On Sunday, May 8, 2022, Formula 1 will land for the first time in Miami, Florida. The race will take place on the non-permanent city circuit located in the Miami Gardens: the Miami International Autodrome. The Miami Grand Prix is the fifth round of the 2022 World Championship and this new circuit, built in the immediate vicinity of the Hard Rock Stadium, will also host the first two rounds of the 2022 W Series; with a ten-year contract it will be the eleventh US venue of a Formula 1 Grand Prix after Indianapolis, from 1950 to 1960 and from 2000 to 2007, Sebring in 1959, Riverside in 1960, Watkins Glen from 1961 to 1980, Long Beach from 1976 to 1983, Las Vegas in 1981 and 1982 and from 2023, Detroit from 1982 to 1988, Dallas in 1984, Phoenix from 1989 to 1991 and Austin from 2012 to 2019 and from 2021. This Grand Prix has been included in the calendar after years of planning and organization. In fact, even back in 2017, Formula 1 and Apex Circuit Design, promoters of the initiative, sketched out some tracks in the district of Downtown Miami; however, two years later they turned their attention further north. In fact, in October 2019 it was made official that the circuit of the Miami Grand Prix, chosen from among 75 circuits and 36 different layouts considered, should have been located in the municipality of the Miami Gardens.
This choice was not immediately accepted willingly, because initially there were several oppositions, then resolved as this vote was reversed on April 14, 2021. Although the Grand Prix’s organizers and Stephen Ross, owner of the Hard Rock Stadium, had a preliminary contract which outlined to play the race at the aforementioned stadium in 2021, the Miami Grand Prix has been postponed for one year. The circuit does not take advantage of city streets but makes use of existing and newly built asphalted paths. It must be run counterclockwise, has a length of 5,412 metres and winds through 19 curves, 7 to the right and 12 to the left, it is accessible at an average speed of 223 km/h and drivers can reach a maximum speed of 320 km/h. The speed inside the pit lane is set, as in many circuits, at 80 km/h. The track width varies from a minimum of 10 meters to a maximum of 15.4 meters. The circuit features three straights, including the longest of 1.28 km. The running time of the track is estimated in one minute and 28 seconds in qualifying and one minute and 35 seconds in the race, with acceleration held for 58% of the lap. The speed trap, or the point where the maximum speed is detected, is positioned 150 meters before turn 17.
The circuit offers three zones for the use of the Drag Reduction System (DRS), located respectively: between turns 10 and 11, with detection point established 90 meters after curve 8; Turns 16 and 17, with detection point set 70 meters after Turn 16 and on the main straight of the pits, with detection point set 15 meters after Turn 17. This is the second circuit, after that of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, where since the creation three zones have been established for the use of the mobile device. The circuit is mostly flat, however the terrain has some undulations that the designers have integrated into the track. The biggest difference in elevation is between Turns 13 and 16, where the track passes under overpasses on uneven ground and travels along a Florida's deceleration lane. The pit lane, the boxes and the paddock have been set up along the north side of the stadium, while the podium on the south side. The circuit is completely new but for Formula 1 this will not be the first race held in Florida, in fact there is something that brings us back to December 12, 1959. That US Grand Prix was raced in Sebring, a circuit that occupies a part of Hendricks Field airport, and was won by Ferrari. On the asphalt of the former military airport, which was 8,368 km long, 42 laps were covered and the British driver Stirling Moss sprinted in front of everyone on a decidedly sunny day. With the fourth place in the race, Jack Brabham became World Champion, 4 points ahead of Brooks and 5.5 over Moss.
But it was a dramatic ending for Jack who had to push his car to the finish line, arriving exhausted and almost unconscious from fatigue. Since 1950, that circuit hosts the 12 Hours of Sebring, test of the IMSA championship. Coming back to 2022, it is important to underline that some key points of the next era of Formula 1 are established, regarding the maintenance of the show, the environmental and financial sustainability, and the ability to attract new constructors. Given the success of the cameras affixed to the pilots' helmets, defined as helmet cameras, it is also unanimously proposed and approved to update the 2023 technical regulation, to make the use of these helmet cameras mandatory for all pilots. For what concerns the regulation of the new power units expected in 2026, it is announced that they must have the same performance, 50% electric power, 100% biofuel and the cost ceiling to attract new engineers. From the next season, in order to reduce the tyre sets from 13 to 11, some experiments will be carried out: for example, in two Grands Prix, not yet formalized, compulsory compounds will be used in qualifying. The drivers are forced to use hard tires for Q1, medium for Q2 and finally soft tires for Q3. When session is officially declared wet, there is no such obligation, with free choice of compound. In case of a positive response, the rule can be applied to all the races of the 2024 season.
Shortly before the start of the first free practice session on Friday, the circuit is resurfaced in a section of Turn 7 and Turn 17. For this new Grand Prix, Pirelli, the sole tyre supplier, offers the choice between C2, C3 and C4 compound tyres, which characterize the central range of tyres made available by the Italian company. Pirelli had to rely on simulation data to choose the compound nomination and the informations available indicate that the central compounds of the range are the most suitable for the new track, with a smooth asphalt that offers good grip and forces at work on the tyres in the average. The analysis elaborated by Pirelli underlines the risk of rain and wind, the asphalt that could undergo a great evolution over the weekend, the speeds that will be touched along the three straights, the 19 curves and the chicane of the plant around the Hard Rock Stadium Complex. The brand new tarmac may lead to a high degree of track evolution, especially at the start of the weekend, with the Porsche Challenge and W Series as supporting events. The weather can be unpredictable: at this time of year the air temperatures are around 20 degrees but there is a high risk of rain and wind on the Florida coast. Mario Isola in this regard claims:
“There's been a huge buzz of excitement around the first Miami Grand Prix, where the track has some similarities to Jeddah, although there are some parts that are slower and more technical than Saudi Arabia: especially the section from Turns 11 to 16. The rest is a very quick layout, running anti- clockwise, which puts the emphasis on the tires on the right hand side of the car. We're expecting the usual rapid track evolution and a smooth surface with the new asphalt, but the track has been jet- washed at high pressure, which means that it should offer quite good grip from the beginning. Because it's a fast track the cars are likely to run a low to medium downforce set-up, which could lead to a bit of sliding in the high-speed corners on the hard compounds in particular. For any new track our choice tends to be on the conservative side, so it will be interest to compare the simulations with real data".
Starting from the Miami GP, the FIA has decided to tighten the pre-race checks, which for the drivers also include underwear and jewelry. Therefore, from this moment, the International Sporting Code also punishes those who do not wear fireproof underwear, jewelry or piercings. The main reason for the measure concerns the high rate of burns when a fire occurs, or, in the case of jewelry, the fact of entering the airways, so the measure was taken for medical and safety reasons. The race director appointed for this Grand Prix, the German Niels Wittich, sends to the teams a note which specify what a driver can and cannot wear while driving a Formula 1 car. The requests made to the drivers are specified in terms of clothing to pass regulatory checks. For the first violation, the driver caught red-handed is fined 50.000 euros, the second 100.000 euros and the third 250.000 euros and, above all, the deduction of points in the standings, both for the driver and for the team. British Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton fails the Federation scrutiny, wearing some items, and then completes the procedure before the first free practice session on Friday.
