During the weekend from 5 to 7 May, Formula 1 arrives in the United States of America, at the Miami International Autodrome for the Miami Grand Prix. The Grand Prix represents the fifth round of the 2023 season of the Formula 1 world championship and is held one week after the dispute of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the fourth race of the championship. For the first time this season, the world championship includes a race one week after the other. After the dispute between Eastern Europe and Western Asia, the world championship stops for the first time of the season in the United States of America. The Miami Grand Prix is the first of three races scheduled in the month of May, as well as the second consecutive time, after the inaugural edition of 2022, that the Grand Prix is held in this month, as well as being, also for this championship, the fifth test of the year. For the fourth consecutive race weekend, the championship disputes an appointment on a street circuit, even if this is not a permanent one. The contract for the race to be held on the world calendar, also at the Miami International Autodrome, is valid until the 2031 season. For the second consecutive edition, the Grand Prix is sponsored by the cryptocurrency exchange application Crypto.com. This edition is attended by 270.491 spectators during the race weekend, which represents the absolute record for the Grand Prix. The previous record belonged to the previous and inaugural edition of 2022, characterized by 242.955 spectators over the weekend. The Miami International Autodrome, a non-permanent street circuit located in Miami Gardens, United States of America, located in the immediate vicinity of Hard Rock Stadium, 14 miles from the Downtown Miami neighborhood, is the seventy-sixth circuit to host a valid race for the world championship. It became the seventh circuit to debut in the turbo-hybrid era that began in the 2014 season, after the Sochi circuit in the same championship with the Russian Grand Prix, the Baku circuit in 2016 with the European Grand Prix, the international Mugello racetrack with the Tuscan Grand Prix and the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve with the Portuguese Grand Prix in 2020, the Lusail circuit with the Qatar Grand Prix and the Jeddah circuit with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in 2021.
For this edition, the organizers announce a series of updates to the structure of the circuit: the paddock area is expanded, as the hospitality areas of the teams has been moved on the field inside the stadium; following the high demand for tickets for the inaugural Grand Prix, the capacity of the grandstands was increased by 3.000; 61 new hospitality suites were added and a new permanent building was built on the pits accommodating around 6.000 spectators. After the adherence problems encountered during the first edition, the entire route was resurfaced, with the aim of improving its conditions. Various news and curiosities accompany the drivers and teams as they approach this race weekend. Before the start of the championship, the Austrian Red Bull Racing team announces its participation in the three world championship races held in the United States of America with three special celebratory liveries, different for each Grand Prix. In the first event in Miami, the Milton Keynes builder race with a livery that features blue and fuchsia inserts on the sides, to pay homage to the city, using its colors which have become a symbol thanks to the television series Miami Vice. The special livery used is the seventh in the history of Red Bull Racing in 19 years of presence in Formula 1 after the debut in the category in the 2005 season. Starting from this Grand Prix, the Federation decides to change the podium procedure after what happened in the previous Azerbaijan Grand Prix in which the French Alpine driver, Esteban Ocon, recalled by the team to make a pit stop, in the final stages of the race, had to avoid some FIA personnel inside the pit lane, ready in preparation for the podium procedure. From now on, team mechanics and any other staff or VIPs, will no longer be allowed to move from their garages to parc fermé until the last car has taken the checkered flag. No one else will be allowed to enter the designated area once the cars are in the parc fermé. Australian McLaren driver Oscar Piastri, local Williams driver Logan Sargeant, Dutch AlphaTauri driver Nyck De Vries and German Haas driver Nico Hülkenberg compete for the first time at the Miami International Autodrome. In the event of a points finish, Red Bull Racing's Dutch World Champion Max Verstappen would equal German Michael Schumacher in fourth place ever for the longest uninterrupted series of points races, a streak that began in the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix 2022, the longest of any other driver participating in the championship, behind only the British from Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton, author of two consecutive streaks of 48 and 33 races respectively, and the Finn Kimi Räikkönen with 27.
Former Formula 1 driver, American Danny Sullivan, is appointed assistant commissioner for the race. He has held that function in the past, most recently at the 2022 British Grand Prix. Sullivan was also appointed assistant steward at the previous inaugural race. The British car manufacturer Aston Martin supplies the safety car and the medical car. Regarding the characteristics of the Miami track and the consequent choice of the types of tire compounds brought to this track, Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director, outlines the scenario and declares:
"This weekend, Formula 1 will race in Miami for the first of three rounds in the United States on this year's calendar, along with the now-traditional event in Austin and the much-awaited race in Las Vegas. It is not the first time that the championship has had three grands prix take place in the US in the same year, but never before have we seen our sport make such an impact with the American public, and this is largely thanks to the commitment made by Liberty Media. In the first race held on the track around the Hard Rock Stadium last year, the tyres behaved as expected on asphalt which had rather particular characteristics, above all due to a very high micro-roughness. We know that the track has now been completely resurfaced and we will have to check during the usual inspection that precedes the start of the weekend if there will be any significant changes in its characteristics. The Miami track requires average downforce levels, as it features a wide variety of corners but also a very long straight. We have brought the middle tyres in the range (C2, C3, and C4), also due to the fact that we can expect very high temperatures: last year the asphalt reached almost 60 °C".
At Mercedes, the Team Principal Toto Wolff takes stock of what the weekend was like for his team at the last Grand Prix in Baku and declares himself enthusiastic about getting back on track in Miami:
"From the streets of Baku to the streets of Miami. We're looking forward to being back on track so quickly after an interesting, but challenging, weekend in Baku. The new sprint format threw up some surprises and we now need to evaluate the merits of it, and if there are any tweaks necessary. Unfortunately, we didn't quite get our car in the right set-up window during practice. That made the rest of the weekend more difficult. Our race pace looked competitive against the Ferraris and Aston Martins, but with overtaking so tricky, we couldn't put this to the test. That's about where our car is right now but we also know small differences can have a big impact weekend by weekend. We're excited therefore to get to Miami and get back on track. We'll be using the few days in between to extract as many learnings as we can and put ourselves in the best possible position. It's a circuit that is a different beast compared to the last few races. There's a real mix of corners, with some high-speed sections, long straights but also tight, twisty portions. It's also going to be a busy weekend with plenty of off-track activities and events for the team and our partners. There was an incredible buzz last year and I have no doubts it will be another spectacular event this year".
At Mclaren, the English driver Lando Norris, after the good weekend he had in Baku, hopes that the updates brought will take the team in the right direction:
"Miami, it's good to be back Stateside! The US races are always exciting, and I'm looking forward to seeing the Papaya fans out in full force to create an amazing atmosphere this weekend. The car felt good in Baku, our new upgrades seem to be a step in the right direction, and we achieved the best we could under the circumstances. It's now time to continue improving race-by-race and finish the double-header on a positive by getting the most we can out of the MCL6 and try to secure more points for the team".
Oscar Piastri continues:
"I'm looking forward to racing in Miami, it's a new track for me and the atmosphere should be electric with out passional US fans! It's another circuit on the calendar which has challenging features, but I've prepared well by working hard in the sim. Despite illness, it was great to get into Q3 for the second time this season in Baku. We worked hard throughout the weekend and the new parts made the car feel good. In the race it was disappointing to miss out on points by one position, but I'm determined to finish the double-header in Miami with another strong showing".
Andrea Stella, McLaren’s Team Principal, is satisfied with having scored points in the last Grand Prix in Azerbaijan and with the aim of continuing with another positive weekend concludes:
"We left Baku with thwo points gained on genuine performance merit and pleased with the delivery of the upgrades we fitted. A lot of hard work has been done by the team back at the factory and at the track to make sure this important first step of our plan to upgrade the MCL60 was achieved in time. We head to Miami now to finish the first double-header of the season. We will continue to put maximum efforts to secure a positive result at the Miami International Autodrome this weekend. Miami is another interesting circuit, with hot conditions and risk of rain. It will be the first time for Oscar racing the circuit, but he has prepared extremely well by working hard in the simulator. We know there is a lot of work to do to improve our performance, but we head to America with the aim of delivering another clean race weekend and earn championship points".
In Alpine, the French driver Esteban Ocon hopes to have a better weekend than in Baku:
"After a very challenging weekend in Baku, the target for us here in Miami is making a strong comeback. We've debriefed and we are ready to take the learnings and move forward. It was a frustrating few days where many things didn't go right and it is clear we cannot afford more weekends like this. The whole team is glad to have the chance put things right so soon after Baku and we are ready to tackle the Miami Grand Prix weekend head on".
Of the same thought is the compatriot and Alpine teammate Pierre Gasly, who hopes to have a better experience than last weekend:
"It's good we have an immediate opportunity to bounce back in Miami this weekend. It's a more conventional circuit with the normal format and we must be on it from lap one on Friday to put ourselves in a much stronger position to compete higher up the grid for the remainder of the weekend. After two disappointing races at the last two events, I'm so determined to put it right this weekend and return to the top ten as a minimum target".
In AlphaTauri, Nyck de Vries hopes to have a better weekend in Miami:
"The best thing you can do after a weekend like the one I had in Baku is to get straight back in the car and, fortunately, that’s exactly what I can do with this second part of the back-to-back. It’s fair to say I had a bit of bad luck, and also what happened in the race last Sunday was purely my fault. It was a difficult weekend, not just for me, but mainly for the mechanics, as I gave them a lot more work to do. I’m sorry for that and I really appreciate how hard they worked to get my car back on track. The good news is that the team clearly did a very good job of improving the car between Melbourne and Baku and Miami will be a chance to make the most of that, while also learning more about the car and developing it further. I have been to the Miami track before. I was there last year, mainly doing show runs on Ocean Drive, which was a very unique experience. It’s a really cool thing that I can say I did 180 degree spins there in a Formula 1 car. I had a good time and it’s great that the US is gathering so much momentum for Formula 1. Miami is an attractive venue and I’m looking forward to racing there. It’s going to be a tough race as it gets pretty hot there in the daytime. I’ll take it a step at a time. From the work I’ve done on the simulator I can see there are some tricky sections on the track, like the sector under the bridge, while the very slow twisty section is quite awkward for the current Formula 1 cars that are so big".
Yuki Tsunoda concludes:
"It was a bit of an untidy time in Baku, but I’ve come to Miami with a very positive mindset as there were many signs that we are making real progress with the car and the updates that came out of Bicester, especially those aimed at improving our top speed, really seemed to work. The highpoint in Azerbaijan was qualifying eighth, so scoring a point for tenth was good, but I’d hoped for better. Also, I was pleased with my own performance in terms of how I was driving and how I handled the various situations of the very busy Sprint weekend format. I made it to Q3 in Miami last year and I liked the track. The atmosphere there is definitely special, and the American fans are very enthusiastic. My memories of that week are that it is very hot and the humidity was quite high, which made the race quite demanding physically. Last year, I hadn’t expected that, but I will be prepared this time. I did a lot of Miami work in the simulator and it has some sections similar to Baku, so I hope we can be on the pace and keep making progress with the car".
At Aston Martin, Fernando Alonso is enthusiastic about returning to race in Miami and is confident in the potential that the car will be able to show on this track:
"It's good to be back in Miami! It's a great place to visit for Formula One and we're excited for our first Grand Prix of the year in the United States. I have always enjoyed visiting this country and I enjoy the approach and passion for sports here. We are fresh from an intense weekend in Baku that saw us score 22 points as a team and finishing just one second away from another podium on Sunday. The car performed well despite having limited time to setup. The circuit in Miami is a fast one, with lots of sweeping corners and long straights. It'll be interesting to see if the resurfacing has had an impact on the track and we'll get plenty of time to assess this on Friday. Our performance in Baku was encouraging and I hope to see similar results in Miami. We will be aiming to outscore our closest rivals again and put on a good show for the fans".
Lance Stroll concludes:
"It's great to be in Miami and to be getting straight back behind the wheel after a busy weekend in Azerbaijan. It's always incredible to see just how much the sport's popularity has grown in the US and I love seeing the grandstands packed full of fans. Hopefully we can put on a good show for them. I have mixed emotions from last year; I had to start from the pits due to an issue before the race, but managed to fight back through the field and finished in tenth which was a pretty good result. The track itself is fast but hard: how a street circuit should be. You need to take some risks but you can get punished for overstepping the mark. That's how I like it, though! As always, we'll be pushing hard this weekend to ensure we come away from the double-header knowing we made the most of every possible opportunity to score points".
