and, in the 9th round, he made his move through round 1 and took the lead.
Palmer believes Leclerc’s defense was even worse than Sainz’s.
“At the end of Round 8 Verstappen was within range of Leclerc’s DRS, in Red Bull being fast on the flat, the pressure started to grow on Leclerc who was just showing signs of fighting the front tires,” he said.
“Leclerc immediately snapped, running into turn 17 as soon as Verstappen appeared in Ferrari’s rear-view mirrors. This gave the Dutchman a brilliant opportunity to pass, which became a dunk when Leclerc gave Verstappen the inside line in the first round.
“Failures to take the lead in the race don’t come much easier than that, especially against the driver who is almost certainly Leclerc’s main rival in the title.”
Leclerc got a chance later in the race to try to regain the lead, the field gathering behind the Safety Car after Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly crashed.
The Ferrari driver failed to seize the opportunity, Verstappen got off to a good start in the race on his way to his second win in a row.
This meant that it narrowed the gap for Leclerc Driver’s Championship at only 19 points.
“After all the drama of his fight for the Hamilton 2021 title, Verstappen must appreciate this fight so far,” Palmer said, “with both drivers treating each other immensely, but Leclerc in Miami was certainly too generous.
“He may have hoped the DRS would get on the long plains of the next round, but unlike Bahrain or Jeddah where the tactic worked, the next DRS was out of the corner – but seven turns later, Verstappen could have broken out and succeeded.”