Subsequently, however, the Federation grants Hamilton a medical exemption for two Grand Prix, to allow him to remove two piercings in total safety. The British driver can race with the piercings in question, but must remove them before the Monaco Grand Prix. Returning to the technical aspects of this new Miami Grand Prix, on Wednesday, the AlphaTauri uses one of the eight curfews granted during the season to carry out operations on its cars but the Italian team does not receive penalties. Along the lines of the Alpha Tauri, before the start of the first free practice session on Friday, the second gearbox and second transmission are also installed on the car of George Russell and Sergio Pérez, Fernando Alonso and Kevin Magnussen . None of the drivers will be penalized on the starting grid, as the new components are among those usable in the maximum number established by the technical regulations. The second unit related to the internal combustion engine is installed on the cars of Charles Leclerc, Valtteri Bottas, Zhou Guanyu, Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher, and the third unit in Pierre Gasly's car. The second unit relating to the turbocharger is installed on the cars of Leclerc, Bottas, Zhou, Magnussen and Schumacher, and the third unit on the car of Gasly.
The second unit relating to the energy recovery system is installed in the car of Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi. The second unit relating to the electronic control unit is installed on Sebastian Vettel's car. Even in this case, taking advantage of the new technical regulations, no driver will have to discount the positions on the grid due to last minute changes. For this edition, the Sponsor of the Grand Prix is Crypto.com, a cryptocurrency exchange application based in Singapore. Considering the traditional United States of America Grand Prix in Austin, scheduled for October, the United States of America for the first time since 1984, when the United States of America-East Grand Prix was held in Detroit and the one of the same name in Dallas, host two Grands Prix on their territory during the same Championship. For the first time in the history of Formula 1, the Grand Prix is hosted by a predominantly African and American community. On the eve of the race, the organizers of the Grand Prix announce that the circuit is 95% ready. Since the announcement of the race during the 2021 Championship, 275.000 people have pre-registered to purchase tickets. On the eve of the 2021 British Grand Prix, the dispute for the inaugural edition of the Grand Prix got the green light from the judges after a lawsuit seeking cancellation on discriminatory grounds was rejected.
According to citizens residing near the facility where the event is held, having the race run in the area surrounding the Hard Rock Stadium represented racial discrimination against them. The novelty of this weekend does not simply concern the destination and the circuit, even in the paddocks there are changes, more or less important, that guide the conversations between the different teams. The British team McLaren signs a multi-year agreement with the cryptocurrency exchange OKX, while the French team Alpine hires in its Academy the British Alice Powell, participant in the W Series Championship, in the role of mentor. Finally, Formula 1 confirms the release of the fifth and sixth season of the Netflix series Drive to Survive. Former local Formula 1 driver, American Danny Sullivan, is named assistant commissioner for the race. Danny Sullivan made his F1 debut with Tyrrell at the 1983 Brazilian Grand Prix. He raced a single season in Formula 1, scoring a best result of fifth in Monaco. In 1984 he returned to the US where he resumed a successful Indy Car career. He is best known for his 'spin and win' victory at the 1985 Indianapolis 500, where he passed Mario Andretti, survived a 360-degree spin, and then caught and re-passed Andretti to win. He won the Indy Car World Series title in 1988. After 17 victories from 170 Indy Car starts he retired from open-wheel racing in 1995. He finished third in the Le Mans 24 Hours in a Dauer Porsche 962 in 1994. He made four starts at Le Mans, the most recent being 2004. He also performed this function in the past, for example in the first edition of the Mexico City Grand Prix, ran in 2021.
The other stewards designated for this race are Garry Connelly, Felix Holier and Dennis Dean. Garry Connelly was instrumental in bringing the World Rally Championship to Australia in 1988 and served as Chairman of the Organising Committee, Board member and Clerk of Course of Rally Australia until December 2002. He has been an FIA Steward and FIA Observer since 1989, covering the FIA WRC, the FIA WTCC and the FIA Formula One World Championship. He is Chairman of the Australian Institute of Motor Sport Safety and director of the Australian Road Safety Foundation. He is a member of the FIA World Motor Sport Council, a member of the FIA Scientific Advisory Committee and FIA Environmental Delegate. Felix Holier involved in motor sport in his native Germany from a young age, Felix Hotter followed a junior karting career by moving into event organisation at his his local motorsport club. He began his stewarding at national level in 2007 and by 2011 was acting as Chairman of the Stewards of the ADAC GT Masters Series, as well as stewarding at the German round of the FIA WTCC, DTM, the F3 Euro Series and the FIA F3 Trophy. In 2013 he became permanent Chairman of the Stewards in DTM. In 2018 he became a member of the FIA International Stewards Panel. Hotter also organises training activities for International Stewards. Dennis Dean has been involved in motor sport since becoming a scrutineer with the Sports Car Cub of America (SCCA) in the 1970s. He has served at national level as a steward, and race director, including 10 years as either assistant chief steward or chief steward (race director) of the SCCA's National Championship Runoffs. It is the German car manufacturer Mercedes that supplies the safety car and the medical car. Before the start of free practice, the emotions that animate the paddock are many and different. At McLaren, Daniel Ricciardo claims:
“I'm buzzing to be heading to Miami! The US is like a second home to me, so I can't wait to get on track in front of the fans and soak up the amazing atmosphere in the city. Miami knows how to put on a show so it's shaping up to be an incredible weekend. I can't wait for the challenge of a new track. The street circuit has some great features and they're something I'm really looking forward to testing out. Last race was a very tough one for me after sustaining damage on the first lap , but I'm bouncing back stronger and I'm ready to go. We still have a lot of improvements to make to the car, but Lando's result in Imola was very encouraging. Hopefully we can get another good result this weekend, let's keep pushing".
Teammate Lando Norris states:
"I'm hyped for this weekend. New circuits are always something I look forward to, and when you add in the excitement around a US race, particularly in Miami, it's going to be so cool. It's looking fast with some great features and with the added element of being a street track, it's going to be a fun challenge. I'm riding in on the high of the last race and hoping to keep the momentum going forward. Whilst the podium finish wasn't exactly expected, it's a testament to the hard work and determination of the team at track and back at the factory. Let's keep going and push as hard as we can".
At the same time, the McLaren Formula One Team Team Principal enthusiastically states:
"Welcome to Miami! A new track always poses great opportunities, and the circuit looks like an exciting one. The temporary track seems to have a permanent feel, with some small undulations, fast pace and it has been designed with some good overtaking opportunities, enhanced further by these new regulation cars. New tracks also come with some challenges, such as lack of data, so we're looking forward to getting out there and gathering these valuable insights. Whilst we still have a long way to go, we can continue to build on the good performances of the last few races. It's great to see F1 become part of the city's vast sporting legacy. Going to places such as this can only benefit our sport, so it's great to be able to reach even more fans and continue to grow the papaya family stateside. The team always enjoy US races with their great atmosphere and brilliant fans. Let's go racing".
As for Williams, Nicholas Latifi states:
"I'm looking forward to getting out to Miami and experiencing a brand-new event. It's a really exciting weekend for Formula One and to see the sport go from strength to strength in the US is great. I've only experienced the track on the simulator, but it seems like a good combination of slow-speed technical sections and more fast and flowing elements, so it'll be an interesting challenge".
Alex Albon express his first impressions about the track:
"It's very exciting to be heading to Miami; it's a brand-new track and a home race for Dorilton. I've driven the track in the simulator and my initial feeling is that it's going to be very technical with a lot of different style corners. The venue itself looks incredible, and I'm sure fans are in for a great weekend".