At Ferrari, Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal, outlines the next developments that they will bring and dwells on the characteristics of the Miami track in correlation to the Ferrari:
"We are in the middle of a particularly busy part of the season with five races in six weeks from Baku to Barcelona and our work continues on track and in Maranello to develop our car package. Miami is yet another unusual track with all the idiosyncrasies of a street circuit, which both our drivers enjoy, so I’m confident we can make another step forward with the SF-23. The United States has historically been a very important market for Ferrari and the Scuderia has a strong fanbase here, which is a further incentive to keep pushing to close the performance gap to the championship leaders".
Carlos Sainz, after the difficult weekend in Baku, hopes to regain confidence with the car like in Melbourne and to take his SF-23 to the limit:
"For me, Miami is one of the nicest locations of the season, it reminds me of home and I always feel comfortable around here. Baku was a difficult weekend, not so much because of the result, but more because I didn’t have a good feeling. We have analysed all the data and we believe we understand the reasons why I did not feel fully confident in the car. Now, I want to get out on track to confirm what the data tells us. I want to go back to the level of confidence I had in the car in Melbourne, where I was able to run at a consistent pace for the whole race. Obviously, there are a lot of things to understand at an unusual track like this one, starting with the track surface which has been completed redone. We will have to check out its characteristics, but I’m confident I can have a competitive weekend, enjoying driving my SF-23 on the limit".
Charles Leclerc, after the positive weekend in Baku, is confident about returning to race in Miami and hopes that the progress seen in the last Grand Prix will continue:
"I’m happy to be in Miami again. We come here off the back of a good result in Baku and the aim here is to confirm the progress we have made. Finishing third, but in more general terms the performance across the whole Azerbaijan weekend, was a good tonic for the team. We saw the car was competitive in qualifying, while there is still some work needed to be able to fight for the win in the race. We’re confident and everyone is working in the same direction to close the gap to the championship leaders. It’s great to see that our sport has so much visibility, especially here in the United States. We’re hardly aware they are shooting a film, because there are so many cameras here anyway, it’s hard to know who is doing what, so I don’t think it’s annoying or putting us under more pressure. We are happy to be part of this Formula 1".
At Alfa Romeo, Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative, does not hide the fact that his team is not at the level of performance that he expected, but hopes to reverse the trend:
"We head to Miami for the second and final leg of this double header, putting a difficult weekend in Azerbaijan behind us. There is no denying we are not where we expected to be at the start of the season, and right now, performance-wise, fighting for the top ten is tough. Nevertheless, we must remain calm and not lose our focus on what we need to do: the season is still long, and we have the opportunity to turn the tide. We saw in Baku how the field is still very much competitive, and small margins can make a real difference. We are working hard on improvements, both back at base in Switzerland and at the track, and we are committed to achieve this together as a team".
Valtteri Bottas, after the non-positive weekend in Baku, where his team nonetheless learned some lessons, is happy to return in Miami as he has good memories:
"Baku was definitely not our weekend, but we have taken some lessons from it and we have moved on to a new race week. I am glad to be back in Miami, I have good memories from last year’s inaugural race and the welcome we received here in Florida. We need to make a rapid improvement in terms of performance, maximising the different track we’ll have this week. We are as motivated as ever: it may seem tough right now, but there are still many races ahead, and we are all keen on doing the very best. I am looking forward to being back behind the wheel this weekend, feeling confident and ready for a new challenge".
Zhou Guanyu concludes:
"It’s a new race week, and we will have new opportunities after what hasn’t been the best event for us in Baku. I have unfinished business from last year’s race in Miami, therefore I am even more motivated to bring home a good result for the team. We expected more from these first few races, that is for sure, but we are determined to keep pushing and give everything to get back to where we need to be. We have seen how tight the gaps are this year, and how tenths and hundredths can make the difference. We have it in us: we saw results coming in when we performed well. Everyone in the team is working hard, and I am confident we will soon make the step forward we are aiming for".
At Haas, Guenther Steiner, Team Principal, outlines his overall assessment of the new Sprint format:
"As an event, it went well. It was the first one and there was a lot going on during the race weekend and we still need to get our heads around it. For example, if we do Qualifying for the Grand Prix on Friday, do we disconnect between the race on Sunday and what happens in-between on Saturday? I don’t know the verdict yet, and FOM will speak to the fans to see what they have got to say and see if you need to switch it around, but overall I’m very happy with what happened. It’s quite intense for the teams and drivers but that’s what it should be like, in my opinion. I questioned Free Practice on Saturday, but it’s not boring anymore with Qualifying - it’s the complete opposite - and that’s what we want. All in all, we should go ahead and we should look into the details to see if we need to make small changes or not".
Regarding the Miami track and how this race has established itself as an event for Formula 1, Guenther says:
"It feels strange as Miami’s only had one year but it feels like it’s been there a long time. Everybody’s looking forward to it because everyone did a good job last year. When you look at these events, there’s always room for improvement but I’m very positive as it’s one of those events where it’s great for the teams to come back. It was a great event last year and it will be a great event this year. There’s a positive buzz to it because the fans are really waiting for these events to come around".
This is the first home match for the Scuderia and regarding this aspect, Steiner concludes:
"This event is busy for everybody, the whole team, there is so much going on because it’s a great event. We’ve got a lot of partners, MoneyGram, Haas Automation, Chipotle, TravisMathew - who are American - and then you’ve got OAKBERRY, and Palm Angels - who have a lot of ties to Miami and it’s an important market for them, almost a home race for them. We’ve got a lot of activation going on, which is great because we get exposure and the fans love it when we show them what we’re doing. It’s busy but the weekend will fly by, it’s going to be an event that you never stop".
Kevin Magnussen is happy to be back racing on a unique track like the one in Miami:
"The Miami Grand Prix is one of these new races in the US that kind of feels like a new type of Formula 1 event, where it’s taken to the next level. It’s very unique, it’s very hyped, there’s a lot of new things about it and I also think the track is fun".
This is the first of three home races for the team, and regarding this aspect, he says:
"There’s more activities during a US Grand Prix weekend being the only American team, plus having an American title sponsor. It’s also one of the races where we really want to do well in front of our home crowd, and also in front of many of our sponsor’s home fans as well. It’s the closest I get to a home race in a way because there isn’t a Danish Grand Prix and the closest I get is the team’s home race and I count that as ours. Luckily we have three of those and hopefully we can do well at all three".
Regarding the Miami circuit and the main challenges to be faced when racing on this track, he concludes:
"Last year was very hot and humid and also it’s a physical track. It’s not the most physical track in terms of the layout, but it is tough and with the weather on top it was so hard. I think it’s a tricky place to put a Formula 1 track and they’ve managed to make something that’s fun. The timing is very unique and last year it was being repaired over the weekend so it changed a lot during the weekend. There were some big adaptations you had to make to your driving style for those repairs. Sector 1 is fun, it’s the fast part of the track - with the esses and tricky braking in Turns 7 and 8 before the straight - but the most challenging part is the slower section under the bridge before the last long straight".
The German driver Nico Hulkenberg, on his first race weekend in Miami, declares:
"I will only explore the track on Friday in a Formula 1 car, but I did do hot laps around here in a road car and it seemed fun. I’m looking forward to explore it and learn the track as it’s quite technical and challenging for sure. The event was mega hyped, successful and I’ve never seen such a big paddock and grid like Miami during my time in Formula 1 so that looked pretty entertaining".
Regarding the expectations for this weekend, the first home event for the team, he says:
"Of course it’s going to be a busy weekend and busy race for us. We have a lot of partners and guests that will be supporting us but on track, it’s business as usual and the approach is always the same - I will give it 100%".
On the evolution that this sport has had, he concludes:
"A standard race weekend is still very similar to 2010. Obviously Sprint weekends are very different but overall the sport has evolved and grown over the years, and I think mainly in a positive way".
Pietro Fittipaldi, third driver of the Haas team, born and raised in Miami, comments on the expectations for this weekend and the event in general:
"Going to the first Miami Grand Prix last year was amazing. I always knew a race in Miami would be extremely successful as it’s the hub of Latin America in the US, and obviously the Latin American culture is very passionate about Formula 1. Miami is the center, so having a race there you have people coming from the US, but also from countries in South America coming to watch. I didn’t drive the track but going on the track walk with the team and viewing the onboard cameras, it’s a very technical track. I thought the event was really cool and being around the Miami Dolphins stadium, where the promoter did an event for teams and we got to see their training facilities was a highlight of my weekend there. All the superstars from other sports and Hollywood, it was very much Miami vibes, and I think the team did a great job with the event and am sure this year it’s going to be even better".
On the characteristics surrounding the approach to this Grand Prix, he declares:
"Last year there were a lot of events, parties and celebrations going on over the weekend and there is a lot of that at other races, but what makes Miami different is that it’s known for this. The nightlife is a reason people go to Miami, so to have that during a race weekend is very cool. As drivers, we’re focused on the race but having activities going on in the paddock and people like Michael Jordan and Dwayne Wade - athletes who I’m a massive fan of walking around the paddock - is very cool. They were all there for the Miami Grand Prix. Other races do it, but doing it in Miami has a different feel to it".
Regarding the characteristics of the track, he declares:
"Miami is a very tricky track - it’s technical, it’s a street circuit. You have very long straights so it’s hard to set-up the car because you need straight-line speed. Traditionally you’d go low downforce but then if you look at Sector 1, there’s a lot of high-speed corners and you need the grip. You need to find the right compromise of downforce and straight-line speed. There’s a couple of corners from last year after Turn 1 where you need to find the right line and get the rhythm right. What’s also cool is you’re going under the highway, which I don’t remember seeing at any other track".
At Williams, Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, outlines the team's expectations for the weekend in Miami, with the relative characteristics of the track:
"This weekend is a traditional Grand Prix weekend, which gives us some Free Practice time to work on the car development and setup, and for the drivers to understand the changes to the circuit since last year. The track has been resurfaced since 2022 and we will need to understand the implications of this on tyre performance. Pirelli have brought compounds from the middle of their range and these should offer a good compromise of qualifying and race performance. The weather forecast is for mostly hot and sunny, and this will also affect the tyre performance and car setup, as well as pushing the cooling close to its limit. We suffered some damage to the cars in Baku, but the factory team have worked very hard to repair and replace the affected components; we arrive in Miami in good shape and eager to take on the challenge of this fast, exciting anticlockwise circuit. The Grand Prix of Miami has been a great addition to the calendar and is a home race for Logan, who races here in F1 for the first time. The American crowd will provide a lot of support and motivation for Logan and we all look forward to putting on a good show for them".
Alex Albon declares:
"Miami was an interesting circuit last year, being one of the more physical tracks with the heat and humidity, so definitely more of a challenge as a driver. The track layout was also quite difficult, however with the resurfacing done ahead of the race, hopefully this will make a difference. I have fond memories from last year placing 9th, and this year makes it even more special being a home race for the team and for Logan, so I'm sure the vibes will be good, and we can look to execute a good weekend".
Logan Sargeant concludes:
"I'm really excited for my first ever home race. I'm expecting it to be a challenge with the heat and not knowing the track, but my energy and motivation to be at my best is topped up. It's going to be a very special weekend for me that I will enjoy very much".
At Red Bull, Sergio Perez hopes to be able to continue the good period started in Baku:
"Physically Miami is the most demanding race of the season so I have been working hard to be ready for it. Hopefully we can continue on our good form from Baku and be really competitive".
Max Verstappen, is excited to race in Miami:
"I’m looking forward to Miami. It’s definitely not going to be easy. It’s quite a complex circuit. Our fans also designed the livery this weekend, so I’m excited to see what that looks like".
On Friday 3rd May, 2023, the teams are ready for the two sessions of free practice, in a much warmer weather condition than last week in Baku, with an air temperature of 29 °C and high humidity rate. The first free practice session starts at 2:00 p.m. local time and all the drivers are out on hard and medium compound tyres; most of them struggling to find the pace and spinning the car around some corner.
George Russell complains from the beginning about vibrations on his steering wheel:
"I'm really struggling with the steering mate, I'm not going to learn anything like this".