Dave Robson concludes that this new circuit presents an exciting challenge for the teams. The engineers have a lot to optimise:
"A new circuit always a presents an exciting challenge to the drivers and engineers. Although the drivers will learn the circuit very quickly, the behavior of the tires, the initial aging of the asphalt and the local conditions will ensure that there is a lot for the engineers to optimise throughout the weekend. The Miami International Autodrome is a new circuit, which features several long straights, two fast corner sequences and one low-speed twisty section. This is annex within a 5.4 km anti-clockwise layout. There will be compromises to be made between the various sections of the track and so the team will have quite a task to find the best overall lap time. Pirelli have provided compounds from the middle of their range, which is the same as in Imola. These are expected to suit the circuit layout quite well, although the exact tire behavior will depend on the track temperature and the chosen setup. It is this interaction between setup and tire behavior that will provide the drivers and engineers the biggest challenge of the weekend. The weather looks likely to be hot and sunny with a small chance of thundery showers, and with the key sessions taking place in the mid to late afternoon, it could be quite punishing for the cars, tires and drivers".
Guenther Steiner indulges, between irony and determination, in a long interview of which we report an excerpt. Another points scoring race weekend for the team last time out, with Kevin finishing inside the top eight in the Sprint and collecting two points for ninth in the grand prix. Having now seen the car perform in all weather conditions, where would you rank its strengths and weaknesses? Steiner replies:
"I don't think there any particular strengths or weaknesses, I think the car is pretty good all round. Obviously, in the main race in Imola, we were not performing as we would've wished so we need to look into the data and see how maybe we can get the tires to work better and go again. I think the car in general is pretty good, we just have to keep on working hard and getting more points".
He continues by commenting on the choice to run in Miami and the extreme beauty of the most important city in Florida:
"Unfortunately, I've never visited Miami itself, but I've been to Homestead-Miami Speedway before. I know it's a pretty cool city, and I would like to have time to visit but I think we will be very busy over the whole weekend with a lot of things going on - having an exciting race and an exciting show. I know, I must postpone getting to know the city until a later date, maybe when I stop working in racing".
Commenting on the proximity to home and the American show built inside the race, Haas Team Principal says:
"It's always exciting to race at home and now having a second race in Miami, it's even more exciting and it's closer to our base in North Carolina. Having a show around the racing is a great addition and the combination of both makes it more valuable to the sport, but the main event is always the racing".
Then, to the question: the anticipation for this race is at an all -time high - from a business standpoint , how important is it for Formula 1 to race in locations like Miami and have you seen the impact from a partnership perspective? Steiner replies:
"Yes, I've seen the impact. We've got a lot more interest for partnerships, for sponsorship and it has risen quite a lot. Now, we can take a little bit of time to go through and see how it develops but for sure, having the race in Miami and adding a race in Las Vegas next year, a third race in the States, will help all of this. We're in no hurry but the sport is in a good place at the moment".
Kevin Magnussen talks about the new circuit and the choice to include Miami in the 2022 calendar:
"I have visited Miami quite a few times. Last year I competed in the IMSA championship in America and got to spend a bit of time there. I was also on holiday in Miami when this job came about again! I'm looking forward to going back there, I think there's a real buzz around the race, so it's going to be great. In the circuit there's two big overtaking opportunities with these two very long straights. The track then has a good mix of high-speed and very low-speed sections, from T4 to T11 is high-speed and from T11 to T16 is super lowspeed so there's a good mix and with two long straights to overtake, hopefully it will make for a good race".
Then, Magnussen comments his pre-match feelings:
"I think there's been a positive change with these new cars in terms of racing each other and I'm certainly enjoying it, it feels like there's a lot more room to push and attack. I feel acclimatized, I'm still working as hard as I can on getting back to full fitness, but I've made some very good progress and am getting there".
Speaking of his athletic and mental preparation, the Haas driver is confident how to keep the focus on performance:
"I've been looking forward to going back to these tracks. I feel like every race so far has been a real joy and I look forward to every race, whether it's in Europe or outside. It's good though to come back to some of these tracks that I've got more experience with - a lot of good memories. In Europe, some of the tracks are where I used to race at in junior categories as well, so there's always good memories and a good atmosphere. Silverstone and Monza, those types of tracks are iconic and I'm really looking forward to going back to Spa with fans there as well".
Also teammate Mick Schumacher comments on the city that will host them for this weekend:
"I haven't visited Miami yet actually, I've just driven past it when I was younger. I'm very excited to go there, it's a place I've always wanted to go and see and experience. The beach is quite known there, and my hotel is quite close, so I'll probably get to go there and obviously I'm most excited about the race".
Schumacher evaluates the possibilities of action and overrides made available by the layout of the track:
"I haven't driven the track so it's difficult to say what the highlights are going to be and what it's going to be like, but an American race is always fun. There's always a lot of show, there are always celebrities that come who you wouldn't get the opportunity to meet otherwise and it's good to have the whole show broadcast. I think it's great that we're becoming more and more American in some ways because I think the fans are great and I enjoy myself every time I go. I'm excited about racing there more and more in the future".
Then Mick tells his first impressions about the American environment:
"It's mainly because it's different. I wouldn't say I'm a one- sided person - I'm very versatile in the stuff that I like. For example, Australia is a place I love, it could be the mountains in the north of Norway or even Switzerland but in America… My sister says that the sky seems bigger in the States, and it's true in a way! Out there, it's flat and where we are in Texas is very flat. The people are always very nice - I got stopped by a police officer last year and he was super kind and let me have a look at his car and there's just a nice feeling to it".
He also reveals the ways in which he manages to stay focused during every single race:
"I spend a lot of time in the places that we go to, beforehand. In Australia, I went a full week early and it's similar in the States so I try to get there as early as I can and try to get into the rhythm. I tend not to stick around for too long after to then get back into the time zone of Europe, just because we have the European races coming up. Most of the places that I go to, I will look out for a gym. If it's a hotel, I'll look for one with a gym and if I'm at the ranch I've built my own gym so I can train when I'm there. When I go to places like Texas I'm always on my feet all day anyway, so it's just a bonus if I have a gym".
As for Mercedes, Toto Wolff says that the team did improvements after the difficult weekend at Imola, so they found several directions for improving the car:
“It was a very difficult weekend for us in Imola. George did a great job to finish P4 from an unpromising starting position but with Lewis, we didn't give him the tools or track position to show his true pace. Since we returned from Italy, we've learned as much from the weekend as we can and, in parallel, our learning has continued in the wind tunnel and simulations. We have found several directions for improving the car, and we will be conducting experiments in Miami to correlate those simulations, and hopefully confirm the development path for the coming races. Both drivers have been working in the simulator ahead of Miami and the factories have been busy producing updates for the next races. The saying' smooth seas do not make good sailors' comes to mind. This team has shown its resilience over many years and the difficult start to this season has lit a fire within every team member, determined to put it right. Miami is an exciting new challenge and a complete step into the unknown. The track looks demanding, with a real mix of low and high-speed corners, and it's set to be a spectacular showcase for the sport to our growing US fanbase. So, we're set for a fantastic event, and we can't wait to see how it all plays out".
Aston Martin’s driver Lance Stroll is excited about being in Miami:
"It's amazing to see Formula One's popularity take off in America, especially as it means we get to visit and race in Miami, easily one of the coolest cities in the States. The first race at a new track is always one of the most exciting , you're going into it with limited data, and racing against the clock to get up to speed with the track. It's going to be a lot of work but rewarding to see F1 put on an amazing show in Miami".
Sebastian Vettel continues:
"It's great to see another street circuit join the calendar, and the Miami track looks really interesting. From what we've experienced in the simulator, there are a few challenging corners. Turns 13-16 have a surprising amount of elevation-change to catch drivers out and there are long sections where overtaking should be possible with DRS. You can only learn so much pre -event - I'm excited to hit the track for the first time".
As for Alpha Tauri, Pierre Gasly looks back at Imola and is very optimistic about this new race:
"Looking back at Imola, Friday practice went okay, but then we didn't do a very good job of managing the tires on the drying track in Qualifying, so we ended up near the back. From then on, we were on the back foot and then there was the collision in the Sprint that meant starting at the back again on Sunday. In the race, I was in a DRS train with Lewis behind me and a Williams in front, so it was a bit annoying. I have to admit I've never had much luck in the Sprint races, and I've often been involved in some unlucky situations. We couldn't overtake and that was it. We had some updates, but it was hard to assess them because of the conditions on track, so I'm looking forward to going to Miami to have a normal weekend with three free practice sessions, which will allow us to really do some testing and draw some conclusions. On the plus side, it was clear the car was working well, as Yuki demonstrated with a good result. There is clearly some potential in the car, and we can expect to have some nice races. But that won't happen unless we have a clean weekend, qualifying well and starting as near to the front of the grid as possible. And then it also depends on the type of track and although it will be important to qualify well in Miami, I think it should be possible to overtake there. But there are some races like Imola coming up, in Spain and Monaco, where Qualifying has far greater importance and having a good Saturday is the key. I've driven Miami on the simulator. I think I did around 130 laps and it looks as though it could be a really fun track to drive with high-speed corners and some sections that are very slow and technical with long straights, so I reckon it could be a great race. I like the fun side of racing in the States, as the organisers always try and do something special in terms of entertainment to keep the crowd happy. I spend quite a bit of time in the States, and I try and take in some of their popular sports, such as the NBA, the NFL and hockey. Every time I go, I am amazed at how they create a special energy, a special atmosphere which is incredible. I think they are planning something along those lines for Miami to make it a stand-out event. My main hope is that we can continue to score points in every race and from my point of view, get back into the good rhythm we had in the first three races and forget about the Imola weekend".
It is quite the same for Yuki Tsunoda, who thinks it will be fun to race in the States:
"It was a difficult overall weekend in Imola, even if I was very pleased with my final race result. Qualifying did not go well and even though there was potential in the car, we couldn't put it all together. I know, it was not an ideal start, but I managed to make up four positions in the Sprint, which was good. On Sunday I again gained places on the opening lap and scored points for P7 and enjoyed some good battles, which means the team is one of only three to have scored in all four races so far this year. I'd say it was one of the best races of my Formula 1 career so far. Miami is a new circuit, but we will get three full free practice sessions to learn it. I have driven the track on the simulator and the first two sectors are quite fast with some medium and high-speed corner. Sector 3 is what I call a Formula E sector with a lot of very tight corners and I think overall it looks like being quite an interesting track to drive. I think it will be fun, although overtaking might be difficult, so we must qualify well. If we can have a long run pace similar or better than at Imola, that would be perfect. The free practice sessions will be very important for everyone as the track is brand new, so data gathering will be the most important thing on Friday. The races in America always have a lot going on around them, as they like to have a big show connected to all their major sports. I think it's fun, but I'll just be focussing on my job. I did get a chance to enjoy myself a bit before what seems to be a busy weekend, as I went early to New York, attending a boxing match which was a new experience my first ever visit to New York City and I had a great time".
At Alfa Romeo Racing, Frédéric Vasseur declares:
"We are really happy to head to Miami for a new race in a brand-new venue. Formula One has got a global appeal and we can see how healthy the sport is just by judging the crowds we had at the races so far: to add another destination event like Miami is just going to boost the popularity of our sport even more and I am sure the whole weekend will be spectacular. We approach this race in a strong position and with a confident mood: we showed in Imola, where we fought for the highest positions, that our form from the beginning of the season was not a fluke. We are actually improving with every round, and we are in a situation in which we can reap the rewards of our work, but we cannot get carried away. The whole field is still very compressed and a minor swing in performance, be it track- related or due to upgrades, can mean the balance can shift significantly. That's why we have to keep working hard to extract everything from our package: we know we can score big in every race, but execution needs to be flawless if we want to beat our rivals".
Valtteri driver Bottas hopes to continue scoring points:
"I am really excited about racing in Miami. I just spent some days in the US, visiting friends and cycling with my partner, and I've really enjoyed the atmosphere: I am sure the race in Florida will be an incredible show as America has got us used to. The track seems quite cool, with good overtaking opportunities and the potential for some fun racing: I think the layout designers did a good job on paper and hopefully this will be the case in reality when we hit the track. We arrive in Miami knowing we can have another good weekend: we scored points in every race we finished so far and we want to continue this strong moment. There is a growing sense of confidence in the team, we know we can do well on every track and it's in our hands to go out there and deliver the goods".
Teammate Zhou Guanyu underlines the fact that the track is new, so all the drivers start on the same level:
"Miami is a good opportunity to get back on track and continue our good work. I am happy with the progression I have done so far and I want to keep growing - and bring home more points. I have been close to or in the top ten in most of the races so far, so we are heading in the right direction: I am in no hurry and I know I need to keep putting in the hard work, then the results will come. The track in Miami is, of course, new for me, even though I have driven it in the simulator: however, it's a new track for everyone so, in this regard, I start for the first time on the same level as everyone else. As always, we will need to maximise every session in the run-up to qualifying, making sure we get the most out of our car: I am confident we can have another strong showing this weekend".
As for Alpine, Otmar Szafnauer is enthusiast about racing in America, because it can ispire new fans as it was for him back in the 1980s:
"It's absolutely fantastic that Formula 1 is going to Miami. It's an excellent place to showcase Formula 1 for the first time, so we're annex looking forward to putting the cars on track there and driving the circuit. Formula 1 has always been popular in America. I remember watching my first race in Detroit in the 1980s, which inspired me to pursue a career in motorsport. It's fantastic that now Formula 1 is expanding in America and inspiring new fans, discovering new cities and introducing a fresh audience to an established global sport. This year we have two races in America, next year it's three and beyond that, who knows. There are many opportunities and that's exciting for our sport".
Esteban Ocon argues:
“It seems we have been talking about Miami for years! And it is finally here, which is very exciting for everyone involved in the sport. Formula 1 has grown so much in the United States in the last few years and Miami is such an iconic city, so it should be a fun weekend and I can't wait to get going. I have only seen Miami in the movies and I have seen a bit of how the track and facilities will look like and it all looks very impressive. But from my side, I have prepared well in the simulator and have discussed with the team how to best approach this new track. Driving a new circuit is always exhilarating because you don't really know what to expect until you're driving there. But the approach and preparation remain the same as for all other race weekends".