He is told by his mechanic that the issue can't be fixed during the session so he needs to go back in the garage and wait half an hour to solve the problem. While all the drivers are out trying to find the right set up, learning the track conditions and getting a feel for their tyres, Perez has already run wide, struggling with his braking point. Max Verstappen is the one who sets the pace on the hard tyre, ahead of Hamilton, Alonso and Leclerc. Almost ten minutes in and double yellow flags are out because rookie Nyck de Vries spins at Turn 12: it’s his first race here in Miami on a track where it is difficult to adapt. It’s quite clear the Red Bull’s superiority as the drivers continue to improve their times, also thanks to the better track conditions. Halfway in and the drivers change on soft tyre, with George Russell back on track - Mercedes men change his steering wheel - and surprisingly fast. Nico Hulkemberg is flying in his Haas setting the second fastest lap but later on he loses control of the car through Turn 3, spins and crashes into the barriers damaging his car and causing a red flag; the session is stopped. At the restart, there is a lot of traffic on track and everyone’s out on soft tyres. Nico Hulkenberg declares:
"I wanted it a bit too much, a bit too soon and paid the price for it. It happens sometimes and luckily there wasn’t too much damage and we picked things up in FP2 and were in a good spot. I feel the car actually handles and fits quite well to this circuit and I like the circuit a lot too. It was my first time on track in a Formula 1 car and it’s got a nice flow to it, it’s technical and challenging. I had a good day despite the incident".
At the end of the session Russell is the fastest in 1'30"125, ahead of his teammate Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc. The Monegasque offers an early glimpse of the pace brought by the upgraded floor on the Ferrari, with teammate Carlos Sainz down in fifth (he hasn’t use the new floor during FP1). Verstappen finishes only fourth, between the Ferrari pair. Pierre Gasly is sixth, ahead of Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll in seventh and eighth position. Hulkemberg ends ninth ahead of Esteban Ocon, who closes the top-10. Sergio Perez is 11th, ahead Oscar Piastri in 12th and the other Haas of Kevin Magnussen. Valtteri Bottas leads the Alfa Romeo duo in 14th, followed by Alex Albon and Lando Norris. Zhou Guanyu is 17th fastest, followed by Yuki Tsunoda in 18th and the Florida native Logan Sargeant down in 19th for Williams. De Vries finishes last. It is important to notice that during the first free practice session Hamilton and Zhou Guanyu used a new transmission assembly outside the allocation provided in the technical regulations. Both drivers were not penalized on the starting grid as this operation falls within the maximum number allowed by the technical regulations. Before the start of Friday's second free practice session, Nyck De Vries' car is fitted with the second gearbox and transmission. The Dutch AlphaTauri driver is not penalized on the starting grid as the newly installed components are within the maximum number set by the technical regulations. At 5:30 p.m. local time the second session of free practice gets underway; the weather is hotter than before and the track temperature has risen till 51 °C.
The track is dusty, especially in the racing line: this causes the loss of grip at many drivers during FP1. It is a busy session topped by Max Verstappen, ahead of the Ferrari pair, leaded by Sainz, who confirms the performance of the morning session, although the Italian cars seem less competitive in the race pace simulation. Despite is performance (Verstappen's time of the session of 1'27"930 is the fastest at the Miami International Autodrome) the Dutchman doesn’t seem completely happy: he complains about his headrest at times and also his car. Perez, after the 11th place in the first session, moves up to fourth position, half a second off his teammate's time. He had to abort one flying lap as he almost collected the AlphaTauri of Nyck de Vries in the narrow Turn 14-15 chicane. At the end of the day here’s what the Mexican driver says:
"The conditions out there aren’t great, especially the grip in FP1, it felt like inter to wet tyre conditions. Getting a read in these low grip conditions is tricky but there are only very small margins to ensure we make improvements. We have been trying some stuff with the mechanical balance and I think we learnt quite a bit. I haven’t had the greatest of Fridays. On one of my flying laps I locked up on the final corner and then on the long run I don’t think we managed to get too much of a read on the laps we got in. So, I still have quite a bit to come, together with my driving because I was not driving very well today. If I am able to improve my driving and get myself a bit more comfortable, I should be alright".
His teammate Max Verstappen adds:
"Today was a good day. Initially we were getting used to the track with the new tarmac, it was ramping up a lot throughout the day. It’s still quite slippery off line but on the driving line it’s okay. Most importantly today we had good balance in the car so I feel happy. There are still a few things we want to look at overnight, ideally we want to be faster on every corner, which isn’t always possible. We’ll have to see what the weather will do tomorrow, but overall it’s been a positive day".
The Mercedes cars perform less well, however, concentrating more on adjustments for the race. George Russell runs wide at Turn 11 almost a the end of the session and finishes down in P15. Lewis Hamilton is able to finish 7th but is not happy with the car performance. Hamilton, who is struggling a lot and doesn’t get the right confidence with the car, says:
"I'm going to stay optimistic and hopeful that we can get the car in a better place for tomorrow, and maybe be a couple of positions further forward than today. We weren't particularly quick, and it was a struggle out there. The grip is quite low on this new surface. It is slippery, particularly for the rear-end. The track temperature today was very high so there was lots of sliding. FP1 looked quite good but our pace in FP2 was a kick in the guts. We're trying lots of different things and we'll keep working on it. We'll regroup tonight, see if we can make some set-up changes and get the car in a better sweet spot. It's a great weekend here and a great place to be so there are still positives".
George Russell seems more confident about his car’s performance:
"Today didn't feel too dissimilar to last year here in Miami. In 2022, we were fastest on Friday but then knocked out in Q2 on Saturday. This year, the car changed even during the session. FP1 was a bit of a messy hour but we ended fastest. In FP2, I felt strong on the medium run but when we put the soft tyre on, the car wasn't working for me. We understand a little bit why that is and fortunately, we've got the time to make improvements overnight. It's fine margins out there. I think going into Sunday there will be a few unknowns. The track has been resurfaced this year but it's still not performing like another circuit. It's a true outlier. I think that's cool in some regards, but it could be difficult to race on. You can't afford to drive offline as you lose all grip. Looking at Saturday, if everything is right then there's no reason we can't be ahead of Ferrari and Aston Martin. As we've seen at the first four races, it's very tight between all three teams. If we maximise everything, we can be rewarded and jump ahead of them. We know we've got the potential, but we need to improve overnight".
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director, declares:
"Our programme in FP1 was offset compared to others, so the headline times flattered us to some degree. Nevertheless, we clearly had the car in a nice window and both drivers found that the lap time came quite easily. We made some subtle changes to the car before FP2, but it immediately become apparent that in cooler conditions the car was more of handful on new tyres. The red flag for Leclerc's crash meanwhile meant that everyone was limited to only a few laps on high fuel. From the running we did get, our pace in that aspect looks OK. It's going to be difficult to overtake here though so we must improve our single lap balance this evening, otherwise we will face a frustrating Sunday. As usual, we have the support of our factory overnight and we've got a good read on the issues from today, so we know what to work on".
With 15 minutes left at the end of the session Leclerc crashes: the car has gone straight after he lost the rear, locked up and hits the barriers.
"Yeah, I crashed into Turn 8".
He says on team radio. The red flag is out with just under ten minutes to go and the session is stopped. Leclerc’s impression of this Friday is not so good:
"The feeling in the car is good on one-lap runs. In terms of race pace, we are still lacking compared to our competitors and are focused on closing that gap. Let’s see what is possible tomorrow".
His teammate Carlos Sainz instead says:
"Today in Miami was, as expected, an intense Friday with high temperatures and a lot of running. The tarmac is very different to last year so it was important to get a good feeling for the new conditions. We completed the whole programme; we tried all three compounds and we’ve got plenty of data for tonight".
Aston Martin had a good FP2 session in the end, even if they were fined once with 100 euros and once with 400 euros from the FIA because Lance Stroll exceeded the speed limit set in the pit lane on two occasions. Alonso finished 5th overall while Stroll close the session in 8th position. Fernando Alonso is not so positive for qualifying:
"It was a relatively routine Friday practice for us after the different format in Baku. We've had more time on track to learn about the car and the tyres this weekend, despite some red flags disrupting the sessions. So far, I think the new track surface seems to be better, but we were basically just cleaning the racing line today. It seems when you move away from it, it's very slippery - so that could make overtaking difficult. Qualifying tomorrow is important, but our strength is normally on Sunday, so we'll see what we can do".
Lance Stroll seems happy with the Aston Martin’s performance:
"We made the most of both practice sessions today and came away with a better understanding of how the changes to the track will impact our running. We know it will be incredibly hot here - probably the hottest track temperatures of the year - so tyre degradation will be a big factor and something we need to monitor across the weekend. But the car felt good; we made some changes after FP1 which improved performance for FP2, so I'm feeling positive heading into Saturday".
AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda takes P18 in front of his team mate De Vries. It is not a good start to the season for the team from Faenza, which struggles on both the fast lap and the race pace and the Japanese driver knows it:
"It was a challenging day because the pace does not seem great so far, so we need to find a solution to improve. Compared to last year, our overall performance has increased and the track surface has improved, but we are still lacking quite a bit of pace compared to our competitors. We didn’t have any big upgrades coming into this race, so we’ll need to try a different approach for tomorrow".
Nyck de Vries, rookie of the season, cannot be satisfied with his current performance. The young Dutchman is struggling to adapt to the world of Formula 1. He is aware of the difficulties he is experiencing and of the car not performing as it should:
"Miami is a unique event and the venue is great, so it feels awesome to be racing in front of the American crowd. It’s a new track for me and grip levels are extremely low, so you get quicker with each lap that you do. Even though the temperature is quite high, tyre warm-up seems to be a challenge because they need a long time before they perform. There is something to find in that area, so we’ll analyse this tonight and hopefully come back stronger tomorrow. Looking at our performance today, we are not where we wanted to be, but we’ll try to put all the pieces together".
Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer, analyzes Friday’s performance fully aware of the struggles faced by the drivers with finding the grip, knowing that they need to review their car’s setup:
"It hasn't been such a straightforward Friday for us today. Both drivers have been struggling with overall grip and find it hard to extract the lap times. Yuki completed a front wing comparison in FP1 with positive results, so this will be retained for the rest of the weekend. It’s not a game-changer and works better with the aero components we have coming on stream in future, but it is still adding performance with this package. This morning Nyck had a small spin in the twisty section of Turn 11 and Turn 12 and just touched the wall with the rear end of the car, but the damage was enough to have to stop the session and swap the gearbox for FP2. The mechanics did a great job to turn the car around and having missed out on running the Soft compound in FP1, it left him with two sets for FP2. On the other side of the garage, Yuki ran on the usual Medium and Soft tyres. Again, there were no big balance limitations for either driver, but they just lacked grip, so we need to review the setup and tyre usage overnight. Due to the red flags, we didn't get good long-run data for tyre understanding, but the new tarmac here doesn't seem to be having such an impact on tyres, so the race will likely be a similar story to last year. We all have a busy night ahead of us to try to find some grip and lap time, as the performance we have shown today is falling short of our expectations".
It is a quiet Friday for the French team, who are coming from a bad weekend in Baku. There are changes to be made and there is some margin for improvement, but overall everyone is satisfied with the car's performance. Esteban Ocon states:
"Firstly, it's great to be back driving in this iconic city and it's always a pleasure racing in the United States. For us, it was a smooth day on track overall and it was good to have two full sessions to work on the set-up of the car. Today was a day of data gathering, and really looking into how the track and surface feel, and how the tyres behave. I have to say the organisers did a great job as the tarmac is much better than last year. We still have one more Practice session and some work to do to fine-tune our car before Qualifying. I am definitely looking forward to seeing what we can do and hopefully we can be in the mix for a strong result".
Pierre Gasly adds:
"It was important for us to have a clean and uneventful day in the car and I think we're in a decent position ahead of the rest of the weekend. We have a much better read on the car than we did this time last week and the aim now is to push on and execute an even better Saturday. We tried a couple of things on set-up, some worked, others not so much, but I have no real complaints at this stage and I feel we can find even more in the car in Practice tomorrow ahead of Qualifying. It's really good to be back here in Miami at this impressive venue. Let's see what we can do tomorrow where, of course, the minimum aim has to be reaching Q3".
Pat Fry, Alpine’s Chief Technical Officer, declares:
"It's been a productive Friday for the team today here in Miami and it was good to have two smooth Practice sessions where we've been able to run to our programme and tick things off our list. We have another good read on the upgrades from last week, which are in line with our expectations and performing well on the car. The field looks extremely tight with a couple of tenths of a second the difference between a handful of positions, especially in and around the top ten. Everything will need to click and go right if we are to be at the upper end of that mix. As ever, we'll run through the data, see which set-up direction works and aim to come back tomorrow with some further improvements".
It was a great Friday for Norris, closing in 6th position, +0.811s behind Verstappen. The British team have a lot of work to do to close the gap with the others rivals and improve cars performance after a disastrous start of the season, but they seem on the right path. Lando Norris is happy as he saw little improvements:
"It's been a reasonable first day in Miami, I think we made a couple of small improvements between FP1 and FP2, which was good, hopefully we can try to go further in that direction for tomorrow. As Friday goes, I'm pretty happy, I think we found a slightly better balance with the car. We are struggling in a few areas of the track, so we'll focus on improving that, get a bit more confidence in the car and aim for Q3 in qualifying tomorrow".
Oscar Piastri finishes 16th but is overall satisfied:
"A useful first day of racing in Miami. We learnt a lot on what was quite a tricky track surface and temperature for FP1. In FP2 the track gripped up and got a lot faster, and we have some work to do to adapt to that. We were trying a few things throughout the session but we're still working on it. It's not been a bad day, but we've got plenty to look over for tomorrow".
Andrea Stella, McLaren’s Team Principal, already looks at qualifying:
"Today was a productive day. We worked through our programme of understanding the new surface of this track, and the behaviour of the tyres, both over a single lap and longer runs. We also did some useful work on set-up. Overall, we seem to be able to compete for Q3 and for points, but once again we can see the midfield is very compact. We'll study the data overnight and come back tomorrow, trying to maximise our performance for qualifying and the race".
Dave Robson, Williams’ Head of Vehicle Performance, talks about the difficulties triggered by the new track:
"The first Free Practice session was dominated by the new track surface and very high temperatures. This made the tyre behaviour a little tricky to predict and initially made the lap times very slow. However, the track improved quickly, which allowed the lap times to tumble, but this made testing things difficult. Nonetheless, we got through a lot of useful work in FP1. By the evening Free Practice session, the track had improved further and was cooling quickly as the sun set. Despite another red flag interruption, we completed another good programme during which both drivers refined their car balance and tyre management. The next two days could be heavily influenced by the weather, but we did enough running today to be in a good position to adapt to whatever happens. The car is behaving quite well and with further tuning before qualifying, we should be in the usual tight midfield fight".
Alex Albon is not satisfied with his performance as he cannot find the right feeling with the car and it is noticeable that this track doesn’t suit the vehicle’s characteristics:
"It was a tough day; I think we definitely had the car in a better window for FP2, however it's fair to say this track doesn't suit us as the other circuits have in previous rounds. We'll need to try get on top of it as much as possible, seeing what we can change tonight to improve the car. I think a lot of the problems are more car characteristics then set up, but we'll give it a go. It's clearly very close out there with fine margins, so it's going to be a fight".
Logan Sargeant is at his home race here but, being the first time in Miami, needs to get use to the track:
"A tricky day that wasn't the smoothest. I know what I need to do tomorrow and it's quite clear when I look at the data. I need to keep building mainly in Sector 1. We have a little bit of setup work that we need to do to try get the consistency between high-speed and low-speed better. The driving side will come, I have no doubt about that. We just need to dial everything in, put some clean laps in during FP3, then take it that last step in Qualifying".
Valtteri Bottas is hopeful about the weekend:
"It was important to get as much time as possible on track today and, despite the red flags, we managed to have a productive session. The new asphalt made the track quite slippery at first, but the surface improved as the sessions progressed. The car feels balanced and, in terms of performance, we feel a bit closer and a bit better than in Baku. It’s more or less where we expected to be today: of course, the objective is to make a step forward with the setup overnight and try to be as far ahead as possible in qualifying. The field is really close so there’s all to fight for".
His teammate Zhou Guanyu declares:
"A good day on track for me - I feel we made a step forward between the two sessions today. The track keeps changing and improving, but I am generally happier with the car so far. The feeling in the cockpit is good, but we still need to find a bit more to be in the fight tomorrow. Compared to last week, however, we are in a better place and we must build on this ahead of qualifying".
Overall Alfa Romeo seem in a better shape than last race weekend in Baku. Kevin Magnussen, who almost crashes in the barriers his car during FP2 states:
"I think we had a good day. We did some tests in FP1 with the new bits we brought for this race and that’s looking good and I tried them in FP2 and it seems to be feeling good. A heavy-fuel run was looking very good as well, so it’s all going to plan and hopefully we can repeat it again tomorrow. I think Q2, maybe Q3 is possible - it’s super tight and a couple of tenths will put you from P15 to P10 - so it’s all to play for tomorrow".
Guenther Steiner, Haas’ Team Principal, remains positive about the results and thinks that this could be a great weekend for the team:
"As much as today doesn’t look good for us, it was a good day. The only little thing was Nico’s crash in FP1 but the team did a fantastic job to get him out again for FP2. Where we were in the standings doesn’t really show where we are as Nico on his fast lap had a lot of traffic in the second sector. All in all, we’re very happy and the upgrade seems to be working well so we’re really looking forward to going out again tomorrow and having a good qualifying".
Simone Berra, Pirelli Chief Engineer concludes:
"We saw two very intense hours of free practice today around the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. The new asphalt and how it would affect the cars was one of the biggest unknown factors heading into the event. As we've seen at previous races, the 2023 cars have shown themselves to be considerably quicker than last year's equivalents: it's no coincidence that today's fastest time is a good nine-tenths faster than last year's pole. So we can expect another notable step forwards tomorrow in terms of lap time compared to simulations, based on the information we have from the teams. The new asphalt is very smooth and slippery, offering little mechanical grip but at the same time good adhesion, which increasingly improved as conditions got better. On top of the increase in car performance this year, this led to some overheating on the rear tyres. There was also graining seen on the medium and soft, not only on the rear tyres but also on the fronts, which are heavily worked at this circuit. The hard tyres showed themselves to be very consistent. We'll see how the track improves tomorrow, taking weather conditions into account as well. Cloudier skies are expected, with a significant possibility of rain on Sunday".
On Saturday, at 12:30 a.m. local time, FP3 starts. Perez is immediately out on a set of the softs; also Leclerc, Sainz and Hamilton opt for the soft tyres, while the Aston Martins are trying on the hard and medium compounds. The track temperature is 47 Degrees Celsius, hotter than FP2. Verstappen is out on a fresh set of softs now and immediately goes top, by three tenths over his team mate. Alpine are out on medium compound tyres, as they continue to collect data about their new upgrades. Hamilton locks up and runs wide. Verstappen leads, but Leclerc is now second, less than a tenth back. Alonso goes third, now on soft tyres after one set of hards and two sets of mediums. He is a full second back though, with Verstappen having just improved down to 1'27"969. Perez has also improved up to second, nearly seven tenths back on his team mate. A third of the way through the session, and everyone has now come out at least once. Everyone has also run the soft tyres except for the Alpine pair. Verstappen leads from Perez, Alonso and Leclerc. Stroll goes fifth, while traffic starts to be an issue. The wind is gusting down there a little bit, which won't be helping matters. Russell says he is struggling for pace - the Mercedes are down in ninth and P10, with Hamilton 0.011s quicker than his team mate. With the track temperature so high, the cooldown laps are very slow, creating some issues for those on fast laps. Verstappen leads now with a 1'27"669, already a second clear of last year's pole time. Sainz is now second, Leclerc third and Perez fourth. But the gaps are fairly big, with a second separating the top four. Russell and Hamilton are on their second set of soft tyres, but the first is struggling with vibrations and is way down on the timing screens. He stays P11, as Hamilton gets set to start his flying run, looking to be more comfortable than Russell and able to push. He crosses the line to go fifth, but is still over a second down on Verstappen. Alpine are finally out on softs, and Gasly immediately goes fourth on his first run. Hamilton complains of a lack of straight line speed, while Bottas going fifth and Albon sixth. Verstappen leads the way on a 1'27"595s, half a second clear of Sainz who hasn't yet run a second set of tyres.
"I cannot get through Turn 2, so much hopping".
Says George Russell on the radio. Mercedes are struggling here, Russell in seventh, Hamilton in ninth and there are no signs of improvement. Sainz is out on fresh soft tyres, and so is Leclerc. Hulkenberg asks for his car to be checked, after the Haas man clipped the kerbs:
FP3 in ending and Verstappen is first, followed by Sainz and Perez. Bottas remains seventh and Hulkenberg is eighth. But Perez goes quicker and jumps Sainz into second. There is still half a second between the two Red Bull drivers, with most of that time coming from the first sector. But here comes Leclerc and goes second. He still can't get close to Verstappen though, lapping 0.406s slower. At 3:30 p.m. local time is time for qualyfing. Albon is at the end of the pit lane and leads the way out onto the track. Everyone is on soft tyres: Alfa Romeos are out, together with the AlphaTauri pair. No sign of Aston Martin or Ferrari just yet, but everyone else is out there. Hulkenberg slides out of Turn 16, and just clips the wall with his right rear tyre. Perez is top with a 1'28"306, a tenth ahead of his team mate and four and a half tenths clear of Gasly in P3. Ferrari are out there now, and so are Aston Martins. The wind is picking up, as Ocon slots into fourth ahead of Magnussen. Hamilton pits for some damage assessment as on the radio he said his front wing hit the wall. Alonso is fourth, while Magnussen improves to fifth and Sainz goes sixth. Seven minutes to go and plenty of drivers are starting to come in for their second set of tyres now. Russell is still pushing on his original set and has just improved up to eighth as Piastri goes up to P14. Sainz comes close to cutting across Zhou, who has time to pull out of it and avoid being squashed between the Ferrari and the wall.
"What the ***** was he doing?"
Demands the Alfa man. Verstappen is now three and a half tenths clear of his team mate. Hamilton has improved to P10, just ahead of his team mate. Leclerc says that his tyres aren't looking good and he doesn't think he'll improve. Bottas is fifth and Hulkenberg fourth, while De Vries is eighth. The Red Bulls are in the garage, and the first to go out is Perez on used tyres. Norris improves to P11, Zhou goes ninth, Tsunoda P13. Russell goes from 20th to P10, and that drops Stroll down. Hamilton goes sixth, dropping Norris down and out. Sargeant isn't improving, and is out in P20 at his home race. The drivers eliminated in Q1 are Norris, Tsunoda, Stroll, Piastri and Sargeant. Q2 starts and Verstappen leads the way out though on fresh rubber, while Perez is right behind, also on brand new tyres. Hamilton and Russell have gone out on used tyres for their first runs here, and so have the Haas drivers. Eight are the cars on track: Verstappen sets off for a flying lap, with a 1'27"110, as Perez slots into second, two tenths down. Russell is a full second down on that time, and Zhou is even further back. Verstappen is first, ahead of Perez and Alonso, with seven drivers yet to set a time. Sainz goes purple in the first sector taking P2, while Leclerc crosses the line first and goes fourth. The Spaniard is just 0.038s back on Verstappen. Six minutes to go and Mercedes are 11th and 12th. Zhou and Bottas are out on fresh tyres, while Verstappen is out on used tyres and the Mercedes on new. The drivers eliminated in Q2 are Albon, Hulkenberg, Hamilton, Zhou and de Vries. Q3 starts and Perez is on fresh tyres, with Alpine are on used rubber. The same is for Alonso, Russell and Magnussen, who are saving their one set of fresh tyres for later on. Ferrari are also on new tyres for their first runs here. Perez sets a 1'26"841s, while Alonso goes second, Russell is third and Ocon fourth. Sainz now goes third, as Gasly winds up fifth and Leclerc can only go P7. Perez leads the way from Alonso, with Sainz and Magnussen currently holding down the second row. Verstappen, Perez and Bottas after pitting are again on track, when Leclerc spins off at Turn 6, when he was pushing. And as a result the red flags are out and the session will not be resumed. Perez grabs pole from Alonso and with no time for the drivers to get out of the pits and start a flying lap, the startring grid is confirmed, with Verstappen who will start ninth after not setting a time. The reigning World Champion made a crucial mistake in the first corner on his first flying lap and aborted, so will start the race from a weird position for him:
"The initial problem starts with me today, I was taking the car to its limit and I made a mistake. I had to abort the lap and then you rely on a bit of luck that there won’t be a red flag. It’s painful and upsetting, we’ve been really quick all weekend, my fastest lap in Q2 would have been quick enough for pole which I think says that we have a quick enough car. Of course, I go into every weekend trying to win, but starting ninth is not the optimum position. My minimum target tomorrow should be P2. It’s going to be tough tomorrow for sure, but I made it tough for myself".