Fernando Alonso is pretty curious to try the new circuit:
"I enjoy racing in America and we've seen in recent years how big Formula 1 is becoming over there. Miami is another new one and I'm curious to see how the circuit is in real life. I think we've seen that after four races the racing has seen mixed results. There were quite a few overtakes in Bahrain and Saudi. Whilst in Australia and Imola, it was difficult to overtake as expected. I think it's still too early to judge. Bahrain and Saudi created unique overtaking opportunities, so perhaps it was more track specific as to why we saw more overtakes there. It's clear already though that it's easier to follow the cars ahead and because the cars are all suffering with varying levels of tire degradation, it's creating different strategies and opportunities in the race".
Enrico Sampò, Head of Scuderia Ferrari driving simulator, talks about his work in the stable in the days before the race:
"The driving simulator is a key element in preparing for a race. The work starts several weeks before an event, looking at the previous year's race if possible. Then , a test driver undertakes several sessions to get an understanding of tire behavior , to predict car balance, to check the behavior of special components and lastly , to test different set-up options. A few days before the event, the race drivers and their group of engineers tackle a session on the simulator to provide their input to the preparation and car set-up. With a new circuit like Miami, Charles and Carlos will also use the simulator to learn the track and to go through the various race weekend procedures".
After many years in the simulator area, Sampò tells how the simulator is also essential in anticipation of the race:
"Would usually be during the first free practice session on Friday as that's when you get the first set of data and driver comments about the track. This is when we can compare the simulator data to the actual data from the track. With a new venue such as Miami, it's also important to check actual track data, such as the nature of the kerbs and the presence or absence of elements that the simulator model did not foresee . The correlation between how the car behaves on track and in the simulator is refined over the weekend, but having a good starting point is definitely essential so that the track engineers can focus on the details".
On the circuit he declares:
"The fact it is a new circuit means that simulation is even more important. We expect the track to be quick, with some high speed corners in the first sector as well as some rather slow ones especially in sector three. There are some very long straights, with three DRS zones and good opportunities for overtaking. In terms of car balance, it is definitely a complex circuit and it will be important to find the right compromise to suit the various corner types and to run the car efficiently down the long straights . We have prepared for this event going through our usual procedures, being particularly careful as we are less certain than usual about the data we have. That means we are having to predict a wider than usual range of conditions and problems . Charles and Carlos both spent a lot of time on the simulator to learn the track and to explore the car's possible limitations, while trying different set-up solutions to optimize car balance and lap time".
Friday, May 6, 2022, is a nice day in Miami where the first ever Miami Grand Prix practice sessions take part. In FP1, the championship leader Charles Leclerc sets the quickest time with the soft compound tyres, just 0.071 seconds before George Russell who is driving his fifth Grand Prix Weekend with Mercedes. After this first practice session, it seems like the upgrades of the Mercedes, including a new low downforce rear wing, revised front wing and beam wing, are bringing the car to the right direction. Actual world champions Max Verstappen makes the third fastest time with +0.179 seconds to Charles with his Red Bull, after being a fair chunk of the session in the box because of skimming the wall on a green track. Behind the first three drivers, there arrives Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez as fourth, ahead of Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri, which is with his third engine: this means that with the next one he will take a penalty. The Ferrari Driver Carlos Sainz fails to take a time on soft tyres and ends in sixth position, because he picked up a puncture into Turn 1. With his seventh place, the Williams driver Alex Albon did a very impressive performance on FP1. He arrives around 0.1 seconds before the seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton, who has been baulked by traffic in his soft tyre run. Kevin Magnussen in ninth position and Daniel Ricciardo completes the top 10 of the drivers of FP1.
Lando Norris is eleventh behind his teammate, followed by Fernando Alonso in twelfth. Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo is thirteenth, while Valteri Bottas ends up seventeenth, after hitting the barriers rear at Turn 7 and bringing out the red flag. Behind Zhou Guanyu, Sebastian Vettel takes fourteenth position, in front of Esteban Ocon in fifteenth position and teammate Lance Stroll in sixteenth. The last three drivers of the FP1 are Yuki Tsunoda for AlphaTauri on eighteenth position, who hit the wall but continued the session, Mick Schumacher with the Haas on nineteenth position, while in the end of the field stays Nicholas Latifi in his William, with +4.539 to championship leader Charles Leclerc. The Ferrari driver is first in this first ever practice session in Miami, which was an entertaining session with several drivers getting caught out on this 5.412 km, 19-turn track. Later in the day, the FP2 session takes part. The drivers begin FP2 on medium compounds; the track temperature is 10 degrees Celsius cooler than in FP1. After setting the early benchmark on those medium tyres (1'31"463) Ferrari Driver Carlos Sainz brings out the first red flag of the session, crashing into Turn 14 (the entry into the tight chicane) and ends up this session with over 40 minutes remaining in the wall. At the end of the session, he affirms:
"Obviously not the best way to start the weekend after a costly snap ended our Friday early. Still, I feel the car was competitive and I have confidence in our performance. It’s pointless to dwell on today, so we’ll put our full focus on tomorrow and the race. The extra work for the mechanics is the worst part, so I’ll definitely speak to them and the rest of the team. I look forward to tomorrow".
Only five minutes later, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen is struggling with his steering, and on the last sector, smoke comes out of his car, so the RB18 has to go to the pits with a hydraulic issue. Max Verstappen is not so happy about this session:
"It was not a good day for us, we wanted to get out there and learn the track and get fully up to speed but things didn’t go to plan. We just had some hydraulic issues, as soon as I went out I couldn’t really steer and also my breaks were on fire, so there were a few problems. We don’t have a huge amount of information and data for my car which could prove difficult for qualifying and the race but we will do our best. Of course, I will try to catch up tomorrow, we will work very hard as a Team to overcome the issues and hopefully we will be in a good place come qualifying tomorrow".
After the tyres change on the soft, Mercedes driver Russell took the best time with his upgraded W13 with a lap of 1'29"0, which was 0.106 seconds faster than FP1 leader Leclerc. After this two strong sessions of Mercedes driver George Russell defines this day as the most productive:
"We always knew that the warm conditions here in Miami would suit our car better - we've suffered with getting temperature in the tyres at previous races so that's a big factor here. The car is running well but it's only Friday, we're not getting carried away. It's probably been the most productive Friday we've had this season in terms of learning. We know that the porpoising will always be there but maybe it's working at a lower range compared to where we were previously. You generally have races that go in your favour and some that go against you - Imola obviously wasn't a strong circuit for us but from what we've seen so far, the car seems to work well around Miami. It's a unique circuit, I was a bit unsure how I would take to the slow-speed tight section underneath the bridge, it's a bit of a head-banger through there, but for the rest, they've done an amazing job - undulating in sections, with high-speed corners, I think it's great for the fans".
Charles Leclerc is satisfied about his performance and the new track in Miami:
"It was a good day. We focused on building up our pace little by little and learned quite a bit about this new track. It is challenging and really nice to drive, with my favourite part being the one from turn 11 to turn 16 in the second sector. Things went smoothly on our side and we tested everything we planned to. It looks like everyone is close together, which should make for an exciting weekend. The asphalt will spice things up. There is very high grip on the racing line and very low grip off it, which will make it difficult to overtake. It is also rather aggressive on tyres, so it will be important to manage them well throughout the race".