Perez managed to take the pole:
"Overall, I was happy with today, we delivered when it mattered and under a lot of pressure. It was good. We had a difficult weekend up until qualifying it has been a struggle. The track was improving but this tarmac has only recently been laid and is really sensitive, it has made things a little tricky so I needed that second lap. I knew coming into Turn 3 that you cannot leave anything on the table and it was important to make sure it was a strong lap. It never feels nice when you see another driver crashing or a red flag on track and I was a bit surprised, I thought we were going to go again and not end the session there, but that was it. I just want to do well tomorrow, it's a new day and anything can happen. I have to be fully committed and we have to try to do our own race. The target is to get the perfect launch and then the perfect race. I am very happy; I feel like I am in a good moment but it is a long season and it is all about consistency".
Christian Horner, Red Bull’s team principal, is hopeful for the race:
"Checo got a superb first lap, the wind was getting up and you could see a few of the cars were struggling but Checo navigated it perfectly to deliver when it counts to get the pole, which we’re delighted with. It was frustrating for Max not to get that chance on the second run, there will be a lot of work for him to do tomorrow, but we’ve seen him come through from 15th to win previously and you can’t rule a driver like Max out. We’re obviously disappointed not to have both cars up there but we’re looking forward to what should be a really exciting race".
As for Aston Martin, they achieved two opposite results with the drivers. Alonso made it to the second place:
"It was a very good qualifying session. Things have been a bit up and down for the last few events - Baku was very difficult - but, over a regular weekend format, we've been able to experiment with a few different options on the car. We put it all together for qualifying - the car felt good. And there was still a lot more pace in the car because my Q3 lap was done on used Softs. On my second run, on fresh rubber, I was already a few tenths up - but then the yellow flags came out. The result gives us a lot of confidence for tomorrow - Sunday is usually our day; we take care of the tyres and have good race pace. Plus, starting further up the grid always makes things a little easier. Getting on the podium will still be difficult but we'll just do our race - it's going to be tough but we'll enjoy it".
Stroll opted to stay out on one set of tyres in Q1 and couldn’t improve on his last flying run:
"Qualifying didn't go my way today. We made the call to try and get through Q1 running just one set of Softs. With the benefit of hindsight, that wasn't the right call: other teams fitted a second set and saw big improvements. But these things happen - and Fernando got into Q2 using just the one set, so it was possible. I'm just focusing on the positives: our car feels good and our race pace is usually very competitive. Tomorrow is when the points are scored - and there's a long race ahead".
Team Principal Mike Krack talks about the tricky conditions of the track:
"This was a particularly tricky day to manage. In FP3, we had to deal with a change in wind direction and a rapidly changing track surface while also trying to find a good race set-up after two stop-start sessions yesterday. All credit to Fernando, who drove with typical fiery spirit to qualify second - it was a great effort. But we were too aggressive with our tyre strategy in Q1, choosing to keep both drivers on used Softs for their second runs. It was a marginal call, and it didn't work out: the track ramped up and drivers on fresh rubber found a lot of lap-time. It meant that Lance finished the session an unrepresentative 18th overall. If we'd done a better job, he would have comfortably made it into the next two sessions. We'll learn from that for the future. We've already seen that fortunes can swing wildly at this track, and we'll be giving it everything to get both cars in the points tomorrow".
Both Ferrari drivers made it through to Q3 with ease. Sainz managed to take the third position:
"It was coming together as a very good qualifying until the end. This P3 is not too bad, but I feel I had very strong pace and maybe we could have fought for more. It was an unfortunate moment for Charles but these things can happen and tomorrow we go again. The race will not be an easy one for sure and we’ll keep an eye on changing weather conditions. We’ll fight hard to bring home a good result".
Another bad day for Leclerc, who made a mistake coming out of Turn 17 on his first flying lap and could only manage seventh. He came out first of everyone for the final flying runs but pushing hard, he overcooked it into Turn 6 with the wind perhaps playing a part. The combination saw him spinning off into the barriers, and the resultant red flags ended the session for everyone:
"I pushed too hard on my last lap in Q3 and there are no excuses to be made. We will start from P7 tomorrow and the weather looks like it could mix things up. I hope to have a clean race and will push to make my way back to the front".
Frédéric Vasseur, Ferrari’s Team Principal, explains Leclerc’s mistake and then affirms that the race will be tough:
"First of all, well done to Carlos for his best qualifying of the season, even though he might have gone even quicker on his second run. We could have had a better team result as it was clear that Charles was also very quick. He was pushing hard as always in the final phase and unfortunately, he hit the wall. However, when you are chasing pole, mistakes can happen. The top ten on the grid is certainly unusual, with some of the expected front runners further back, so it looks like being an interesting race tomorrow. For our part, we hope to see the fruits of the race preparation we have done between yesterday and today as this will be a tough race in terms of tyre management. Then there are the usual scenarios that can arise when racing between the walls, plus there’s a chance of rain tomorrow, which could shake things up as well".
Hulkenberg had used tyres in Q2 and did not manage to get into Q3:
"The car felt good, and we definitely should be in the top 10 but unfortunately my last run got really compromised on the out lap in traffic, and I didn’t do the second lap on new tires - my Q2 time was on used tires. It's frustrating and a big shame as the car had a lot more in it and a lot more potential. The car fits well to this place so at least that is a big positive for tomorrow - heading into the race with some pace".
Magnussen was the sole Haas car in Q3 and took the fourth place:
"I'm well chuffed with that! In the US, at the Miami Grand Prix, in front of our home crowd and title sponsor and other partners - it's great to be able to get a result like that. Of course, there’s no points for qualifying - we know that - but we also know what it feels like to have a good qualifying. That was a lot of fun and hopefully that gets everyone a bit pumped up for tomorrow. I'm very happy to be starting P4 tomorrow and I'm really pumped".
Guenther Steiner, Haas' Team Principal, is hopeful about the possibility to earn points at the race:
"A pretty good day today and obviously an exciting qualifying for everyone. Unfortunately, Nico didn't make it into Q3, which wasn't completely down to him. If you're unhappy about starting P12 it's not bad, we’re still in a position to get into the points tomorrow. Kevin, ending up in P4 after setting the fastest time on used tires out of his opponents did a fantastic job on that one. The whole team is very upbeat, and everyone did a good job and now tomorrow we need to keep on delivering, but if everything goes to plan we should get some points".
Alpine out-performed Aston Martin and Mercedes by getting both cars into Q3, with Gasly grabbing his best qualifying of the season with fifth:
"I'm very pleased with today's Qualifying and starting in fifth puts us in a good position for the race. It's great that both Esteban and I are in the top ten to secure an important team result, especially after last weekend. It's important for us to come back strong. The red flag was unfortunate just as we were about to begin our final lap on new Soft tyres as I was feeling pretty good and it would have been interesting to see where we would have finished. That said, my lap on used tyres was decent, enough to be fifth on the grid and we're all looking ahead to tomorrow's race where we must aim to convert this performance into points".
Ocon left in Q2:
"What a difference a week makes. I'm proud of the team for this strong recovery after our disappointment in Baku and we very much deserved to have both cars in Q3 in Qualifying. We were probably a little unlucky with the red flag at the end as I do feel there was more on the table and we could have been higher up the grid. We're still in a good position for tomorrow's race and we have a good enough car here to come away from this weekend with points in the bag".
Alan Permane, Alpine’s Sporting Director, concludes:
"As a team, we are happy with today's Qualifying result with Pierre in fifth and Esteban in eighth. We've had a very strong Saturday, right from the beginning, with a productive Free Practice where we were able to fine tune the cars ahead of Qualifying. Both Q1 and Q2 were relatively trouble free for us and we looked quick enough throughout to comfortably reach Q3. Pierre managed a fantastic lap on his used Soft tyre to go fifth, so credit to him for maximising that run. There was a little more on the table for Esteban on his effort, but it's still a solid job and he's also put himself in a good position in eighth. It's great to have both cars comfortably in Q3 - and deservedly so - and it's important now we can convert this result into points in tomorrow's race. The weather in this part of Florida can be unpredictable and we'll be ready to take any opportunity".
Russell got into Q3 and managed to grab sixth on used tyres:
"The car is just not working for us this weekend. We're struggling a lot with the balance and it's bouncing around a little bit. The performance isn't coming to us which is a shame as everyone is working so hard to achieve it. As the grip has been laid down and the track has improved, we've seemingly got slower. Clearly, this is a bit of an outlier as a circuit as can be seen by the pace of some of the other cars. Ultimately though, we need to do a better job. I'm not going to take any pride in qualifying P6. We're working for more and we're capable of more. It's challenging as in FP1, everything felt smooth. As the weekend has progressed, the feeling in the car has got worse. It's rare that that happens but it just hasn't quite come together here in Miami".
Hamilton’s session started badly when he clipped the barriers trying to avoid a slow-moving Haas, and that left the pressure on in the closing stages. He did make Q2 but could go no further, a mistake on his final flying lap proving costly:
"It was a struggle out there as we weren't that quick today. It was quite an up and down session; there were a couple of good moments where the car was feeling alive, and I thought we were going to be OK. It was frustrating that we didn't get into Q3 as we should have. I was hopeful, but the timing at the end was just off. I got backed up by a lot of traffic in the final corner and just couldn't get the tyres in the window. Overall, we just struggled with the balance of the car. I gave it everything I had but it didn't happen today. I'll now get my head down and try and come back tomorrow".
Toto Wolff, Mercedes’ Team Principal & CEO, adds:
"In the end, the car we have right now is simply lacking performance - and our problems compound from there. It has a very narrow operating window, and it's on a knife edge for the drivers. When it's good, we can deliver solid performances. If it's bad, then we struggle, and that's what happened today. We can't take satisfaction from being P6 when that's only thanks to the red flag - and probably our true level was behind that. Our lack of performance today was emphasised by how close the whole field is behind the Red Bulls. At points, there were almost ten cars within two tenths - and that means that every detail counts. In Q2, we were trying to give the drivers the best position on track, but we made a mistake. You could see in Lewis' first sector that the tyres just weren't there, and that ultimately cost him the chance to move into Q3. We will now see what we can do tomorrow and try to recover from our starting positions; there were some signs of stronger pace on high fuel, but we shouldn't go into the race expecting miracles. It's going to be a tough battle for points".
Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes’ Trackside Engineering Director, concludes:
"We weren't quick enough today. We had a bit of luck with George to finish sixth but Lewis, on the other hand, was disadvantaged by being stuck in a group on the out lap and couldn't bring the tyres in. Clearly, we've not got the measure of this track. We started the weekend well when the track was at its worst, but as the circuit has gripped up it feels like others are getting the benefit and we've stood still. We'll put all our energy into preparing for the race now. The grid is mixed up so that may help us find opportunity to move forward tomorrow. If the degradation is high, or we get incidents, then we may be able to bring our second set of hard tyres into play which could provide some opportunity. However, the real opportunity will come from good long run pace. After the interrupted sessions, it's impossible to know where everyone is going to fall out so tomorrow will be one of those races where we're very much forming the plans as we go".
Bottas made it to Q3 for the first time this season:
"It's great to be back in Q3 and I'm very pleased to be in the top ten ahead of the race. We made a big step forward overnight and managed to get the most out of the setup, which shows the team is doing a good job at bouncing back from the last few races. The red flag in Q3 obviously penalised us: I only had one set of tyres left and couldn't set a time when the session was interrupted, but I think we could have been even higher up in the standings. There’s no point focusing on that, however: the potential for a good result is there and we must prepare well to fight for points tomorrow. It's going to be a long race and, as we have seen, it is very easy to make a mistake here; but we are confident and motivated, and if we do our jobs well, we have a solid chance to bring home a good result".
Zhou exited in Q2:
"Today has been a good day for the team and a sign that we can get back into the fight for points. I feel a lot more comfortable in the car, especially compared to the last few races, so we are moving in the right direction. Q1 has been a clean session for me, but in Q2 I suffered a bit being at the front of the pack. I missed the slipstream and, in such a tight field, that was enough not to make the cut. Miami is a tricky circuit and traffic in the final sector, especially in Q1, was a bit of an issue; nevertheless, I am happy to see our package working well around here, as this is a big motivation ahead of tomorrow. We will give everything, in the knowledge we have the pace to fight for the points".
Team Representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi affirms that the team is motivated for the race because of the quali’s results:
"Today's result is a positive step forward and a big motivational boost for everyone in the team. We looked confident and the car worked well, and to hit the first Q3 of the year is a reward for the work all of us in the team have put in to recover from a few disappointing performances in the last rounds. Everyone went above and beyond to understand our issues and address them, and this is a step in the right direction: but our work is not done and we need to keep working hard to continue progressing. Valtteri did an excellent job in Q1 and Q2, but the red flag in Q3 means we'll never know where he would have been in a full session. We also have to give credit to Zhou for his work in Q2: when his final lap was compromised, he worked with Valtteri to give his team-mate a tow and help him into Q3 - this is the spirit of this team. Now we must remain grounded and focus on tomorrow's race. It'll be a long race on an unforgiving track, and we’ll need to be at our sharpest to bring home some points".
Bad performace from Sargeant at his home race; he struggled with the balance of his car throughout the day, but he is overall satisfied with the result:
"We made a pretty good step from FP3 to Quali and had the car in a good place. I had the couple of tenths needed to advance to Q2. I needed to do it on the first push, but I did it on the second and I felt like the tyres were graining towards the second and third sectors of that lap. It was extremely tight out there with fine margins. We'll take the positives which should leave us in a better place for the race. Looking ahead to tomorrow, we'll try and be opportunistic and make the most of it".
Albon missed Q3 by the slimmest of margins:
"I think we maximised everything in Qualifying and we're in a good position for tomorrow. Sometimes you get upset because you're so close to Q3 but then you have to remember, it's still a good job. I'm happy with the lap that I did and we did what was right for our car. We really need a clean out lap to get the tyres in a good place and that's why we tend to do a bit better on a Saturday than other teams. With the track evolution the way it is, it's so aggressive, much more than most tracks we go to because the grips so low, so that five minutes is enough for the track to be another tenth, and that means Q3. It's a big unknown what the tyres are going to do in the race but starting P11, hopefully we can turn it into something tomorrow".
Dave Robson, Williams’ Head of Vehicle Performance, concludes:
"Although the weather conditions were stable today, it was still a tricky day with both sessions difficult to negotiate. There was still a lot of variation amongst the teams as to how to get the best out of the tyres and this made finding a gap in the traffic difficult. We had a productive FP3 session and were able draw some conclusions on the changes that we made overnight. Alex was mostly happy with his car, but Logan was still having a few issues. Further changes were made and both drivers went into Q1 in good shape. Alex did a very good job in Q1 and with help from his team, he was in a good place on the track throughout the session. Logan too was in a good position but a small error on his first timed lap put him on the back foot. He recovered exceptionally well to end the first run faster than Alex. Both had good second runs and Logan was only a few tenths slower than Alex. Unfortunately, the midfield is so tight that Logan was unable to progress to Q2. We opted to give Alex a single run in Q2 and this almost got him into Q3, which would've been an excellent result. Although he missed Q3 by only 0.05s, he is still in a good position to race tomorrow".
De Vries is happy with the result:
"Of course, we always want more but looking at FP1 and FP2, we as a team are satisfied and happy with the performance gains we made. We found ourselves on the backfoot, but the progress we made overnight helped us reach Q2 for the first time, which is a great accomplishment for us. We are lacking long run experience here and overtaking is difficult, but it will be a long race and maybe there will be opportunities, which we can capitalise on. Grip levels are low, especially if you are off-line it can become very slippery, but it's a new day tomorrow and the race is on".
Yuki Tsunoda, on the other hand, thinks they did not have the pace to do better:
"It's definitely not the result we wanted. We didn't have the pace from the early stages and struggled a lot. The midfield is as close as it has been over the past few races, but tomorrow is a new day, so we will see how it goes. We changed the setup a lot, still it didn't seem to work well, but we have to move on and remain focussed. The balance itself was alright, however the grip was poor. We have to accept it's difficult and it's not my best qualifying, but we'll analyse all the data tonight, trying to find some more performance for tomorrow".
Guillaume Dezoteux, AlphaTauri’s Head of Vehicle Performance, gives more technical details about the cars:
"Since yesterday's Free Practice sessions, we have been struggling to extract grip from the tyres straight out of the box. The overnight analysis led to interesting discussions between the engineers and we decided to change significantly the setup for today, targeting more aerodynamic load. Unfortunately, FP3 was still difficult and both drivers were unable to extract the performance from the Soft tyres in the opening laps. We did some further analysis and fine tuning for the qualifying session, which we were expecting to be very tight between the midfield cars. In Q1, we witnessed a huge track improvement from lap to lap. Traffic was well managed and both cars were able to do clean laps. That was enough for Nyck to get through to Q2, which is a nice reward for the hard work from everyone on his side of the garage. Back on track, Nyck had two attempts, one on a used tyre and the last lap on a new set. Again, we could locate ourselves in a good traffic window, but it wasn't enough to progress in the rankings. As for Yuki, he couldn't put the three sectors together and missed the cut by less than half a tenth, which is frustrating. With the starting grid a little bit mixed up at the front, we can expect some action tomorrow. We will analyse the various strategies tonight to be ready to take advantage and get closer to the points. The weather could also play a role and create opportunities. When you start from the back, it's easier to take some risks and we're up for the fight".
Both McLaren cars exited in Q1. Norris is of course disappointed:
"Tough day for us. Not the result we wanted but almost the best we could have done. I made a small mistake which might have cost me one position, but the fact is we just didn't have the pace to be competitive today. It's a shame but we'll have to try to do what we can to go forwards tomorrow".
Same for Piastri:
"I'm disappointed to be out in Q1. It was very close between everyone around us. We knew it was going to be tough today and so it proved. We'll have a look and see what we can do tomorrow to try to move forwards".
Andrea Stella, McLaren’s Team Principal, says they need to improve the car or they will not ever do better of this:
"Overall, a difficult Saturday for us. From FP3, we were aware that we had lost some relative competitiveness in these hot conditions. Things were a little better in qualifying compared to FP3, but not enough to progress from Q1. The group of cars around us is exceptionally compact and the difference between being out in Q1 or having both cars in Q3, like we had in Baku, is tiny. We know this result can happen until we improve the car further, which we plan to do over the course of the season. In the short term, we stay calm, we learn from today and prepare for the race tomorrow, where points are ultimately distributed".
Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director, analyzes this particular qualifying session:
"Qualifying was both exciting and dramatic, with a distinctly Spanish-speaking flavour to the top three: Sergio Perez, Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz. As expected, pole was a lot faster than last year when Miami made its debut, with an improvement of nearly two seconds (1.955s to be exact) that might have been even bigger had the final runs of Q3 taken place. The softs showed good performance: they were quick not only on the first flying lap but were also able to recover grip after one or two cool-down laps, giving drivers the chance to improve their positions. The data collected so far suggests that a one stopper from medium to hard is the best theoretical way to run the race. The slight shortening of the pit lane opens up the possibility of a two-stopper, but we've also seen a bit of graining on the softs over long runs. This is the case if the weather remains stable, but forecasts indicate that rain could come into play on Sunday, either before or during the race. And as everyone knows, if it rains, anything can happen…".
The rain has hit heavily in the night in Miami but on Sunday the track is dry and the sun is shining, yet still leaving a small chance to see some rain during the race. Saturday’s qualifying didn't fail to surprise with Hamilton back in 13th after a Q2 exit, Verstappen down in ninth due to a mistake on his first Q3 lap and Leclerc crashing a few minutes before the end of the session. As a result the starting grid appears mixed with Perez and Alonso starting from the front row, followed by Sainz and Magnussen. Close the top ten Gasly, Russell, Leclerc, Ocon, Verstappen and Bottas. Almost everyone will start with medium tyres, except from Ocon, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Hamilton, Zhou, Tsunoda and Stroll who will go for hards, and Norris and Piastri being the only one to choose softs.
Sunday, May 7, 2023, at 4:00 p.m. local time, lights go out and so the second edition of the Miami Gran Prix begins. Perez does a great start maintaining the lead in Turn 1 and detaching from Alonso and Sainz. Also Gasly starts well taking the fourth position over Russell. Magnussen on the contrary drops two positions going behind Leclerc who is still seventh, just as Verstappen remains ninth. Ocon also drops to the back, falling to 10th place behind Verstappen and Bottas, while Hamilton remains in his starting position in P13 between Hulkenberg and Albon. A wheel-to-wheel battle gets underway between Leclerc and Magnussen for sixth and seventh positions. Meanwhile Verstappen begins to improve his pace attempting and succeeding a double overtaking on the Ferrari and Haas, going now on the hunt for Russell. The first pit stops action already begins as McLaren calls to the box Norris and Piastri: both drivers swap for hard tyres, showing that their alternative soft strategy has not given the desired results. Also Sargeant goes for an early pit stop after a contact with Stroll, taking on a new front wing and swapping his medium tyres for hards. At the front, Perez sets the pace, moving away from Alonso while Sainz manages to keep his Ferrari within the Aston Martin's DRS window but fails to overtake the Asturian. Verstappen continues his climb, overtaking Russell and shortly after Gasly, thus finding himself near the leading trio of Perez, Alonso and Sainz, managing to pass both Aston Martin and Ferrari on lap 14. Behind Leclerc is giving it all fighting for the seventh position with Magnussen, who on lap 15 returns to the pits to put hards for his second stint. On lap 17, Hamilton finally manages to pass Albon, after 16 laps behind Williams, taking the ninth position. Gasly and Bottas enter the box, both putting hard tyres, then followed two laps later by Sainz, the first from the front-running group to pit. The Spaniard comes out seventh between Hamilton and Albon, managing to overtake the Mercedes just one lap after.
Yet the Ferrari driver picks up a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane. On lap 21, Perez goes into the pits, leaving the leadership to Verstappen. Alonso is the next to stop on Lap 25, rejoining behind Sainz, but it doesn't take long for the Aston Martin’s driver to make a move into Turn 11 surpassing the Ferrari and gaining the 4th position. Mercedes go fully on team work as Hamilton let Russell by without engaging a fight. The British easily overtakes both Ocon and Sainz. Leclerc in the meantime is still struggling with his car, and continuing the fight with the Haas. On lap 38 Hamilton makes his stop managing to pass Bottas two laps later at exiting Turn 17 and also Ocon, coming out of the pits between them. On track the train of DRS does not leave much room for action with positions remaining quite crystallized: Verstappen still leading, followed by Perez, Alonso, Russell, Sainz, Gasly, Leclerc and Magnussen. Verstappen pits on lap 46 for mediums and comes back behind his teammate. The Dutchman immediately starts to put pressure on Perez, managing to make his move and becoming again the leader of the Gran Prix. Leclerc, now running in seventh, tries to recover and to get closer to Gasly, trying also to defend himself from Hamilton who is quickly recovering positions thanks to the set of soft tyres. The Monegasque, taking advantage of a locking from the Alpine driver, manages to pass him in Turn 1, followed by Hamilton in Turn 11. The seven-time World Champion then also overtakes Leclerc thus climbing to sixth position. Verstappen takes his third victory of the season, followed by Perez and Alonso, signing for Aston Martin the fourth podium of the season. Russell earns fourth position, then goes Sainz, penalty having no impact on his finishing position, Hamilton and Leclerc. Alpine's drivers Gasly and Ocon close eighth and ninth respectively, while Magnussen claims the final point. Out of the top ten finishers there is Tsunoda, Stroll, Bottas, Albon, Hulkenberg and Zhou. Closes Norris and De Vries with Piastri and Sargeant.