Behind this two drivers there is Sergio Perez, who takes the third place with +0.212 seconds to Russell, while Lewis Hamilton is fourth and +0.241 seconds behind his team mate Russell. Lewis Hamilton is optimistic about Miami:
"Today is just practice and everyone is doing something different, not showing their true pace, so we won't get carried away. The car feels similar to me but we seem to be quicker and we've obviously improved in places. We still have the bouncing so we haven't cured it but bit by bit, we're improving the car. The race is going to be tough, particularly with the tyres overheating and it's very hot for the drivers, I've already lost a couple of kilos today. The heat reminds me a little bit of driving in Malaysia - Kuala Lumpar is still number one in terms of the heat, then Singapore, and now here in Miami. There are positive elements to take from today, George looked great out there and the team are trying a lot of different things with our cars, so we'll converge and hopefully take another step forward tomorrow".
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez thinks that the race is going to be interesting:
"It’s been a difficult day for every driver today. I think it was a very messy session this afternoon, in total I did one medium lap and two soft laps. On the high fuel there was nothing we could do because of all the red flags and the time we lost. We are basically going blind into the race and I think most people are in the same boat as us. For qualifying we have more of an idea, but things can change very quickly with the weather around here. There isn’t much grip off the racing line on this track and it feels very gravely out there too, it is a shame because I think racing will be hard due to that. Saying that, I think it is going to be an interesting race because all of us don’t know exactly where we are".
Fernando Alonso rounds out the top five and leads the midfield with + 0.434 gap to P1. He says he can be optimistic:
"It was a good day for us, learning the circuit and moving forward from the simulator laps to the real track. There are always some differences, so today was all about understanding everything quickly. It’s an interesting track to drive and I think we had a clean Friday. There is a lot of data to analyse now, and you can see that there is a lot more to come for everybody. We need to keep fine tuning the car; we look fast again this weekend and I think we are in a good position - I am optimistic".
His Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon, who ended behind Alonso in both practice session, says:
"After waiting so long for this race weekend and with all the hype, it’s finally great to be able to be on track and experiencing it all for real. For us, it was a good day of learning on what is a brand-new track for everyone. We had a first taste of how the car would behave with the simulator work we did beforehand but, of course, with new data, we can now start to confirm and look deeper into some of the discussion points. The car seems competitive and moving in the right direction, which is good news, but it is tomorrow and Sunday that counts. There’s more to come".
McLaren’s Lando Norris took the sixth position 0.597 seconds down on Russell, with AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly just behind on seventh position. After the FP2 Pierre Gasly says this result is similar to what he expected:
"The track is really cool here, it’s different to what we’re used to with all the varying corners, but so far I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s pretty challenging to drive, as it’s really hot and there’s also a lot of sliding, but it’s fun. The real-life laps times are pretty close to what we were seeing on the sim, it also feels pretty similar to what we were expecting, so we’ve come into the event well prepared. I think looking at today’s sessions we’re sitting right on the edge of the top 10, so hopefully we’ll make it through to Q3 in Quali tomorrow. We’ll work hard tonight, as I’m still not fully happy with the car, and hopefully find some more performance ahead of tomorrow".
His teammate Yuki Tsunoda says this track is special:
"The track here is quite special, I really like it, especially Sector 2. I’ve never driven corners like turn 11 and 16 in a F1 car before and it’s super fun. We’re still learning lots about the circuit, it was more slippery out there than I was expecting and if you even go off the racing line with just one tyre you lose a huge amount of grip, as we saw with a few cars today. Currently, I’m struggling here a little bit compared to the last few circuits, but I just need to take it step by step and build up the pace. I’m still not fully happy with the balance of the car yet, but we’ll work hard tonight and look to put it all together tomorrow for Quali".
The only Alfa Romeo runner Zhou Guanyu took eight position, while his teammate Valtteri Bottas had to set out the session because of his FP1 spin. After these two strong sessions, Zhou Guanyu says that is happy of the progresses made:
"I am pretty happy with how the day has gone, especially with the progress we have made between FP1 and FP2. It was quite tricky out there: it’s fun to go to new tracks, but of course the surface is always an issue at the beginning of the weekend. It was very, very slippery, we do expect it to evolve a lot, but we have to find out exactly how much tomorrow. I quite enjoyed driving here today, it was a challenge but it was interesting. For me, especially with Valtteri not being able to do FP2, it was key to get as many laps in as possible to get as much data as we could: in that regard, we did well and we have enough to work with to prepare for qualifying. My objective for tomorrow is not changing: I want to keep progressing, make it to Q2 and then do the best I can to see how far high I can get".
While his teammate Valteri Bottas is annoyed of missing most of the day:
"It’s annoying to miss out on most of the day, but there is still a long way to go in this weekend. Unfortunately, I went slightly on the dirtier part of the track and lost the rear, and when that happens you cannot catch the car back. We damaged the exhaust and the turbo and it was impossible to get the car fixed in time for FP2. It means we need to really maximise the last hour of practice tomorrow: thankfully, the team has made good progress with Zhou and it seems the set-up direction we have taken, with the changes the team made on his car for FP2, is the right one. For what I could experience, the track is good fun: it’s technical and challenging, but nice to drive, and the twisty section towards the end is definitely difficult to get right. I think they did a good job in designing a track that should offer good overtaking opportunities, so hopefully the racing will be fun. The focus for me, however, is to catch up on the time we lost today".
Alpine driver Esteban Ocon and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen rounded out the top 10 of FP2. the Haas driver hopes the team will stay in top 10:
"It’s been an interesting day with a new track, trying to learn it quickly and get the balance dialed-in as quickly as possible. The track is changing so much because it’s brand new so it’s going to be interesting. The fast sections I’m happy with and that’s not normally what we think our strength is, so let’s see if we can try and improve the low-speed parts tomorrow. Hopefully we’ll stay in the top 10 - we’ll make some changes - but so will everyone else, so we’ll see".
This weekend Mick Schumacher drives the VF-22 with the name of owner Gene Haas mother Margaret to fifteenth position in the home race. He knows there’s still a lot to learn:
"The tight section is tight, that’s for sure, and the straights are very long so it’s an interesting, different mix. It seems that the run-offs are dirty so once you go off it definitely punishes you, so it’s just a matter of putting everything together and still trying to find some set-up options so that we’re in a good position. Lots learned, lots to learn still, so I’m looking forward to tomorrow".
Team Principal Guenther Steiner knows his team can still improve:
"An interesting session on a new race track with a lot of things to learn. I think we can still improve but all in all, I’m pretty happy with what we gained today in knowledge. I don’t think we’re in a bad place so again in FP3, we’ll make some progress and get ready for qualifying".
In between the Haas drivers, McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo took the twelfth position, AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda the thirteenth and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel the fourteenth. Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz had to end his session and falls back to eleventh place in FP2. The two Williams drivers Alex Albon (P17) and Nicholas Latifi (P18) set the slowest time in FP2. Alex Albon thinks the team had their best Friday of the season so far:
"I think today has been our best Friday of the season so far. It may not look like it, especially as my final runs in FP2 were a bit scrappy and we didn't get a representative lap in, but I'm happy with how the car is feeling and performing. We'll do a bit more fine tuning tonight now that we have some data from the practice sessions, and hopefully things will be looking positive heading into FP3 and Qualifying tomorrow".