Fernando Alonso strikes again and brings one more time Aston Martin on podium. The Asturian comments to be really happy with his race and his season so far:
"I had a bit of a lonely afternoon out there, but I enjoyed my race. There was nothing I could really do against Max [Verstappen] and Sergio [Perez] but, happily, there was no pressure today from behind, so we'll take this result. We've taken four podium finishes from the first five races - and only missed out on a podium in Baku by eight tenths of a second - so it's been a fantastic start to our season. One day, when there's an opportunity to win, we need to make sure we're in the best position to capitalise. And that's exactly what we're doing right now".
On the contrary, teammate Stroll has not had an easy life today, being in the DRS train and failing to enter the points area:
"It was a tough race today and we found it difficult to make a huge amount of progress from 18th on the grid. The car felt good, but I was stuck in a DRS train with a lot of traffic around me. We opted for a long stint on the Hard tyres and managed those well; it was then just a case of deciding when to pit to make sure there were enough laps left to maximise the pace of the Medium compound. I had some fun overtaking Alex [Albon] into Turn One but, in hindsight, we could have boxed a few laps earlier to try and catch 10th position. It's been a weekend to learn from - which we'll do - and I'm looking forward to getting back out in Imola".
Tom McCullough, AM’s Performance Director, is quite satisfied with the performance of both cars on the track, explains the different strategy adopted for the two drivers:
"This was a tricky race to manage. Both Lance and Fernando drove faultlessly and maximised every opportunity - for Fernando, that resulted in a third-place finish and some valuable points; for Lance, it was difficult trying to cut through the traffic, but he pulled off some fantastic passes. It was frustrating to just miss out on a points-scoring position at the end. Fernando's race was all about managing the strategy from the Medium to the Hard tyre. It worked out well for him: Ferrari went for the undercut with Carlos [Sainz] but we elected to balance the stints and overtake him on track. After that, Fernando was able to consolidate third place and pull comfortably clear of the cars behind. With no DNFs and no Safety Cars, it was difficult for Lance to make progress through the field. Add low degradation to the mix and it became even trickier - because a lot of cars were able to run at a similar pace. But he managed his race extremely well, was typically brave on the brakes and made up plenty of places to finish 12th. We conclude this double-header having scored 37 points and maintained second position in the Constructors' Championship. A huge thanks to the whole team for their incredible efforts over the past few weeks. We will regroup and come back just as strong for the triple-header, which kicks off later this month".
Mercedes are making some progress, as George Russell comments. The Brit has closed the GP in forth position in front of the Ferraris:
"That was a really satisfying race for us today. After the challenges in Qualifying, it felt like a more normal day for us. To finish P4 on merit and finish ahead of the Ferraris was the maximum we could have achieved. The battle with Carlos (Sainz) was really enjoyable. I made a good move that needed a lot of commitment as the track is so dirty off-line. Thanks to Lewis for letting me by too and enabling me to get on with my race as we were in different battles today. We've got a really good relationship and we only want what is best for the Team. That's what we are working towards. We know where we are at the moment, and the car is still challenging to drive. We hope to have some updates on the car in Imola; they are not going to change the world for us but hopefully it will be a step in the right direction. Despite today's positives, we know we've still got a lot of work to do and need to make significant improvements to close the gap to Red Bull".
Also Hamilton is satisfied of the race and the significant steps forward that has been made, confident of going in the right direction:
"Today was a good race and I am happy we moved forwards. Saturday was difficult, but I always try to turn negatives into positives. Going from P13 to P6 is decent and I had a lot of fun making my way through; it was great to have several battles, so I enjoyed it. It wasn't spectacular at the start as we were stuck in a DRS train and struggling to overtake. I had to bide my time and then eventually, I was able to start attacking. The car was much better on the medium tyre and came alive midway through the race. It's good points for the Team and I want to say a big thank you to all of them. They are keeping their heads down and working hard to improve. We're not where we want to be, but the morale is still great".
Aware of having to deal with a challenging car, Toto Wolff is very pleased with today's race, particularly of the teamwork between Hamilton and Russell:
"Two years ago, we wouldn't have been as pleased with a P4 and a P6 as we are today. We know we have a difficult car though and clearly Qualifying was a real challenge. The car improved in the race, and we were able to achieve a solid result. Both drivers drove superbly today. It's difficult to pass if you start P13 and are on the same strategy as everybody else, so we opted to start Lewis on the hard tyre. Others ahead chose to do the same and, after not gaining any positions at the start, it looked like it may be slightly diminished. We got there in the end though and maximised the result. It was also fantastic to see the way him and George worked together. They are both incredible drivers, but it is so straightforward with them. That is so good for us in this difficult moment. We move on to Imola next and I hope that we will take a step in our understanding of the car. We are glass half empty people here at Mercedes; I don't believe we will go there and be in the middle of the fight for victory. We are focused on understanding the upgrades we bring and establishing a good baseline".
Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes’ Trackside Engineering Director, points out that there is still a long way to go but believes the team is going on the right direction:
"We can be satisfied with the result today considering our start positions. Our Qualifying performance yesterday meant that the podium places were out of reach for George, and Lewis had a real mountain to climb from 13th. Nevertheless, through great overtaking and fine teamwork, with Lewis allowing George through to attack cars ahead, we maximised our performance and points. We've therefore had a decent day in the championship; we're in a close fight with Aston Martin and Ferrari and we've gained some ground. We know we're still not quick enough though and we're working hard to rectify that as fast as we can. We will go back from here and try and understand why our single lap performance has been such a challenge".
Another bad weekend for McLaren, really struggling in founding the right pace with the MCL60, as Norris has stated:
"Tough day. We just struggled with pace. I had a good start, but we got hit from behind into turn one, which then put us at the back. We had tried a different strategy, which required something exciting to happen during the race, but it didn't work. We'll go back to MTC, reset and keep pushing hard for a better result in the next one".
Also Oscar Piastri, who has had problems with the car throughout the race, expresses his concern:
"I had a lot of issues on the car in the race. We had a failure six or seven laps in on the brake-by-wire system. I was managing a lot of issues after that. I had a really good lap one, where I managed to pass five cars and that was the highlight of the weekend. Otherwise, a frustrating afternoon, trying to drive around all of the issues. We'll now get our heads down and focus on having a better weekend in Imola".
The expectations of the McLaren team were completely upset by an eventless race, plus the problems with both cars made this weekend one to forget, as Team Principal Andrea Stella explains:
"Given our grid positions, we needed a good start, an eventful race and high tyre degradation in order to climb into the points. Unfortunately, none of these conditions materialised and the race was a bit of a procession at the back for us. At the first corner, Lando was hit from behind after he had gained some positions, resulting in damage costing 2-3 tenths per lap, as well as relegating him to the back. Oscar had a race-long brake-by-wire problem and did an incredible job to cope with that through a minimising the consequences and keeping decent pace. Our main takeaway from Miami is that we were not quick enough this weekend. After scoring points in Baku, this weekend serves as a reality check on how much work we have ahead of us. The plan doesn't change: we have good developments coming, we keep our heads down, regroup and go again in Imola".
Yuki Tsunoda is very pleased with his race and performance today, the car has proved to be beyond his expectations, yet unfortunately failing to earn points.
"It was a good race, effort and recovery from the team and myself. I felt like I was able to extract the most out of the car. It’s a shame I couldn’t score any points, I gave it my all, but I am happy with my performance. It was a tough race mentally; there weren’t many breaks because there was always someone either in front of or behind me. I didn’t expect our race pace to be that strong, but it’s encouraging to see for the races to come. I felt confident with the brakes, which is why I was able to overtake quite a lot by sending it into the corner. We've got upgrades coming to Imola, so we hope they go well to allow us to score points consistently".
On the other side it was not a great race for Nyck de Vries whose race has been compromised by a contact with Norris, then finding himself in the DRS train.
"After lap one, I was on the back foot. It was my mistake, I locked up and Norris and I touched. This compromised our first stint a little because there were a lot of vibrations on the right front which affected our pace. When you’re so behind and out of DRS range, you lose so much time on the straights that it’s tough to catch up. I was at the back, alone, so it naturally becomes easier when you’re not fighting as hard as in the middle of the pack when every moment counts. The weekend went a little up and down and started difficult; yesterday we had a better day and today was a shame that we lost so many positions on the first lap. We are bringing updates to Imola, so hopefully we can improve and go again".
Guillaume Dezoteux, Alpha Tauri’s Head of Vehicle Performance, expresses his comments of the two drivers race.
"We can be very happy with the eleventh position that Yuki brought home. He finished only 1.3s behind Magnussen, who started on the second row and he managed to keep Stroll behind until the chequered flag. Obviously, we would have liked a point to reward such a solid race, but with everybody finishing the race, we knew that from P17 on the grid it would have been extremely difficult. In the first stint on hard tyres, Yuki was consistent and patient, and his good tyre management allowed him to go long. After pitting on lap 37, he was in front of Hulkenberg and made some great overtaking manoeuvres on Albon and Bottas. Nyck's race was more difficult. After a big front lock at the start, he had a lot of vibrations from his tyres which affected his pace. Moving onto the hard tyres the balance and performance improved, so he managed to overtake Piastri on track after many laps battling with him. This race is encouraging for the team. The car keeps improving race by race but the midfield remains tight, which makes finishing in the points challenging. We have another significant aero update coming to Imola and we hope it will help us improve further, to become regular point finishers".
Franz Tost, AlphaTauri’s Team Principal, claims to be overall happy with the weekend and comments the different strategies and performance of Tsunoda and De Vries.
"I’d firstly like to thank the organisers for this fantastic venue and event, and to all the fans who came to watch. I think they saw an interesting race, especially with Max Verstappen starting out of position and fighting his way back, for another impressive win. As for our race weekend, we have been struggling from the beginning and we qualified only P15 with Nyck and P17 with Yuki. We chose two different strategies for this race; Yuki started on the hard tyre and Nyck started on the medium. Yuki made a strong start and overtook some cars on the first lap, then he drove a very good and competitive race. He overtook Albon twice, he passed Hulkenberg and Bottas and finished in P11, just 1.3 seconds behind Magnussen. Yuki also defended well against Stroll in the last few laps, and I must say that in the race our car showed a much better performance than in qualifying. We now have to analyse what we can do to optimise our qualifying pace. Nyck’s start was good, but in the first corner he crashed into Norris by breaking a bit too late, which caused a flat spot on his tyres and then some vibrations. We brought him in to change from the medium tyre to the hard, and the rest of the afternoon was ok for him, but he lost his race with the contact at the beginning. Both drivers had good tyre management, which was also important for the overall performance of the car".
Esteban Ocon, despite the strategy not being on point, is pleased with today's work and remains confident for the future races.
"It's good to be back in the points with both cars after a decent race for the team today. We opted for the more aggressive strategy by going long on Hard tyres in the first stint and it did not quite pay off in the end. We had some good battles with Ferrari and Mercedes with a couple of good overtakes throughout. Our pace was strong so that is encouraging going forward. We are satisfied with our job today as I don't think we could have done much more. Of course, there are things for us to review and improve but it's a long season and I'm looking forward to the upcoming triple header in Europe where we need to string together three positive races".
Teammate Pierre Gasly is satisfied of his performance too, as he comments:
"I'm very pleased with the outcome of today's race, even if we dropped back from our grid position. It was always going to be a tough task to keep behind some of the faster cars like Max [Verstappen] and Charles [Leclerc] but to be fighting with the Ferrari and Mercedes right to the end of the race is definitely encouraging. We had to fuel save quite a bit in the second half of the race so the fact we were so close to that top six is a step in the right direction. After two challenging races for the team, it was important for us to score double points so credit to everyone for this result here in Miami. We'll analyse everything, see where we can improve and arrive in Imola ready to keep battling and closing the gap to our rivals ahead".
Otmar Szafnauer, Alpine’s Team Principal, remarks the great work done this weekend but also the improvements and upgrade in needs to do.