Nicholas Latifi is enthusiast of this new track:
"It was an interesting first day here in Miami. It was nice to finally get out on track and experience the circuit in real life. It is a tricky and technical layout, especially the slower section around Turns 13 to 16. We are definitely going to be fine tuning our approach overnight to try to find some more lap time in that section in particular. The other challenge we faced today was the heat; it’s very hot here and that will make it difficult for both us as drivers and the tyres across the weekend. Overall though, I think it’s been a great event for the sport so far and hopefully we will have more of the same over the next two days".
After the slightly frustrating day, Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance says:
"It has been a slightly frustrating day with several disruptions in each session. As a result, we haven’t collected as much information as we would’ve liked. However, we made a positive start in FP1 and immediately found a good setup direction with Alex. As the track improved in FP2, the car balance shifted a little and we will need to make some minor adjustments to the setup overnight to stay ahead of the rapidly evolving track. Alex’s main performance run in FP2 was hampered by some traffic and he couldn’t extract quite as much from the car and tyres as he had done in FP1. However, we don’t expect this to be an issue tomorrow and we are looking forward to a competitive Q1 session. Nicholas wasn’t quite as happy with his car balance today but with some time to work on it tonight, he can find a good improvement tomorrow. He stopped on track at the end of FP2 when he lost drive. We are still investigating the issue but don’t think that it is serious, and we don’t expect it to affect the rest of his weekend".
McLaren’s Lando Norris sees a lot of challenges for his team to overcome:
"A reasonable day, if a bit tricky. There’s a few challenges for us to overcome. First of all, the ambient temperatures are tough. The track grip is quite low when you leave the racing line, and it’s quite bumpy in places, so it’s a difficult track because of that. But despite that, we made some good progress throughout the day. Hopefully we can make another step into tomorrow and gain even more. It looks very close, between everyone, from the front to the back. Everyone is much closer than they have been lately, which is tough, but hopefully we can just squeeze a bit more performance. I think every little bit of time can be the difference between a few positions. It's going to be a tight qualifying, so every little thing we can get out of the car into tomorrow will be helpful".
Daniel Ricciardo likes the first sector of the track but finds no nice words about the middle:
"It’s cool to be on a new track, although it was challenging as the surface is quite unique and different. It’s not the easiest to get into as just going off-line, you lose so much grip. I like the first sector, that’s cool, but the real tight stuff in the middle, I think is just a bit too tight for how big the cars are now. Overall, we’ve got to work on a few things tonight; just the usual things for a new track, trying to discover and learn, and just try to find a sweet spot for tomorrow".
Andrea Stella says that they have some work to do to understand the data collected in FP1 and 2:
"This race weekend in Miami is really interesting, and not only because of the new location and new track. There’s lots we need to understand and optimise in order to get a good result. The asphalt seems to have some interesting features, and the tyre behaviour is not that obvious. The hot conditions also pose some challenges for set-up, and we need to be on top of those. We have some work to do, understanding the data we have collected today. We’ll do that overnight in order to be as prepared as possible for tomorrow. We’re expecting a relatively eventful race on Sunday and we need to be ready for whatever opportunities that presents".
In addition, Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll says that the track of Miami is very interesting and offers a good driving challenge:
"Going to a new venue is always fun and they have created an interesting track here in Miami that offers a good driving challenge. Turns Four to Seven are a fun sequence of corners and allow you to attack. The sessions were disrupted with a few red flags, which is never ideal when you are learning a new track, but we did what we could. The energy around this weekend has been awesome so far and I am excited for qualifying tomorrow when dealing with traffic on a busy track will be especially challenging".
His teammate Sebastian Vettel thinks that the team had a good start to the weekend:
"I think we have made a good start to the weekend, but I feel that there is still room to tweak our car and adapt to the track. It is a tricky circuit and most of the corners are blind, which makes it difficult in terms of navigating traffic. This will likely be an important factor in qualifying, especially in Q1 when you need to find space. The red flags today disrupted some of our running, but we adapted as best we could because you want to get as many laps as possible on a new circuit. There is still pace on the table and if we can make some progress overnight we can hopefully edge closer to the top 10 tomorrow".
Even the Chief Race Engineer Jonathan Eddolls finds some words after this first two session, on which the track temperatures were up to 50 degrees Celsius:
"Coming to a brand-new circuit there’s always a lot of work to cover during the Friday sessions, so we came here with quite a comprehensive test plan to capture the data to prepare for Quali and the race. The new tarmac is quite standout relative to other circuits, due to the roughness, so there was some learning to complete to understand how the tyres interact with it, especially at the high track temperatures in excess of 50°C - the hottest of the season so far. In FP1 the track evolution was high, as expected, and Yuki wasn’t able to set a clean lap on his Softs early in the session, but we knew there was more to come. Given the very long straights, all cars run a lower downforce level here, which made car handling in the corners more of a challenge than at the previous events. We made several changes to the car for FP2 and these improved the balance. Pierre was able to set a very good lap to end up in P7, whereas for Yuki he didn’t have a car that had the balance he wanted and needed for this track, so we will work hard on analysing the data from today and continue to improve it for tomorrow. Due to the Red Flag the high fuel runs were cut short, this means all teams will be lacking race tyre data so the learning will continue in the race".
Andrew Shovlin reflects on this busy day with a few red flags:
"A busy but encouraging day, a few red flags interrupted our programme but we managed to get through most of the work. We had a few aerodynamic updates to try here which we are still assessing but overall, we look to have made some progress. In terms of set-up, we had some comparisons that we have been running throughout the day across the cars and initial results look interesting. We'll do a bit more analysis before deciding what we carry into tomorrow. There's plenty for us to improve with the car balance, tyre overheating is also quite an issue, and the sessions around the middle of the day are very hot so keeping the rear tyre temperatures under control is a challenge. Those will be our main areas of focus to try and improve. There will also be chunks to find working on single lap balance and also the ride, there are a couple of notable bumps here that unsettle the car, but overall it's a solid start, especially compared to our recent Fridays".
Sporting Director Alan Permane expresses his first impressions about the Miami track. He says that the circuit is impressive and brought a cool vibe to the event:
"It’s great to be here in Miami and experiencing the buzz around the place that Formula 1 brings to the city. The organisers have done a very good job in building an impressive circuit with some fantastic facilities, which has brought a really cool vibe to the event. In terms of the on-track performance, we’ve had two solid sessions with both cars, albeit with some interruptions throughout with various red flags. We have focused on improving our race pace, so today, our focus was based around some experiments to better understand and ultimately better our long run pace. With both drivers inside the top ten and Fernando in fifth, it shows our single lap pace is still strong. It’s difficult to have a clear picture on long runs due to the red flags in Free Practice 2, so there’s a little more work to do there. Other than that, it’s been a good day and we’re all looking forward to taking on the rest of the weekend".
Mario Isola, Motorsport Director, adds that the weather can still be a rogue factor:
"It was an interesting day on the challenging new Miami track, despite the red flag interruptions in each free practice session. There was good grip from the start and tyre wear here seems set to decide the strategy: on paper there seems little to choose between a one-stopper and a two-stopper, but the wear rate will tip the balance. We saw this morning the damage that could be done to a tyre by going off the track onto the abrasive run-off area, and it’s incredibly easy to make a mistake here: with the front-right tyre being the crucial one to look after. There was the high track evolution that we expected throughout the day on this new asphalt, which is likely to continue tomorrow, with the teams running mainly on the medium and soft compounds in free practice so far. The hard C2 compound is one that they know quite well already, so this could be one reason why we haven’t seen a lot of it so far. One rogue factor might still be the weather: it was incredibly hot today, but there was a high level of humidity and the risk of heavy rain seems just around the corner, especially on race day".