"We can take some satisfaction from our weekend performance here in Miami, culminating with a double points finish after two fine race drives from Pierre and Esteban. Our race pace looked strong, we managed the tyres well to fight with cars around us and we come away from here with points on the board. It's clear we have gained on some rival teams from last season with Pierre close to holding off the Ferrari and Mercedes at the end and Esteban going long on his first stint very much on the pace of some of the leading cars. That said, today's race has also highlighted the areas where we must make immediate improvements. It's continuous gains we must find and with some further upgrades in the pipeline for Imola and the following races, we can look forward to taking that fight to our immediate competitors. It's been a busy two weeks for the team and we look forward to returning to Viry and Enstone where will analyse the past two races before turning our attention to the triple header".
Dave Robson, Williams Head of Vehicle Performance, comments the race of both drivers:
"We didn't quite have the pace today to challenge the top ten. We thought that we had enjoyed a good day yesterday and were probably starting the race with Alex a few places higher than the FW45's natural pace. In a rare race with no retirements, no rain, and no flags or safety cars, we weren't able to hold our position. Nonetheless, Alex had a good race with Valtteri and Nico and for a while it looked like he would beat both of them. Alex drove well and pushed the car hard trying to hold position and this led to some tyre degradation. Logan was ambitious on the opening lap and damaged his front wing in a minor contact with Lance. We took the opportunity to pit him, change his wing and get into some free air. He had a lonely race from there but still showed some decent pace, despite some floor damage, during a very long stint on the Hard tyre. He can still take a lot from today and can take that learning into a tricky triple-header, starting in Imola in two weeks' time".
Alex Albon’s expectations have not been satisfied, as the car didn’t performed as wanted.
"It was quite a tricky race; we just didn't have the pace today. I think we went into it thinking we were the ninth quickest car and today we probably were. We were managing the front and rear tyres but I didn't really have grip, so was sliding around. The tracks coming up don't tend to suit our car and there's a few upgrades coming from other teams, so we just need to get on top of it so they don't pull away from us. There's some positives to take from the weekend but races like today expose us a little bit and show where we really are".
For Logan Sargeant was a day to forget as his race started with a collision, finding really difficult the recovery.
"I put the car in a place I shouldn't have in Lap 1 and took my front wing off. From there it was a difficult afternoon. Sorry to the team for my mistake. Once we went back out for the long stint on the Hard tyre, I felt like I managed it quite well. The tyres were struggling by the end but that was ciaoto be expected. On a normal strategy our pace would've been pretty solid all things consider. Despite today, I still loved the weekend".
Sergio Perez is quite satisfied with his race, aware of the fact that his teammate Verstappen had more pace and speed and would have been difficult to catch him.
"Well done to Max, he had a tremendous race and deserved to win, I am really happy for him. It is not always nice when you lead the race and end up second, certainly I didn’t have the pace of Max and it is something we are going to analyse to see how we can do better. When I saw how strong Max was coming through the field and I was struggling a bit, I thought 'this isn’t looking too good'. It would have been a gamble on strategy to start on the hard tyre from pole position. Of course, I wanted to win but I knew early on the race was looking tricky for us. This is one to learn from because clearly Max had the fastest pace. I think the performance Max showed today was not reachable for me, so I have to understand why. I think some was tyre related but equally, overall, he was the stronger driver today. There was maybe a bit more we could have done; it is a bit of a shame really but in general, on a tough weekend P2 is not a bad result. We will review the weekend. I want to get back strong for Imola and get back to our normal level".
The two-times World Champion, Max Verstappen has enjoyed his race, as he says:
"Today was a good day, I stayed out of trouble at the beginning and I had a smooth race, I picked the cars off one by one. I had a good stint on the hard tyres which I think was integral to the win today. I had a good battle with Checo towards the end there too. I of course had the advantage with the new tyres but I think that’s what we like to see, we are free to race. Yesterday was a bit of a setback, today we kept it calm and clean, and winning the race from P9 was very satisfying".
Christian Horner comments the race, pleased of the performance of both drivers:
"Another fantastic performance from the Team. It was a big win for the second time here in Miami, our 5th victory and our 4th 1-2 of the year - all from 1st and 9th on the grid - a huge performance. Max starting on the hard tyre was a risk. Our simulators were telling us it would prove a slower race than on the mediums. He wanted to take that chance and he made it work, particularly from lap 20 to lap 42. His pace on that worn tyre was superior. He was able to match and sometimes better Checo’s pace. Sergio drove a brilliant race and he knew that 19.8 was the magic number to keep Max behind, but with Max then switching to the softs, with the extra grip and the phenomenal pace he has been carrying all weekend, he was away. The two of them raced hard and raced fairly which is what we asked of them. They both gave it their all as did everyone both here and back at Milton Keynes. It was a fantastic Team effort".
Ferrari’s driver Carlos Sainz shows frustration over his race:
"It was a tough race for us. My first stint on the Medium was good, but we tried to undercut Fernando early and I had to push the Hards too much immediately after coming out of the pits in order to get through the traffic. I think we paid the price for that a bit, but in general we clearly struggle with race pace. It’s frustrating, but we’ll keep working on a solution and I'm confident that we can progress as a team for the next races".
Charles Leclerc has had a really challenging day, struggling with his Ferrari through all race.
"I struggled with the car bottoming at high speed, which I hadn’t experienced so far this weekend. I had to just focus on bringing the car home, so overall it was not a great race. We have to work on understanding why we are so competitive in qualifying and off the pace in the race. We will keep pushing and hopefully, with the upgrades we have coming, we can make a step forward".
Frédéric Vasseur, Ferrari Team Principal, remarks how the car seems to perform differently in qualifying and race and proceeds by commenting the race of both Ferrari’s drivers.
"Once again today, the significant difference between the SF-23’s performance level in qualifying and the race was clear to see. Both Carlos and Charles found the car hard to drive and that is reflected in the result. Carlos was competitive in the first stint but then struggled quite a lot to run at a consistent pace after switching to the Hards, while Charles found it difficult on the Medium in the opening laps and only got into a good rhythm in the final stages. Therefore, finding some consistency in the car’s performance has to be our number one priority, especially in terms of tyre management, so that the confidence the drivers have in qualifying can be replicated in the race. We will now be continuing to work flat out in Maranello on developing updates as well as on optimising the car package, with the aim of already getting more out of it at the next race in front of our tifosi in Imola".
Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Alfa RomeoTeam Representative, is satisfied of the improvements the car has showed this weekend, confident of the direction taken.
"We saw some real signs of improvement this weekend, especially in qualifying, which had been a weaker point earlier this season. We take this as an encouragement and as a spur to keep working hard. We may not have scored points today, but we have a foundation on which to build - starting tonight, back in Hinwil, where the team is already at work, analysing today’s race and producing the upgrades that will make their debut in Imola. Today’s race saw us fight for a place in the top ten for a large part of the afternoon: in a race with no retirements, this was as far as we could go. The season remains long, and we’re motivated to make another step forward next time around: everyone is pushing for it and I’m confident we will keep moving in the right direction".
Valtteri Bottas appears positive towards the performance of the car, still believing there is a lot of work to do and progress to make.
"There are some positives to take from this weekend, although there is still a lot of work to do to be fighting in the top ten. The start of my race was quite good: we made up a few places and were well into the points. I tried my best to keep up the fight and defend my position; unfortunately, we didn’t quite have the pace we showed yesterday, when we had managed to be competitive on the single lap. I think our finishing position reflects where we stand at the moment, and we must keep working to improve. Our main focus now needs to be on making that extra step forward to be competitive again. We will bring new parts in Imola, and hopefully they will allow us to progress and get back in the fight for points. I am confident in the work we are doing as a team, and I am looking forward to the next rounds".
Zhou Guanyu has found himself in the DRS train, having an hard time progressing through the grid, but is still pleased with the step ahead the team made this weekend.
"We made a step forward this weekend, especially in qualifying, but we still need to work hard to get back into the top ten on Sunday. Today, it was very difficult to break the DRS train and it was only as the race progressed that I found a bit more speed and space. We take the positive from Saturday and we look ahead: I know everyone is working hard back at base to make progress. I am looking forward to the upgrades we will have in Imola, and also to racing on a permanent racetrack - it feels those suit our package a bit better at the moment. We keep our head up and we keep working hard".
Kevin Magnussen's weekend has been really good one, even though it leaves a sour taste not having managed to earn more than one point.
"I was dreaming of a little more than one point but still, it’s what we came here to do - to get points and finish in the top 10. I don’t think it was an easy race to get points in because all the big teams finished up there and P10 is more or less the best we could’ve hoped for in terms of the pace we had. I think the pace was good, but we had a little bit more degradation than the rest of the field. It was a strong weekend, bringing something good to the car and getting a point at home".
On the other side, Nico Hulkenberg hasn’t had a great race, having been stuck in the traffic.
"It was a tricky, difficult race and it didn’t quite pan out the way we wanted. The start was alright, but I think we were having difficulties in traffic. When we’re surrounded by other cars we were struggling for consistency and for grip, which made it quite difficult for me today. That also translates to higher degradation so maybe not a good one but I still feel some valuable lessons were learned and good data collected".
Guenther Steiner, Haas Team Principal, is pleased of the point gained at their home race, overall feeling positive.
"We scored points again, three times out of five this year and that’s good, but it’s a tough crowd out there. We’re there or about and if nothing happens at the front then we’re fighting for the last points which are leftover, and we got them this weekend after a very good qualifying. The race started very well, in the middle of the race we fell back a little, but we took a point home. All in all, it’s still positive. It’s tough and every point counts this year, and we need to be around when there are big points being dished out. I think we are always around so that day will come, but we’ve taken something away from our first home race".
Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director, comments how the tyres have performed in today race:
"The Miami Autodrome race was intense, with Red Bull claiming a fifth consecutive win since the start of the season. Pirelli tyres played an important role in the duel between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez right from the start, with differing tyre choices from the two team mates: Perez going for the expected medium from pole position while Verstappen, halfway down the grid, opted for the hard. At the chequered flag Verstappen led Perez home by five seconds, underlining how the range of compounds brought to Miami allowed for different strategies that were nonetheless quite close in terms of overall race time. It's no coincidence that a total of seven out of 10 teams chose to split the tyre choices between their two drivers. The hard (C2) tyre showed practically no degradation, allowing the drivers to push hard right to the end of long and hard-fought stints on it. This was ably demonstrated by Verstappen, who did 45 laps on the hard tyre - with plenty of overtaking - before stopping for the medium. The medium tyre also worked well, especially in terms of graining, which wasn't as much of a limiting factor as expected, especially in view of the rain that fell overnight. Fernando Alonso's long initial stint of 24 laps on this compound, for example, was one of the keys to his fourth podium from five races".
After this weekend, everyone is ready to fly to Italy, for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. However, in the days leading up to the race, doubts arise regarding the smooth running of the Grand Prix. The red weather alert issued in the Emilia-Romagna region due to bad weather puts the holding of the event at risk. The state of red alert for rainfall, river flooding with risk of overflowing and possible landslides, is due to the exceptional wave of bad weather that a few days before the scheduled race hits Emilia-Romagna, on the same territories already affected by another flood two weeks earlier. On Tuesday, May 16, 2023, the Santerno, a river that flows near the circuit and for a stretch runs alongside it, overflows, flooding part of the surrounding land. Authorities in the paddock are evacuated as a precautionary measure. On Wednesday, May 17, 2023, the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Matteo Salvini, calls for the cancellation of the event, stating that it is necessary to concentrate all efforts to cope with the emergency and that the scale of the event would force the entire area to an unsustainable logistical effort and reception of spectators and insiders. Casting doubt on the entire event, even more than the situation near the circuit, is the enormous damage done throughout the area of Emilia-Romagna and Marche. Nine victims were counted and thousands of people evacuated between Forli, Faenza and Cesena. According to reports from the region's president, Stefano Bonaccini, fourteen rivers have in fact flooded and a new red weather alert is in effect for rivers, landslides and storm surges. On the same day, the Federation and relevant bodies decide to cancel the Grand Prix. Finding a date for the recovery of the race, during the course of the season, appeared complicated, also because of a very busy calendar. Angelo Sticchi Damiani, president of the Automobile Club of Italy, speculated about a recovery of the Grand Prix in 2026, after the contract expiring in 2025 was extended. Ferrari and Formula 1 decide to donate one million euros each in support of the region for the flood-affected areas.