It is easy to find words about the first two practice sessions of the Miami Grand Prix. It was an eventful day with some red flags, good lap times, a hot track and a lot to learn from, for tomorrow’s FP3 and Qualifying Session. The teams will work hard to improve themselves and analyze their data. The big crowd and lot of stars joining cannot wait on Saturday. Saturday 7th of May 2022 is a busy day for all the teams as they face the last free practice session at 1:00 p.m. and the qualifying for the first GP in Miami at 4:00 p.m. Lewis Hamilton arrives early at his side of the Mercedes' garage. He talks with the mechanics, looks for the last details to fix before starting the practice. Compared to the beginning of the season, this weekend Mercedes has been more competitive. Max Verstappen’s Red Bull car had some technical issues during yesterday’s free practices that now the team has to fix. Leclerc’s past two free practice sessions went smoothly, indeed the Ferrari driver arrived first in the rank. Yesterday, the Ferrari mechanics had to work intensively on Sainz’s car after his incident.
Except for this, he was driving fast and was doing a great performance, so today he has a new chance to demonstrate his ability. The weather condition is good. The air temperature is 33 degrees and the track temperature is 50 degrees. However, there is more wind than yesterday. It is a difficult track and if you go outside the trajectory, there is no grip as you were driving on the wet track. There is no grip because of the asphalt. The tyres overuse it but there are some patches because they have asphalted again. The green light turns on and the last session of free practices starts. Verstappen starts his lap with the medium tyres: today he uses one of three sets of medium tyres available. In the first sector, he scores 31.547, in the second 1'07"210, and closes in 1'34"037. We are far from yesterday’s times. Maybe he will do a simulation after that because he lost yesterday’s afternoon qualifying.
Leclerc overtakes Verstappen in 1'32"250 with soft tyres. His teammate Sainz takes the third position with +2.132, followed by Checo Perez (+3.282). Pierre Gasly gets on track with hard tyres. He was tenth and scores +1.185 from Verstappen, +1.602 in the second sector, finishing in 1'35"720 and taking the fourth position (+3.470), followed by Bottas (+3.652). Norris, with hard tyres, starts his lap but at the end of the third sector he raises his foot from the pedaland goes to the garage. It is Hamilton’s turn. He scores in the first sector +5.925 from Leclerc but he decides to raise his foot from the pedal as Norris. Sainz, Leclerc and Verstappen go back to the track. Leclerc closes his lap in 1.31.706 with -0.544, while Verstappen in 1'31"355 and leads the P3. Meanwhile, Sainz closes in seventh position (+3.027). Bottas climbs the rank in fifth position, at Hamilton’s back. Russel with medium tyres gains the third position in 1'32"335. Today, Russell uses the same wing as Hamilton, but with a completely different shape. They maintain the rear wing at a low-dynamic weight. Mick Schumacher with soft tyres at +1.751. His teammate Magnussen spins and provokes the yellow flag on the track for some moments. Sainz is completing a new lap in 1'32"657 at +1.302 from Verstappen. The red flag starts to wave because Ocon crashed into the same wall Sainz crashed yesterday in Turn 14: he had the same accident of the Ferrari driver.
He entered the third gear, but the gear is too short, and then he went to the fourth. It is normal to lose the car; when you put on a higher gear and you are at low revs, hold it for even ten meters and then immediately pass on the brake. Ocon leaves the track in the medical car. The stewards have to clean the track before the drivers can come back. The drivers come back to the circuit at 1:27 p.m., at 33.00 minutes to the end of P3. The track is going to be quite busy. Magnussen starts his lap: in the first sector, he scores +0.135 from Verstappen (30.449), in the second, +0.771 and in the third 1'32"496 +.1.140, so takes the third position (+0.540). Albon starts his first real lap he scores +1.027 in the first sector, 1.527 in the second and closes his lap in 1.33.587 in eleventh position with soft tyres. Gasly tries again. He scores in the second sector +1.459 from Verstappen’s 2.880 (1'05"395), in the third +4.392 and closes in 1'35"747 in the twelfth position. Bottas and Vettel are back to track. Bottas scores a purple first sector compared to Verstappen’s time, his personal best, +0.155 in the second sector and +0.530 in the third and takes the third position. Vettel does a good performance and steals the position from Gasly with 1'33"631. Meanwhile, Schumacher speaks with his team radio and says:
"I just want to tell you that we have a plastic bag or something which was moving around my left air intake".
Therefore, he gets back to the garage and the mechanics start to dismantle the front tyres. Latifi starts his lap: at an apex of 204 km/h, he scores +1.495 in the first sector, +2.834 in the second and +3.562 in the third and takes the 19th position. Alonso climbs the rank and takes the fifth position in 1'32"177. Leclerc is driving into the circuit but seems not to start a real lap as Russell. Stroll closes his lap and scores 1'32"949, going up to the twelfth position from the sixteenth. Leclerc starts his lap and gets a purple in the first sector, -0.601 in the second, and -0.374 overthrowing Verstappen with 1'30"581. Now the Red bull drive is at +0.374. Russell gets on the track and scores +30.406 lap when his teammate Hamilton climbs the rank and takes the fourth position (+0.946). Russell scores +0.916 in s2 (35.304), and closes his lap, taking Hamilton’s position at +0.943 (26.214) in 1'31"924. Gasly tries again and takes the fourth (+0.920). Leclerc is out on the lap again and scores a new purple in the first sector, in the second +0129 compared to his previous 1'04"794, and finishes in 1'30"981. Hamilton finishes his lap, closes in 1'31"890 (+0.909 from Leclerc) and makes his best lap. Checo and Verstappen on the soft compound are out for their lap: Checo scores +0.045 in the second sector and closes in -0.282 taking the first position, followed by Leclerc Verstappen, Bottas, and Hamilton. Verstappen scores -0.098 in the first sector from Leclerc, which is the fastest first sector, -0.203 from Perez, and -0.050 and takes the first position (1'30"649) at 10 minutes to the end of this P3.
Ricciardo starts his lap, followed by Norris: Daniel scores +0.376 from Verstappen in the first sector, while Norris is quicker than Ricciardo in the first sector. In the second, Ricciardo scores +0.782 while Norris +0.575. While the McLaren drivers are driving through the third sector, Albon climbs the rank and takes the fourth position (+1.107). However, it lasts a few instances as Ricciardo closes his lap in +1.079, taking the fourth position from Albon (1'31"728). Norris +1.207 takes the sixth position in 1.31.856, so this time Ricciardo is quicker than Norris in this practice is. Seven minutes to the end, Gasly is out of the car watching at the screen in the garage. This is because after he finished his lap, he sayd to his team: "Yeah, the car’s bouncing everywhere like a kangaroo". The mechanics start to work on his car to make the last changes before the qualifying. Alonso finishes his lap at 1'31"401 in fourth position. However, Vettel just goes up to fourth position (1'31"049), making Alonso slip to fifth. Sainz closes his lap in 1'31"258, taking the fifth position. He is still slower than Vettel who is on new tyres. Perez becomes quicker in the first sector than anybody and closes in 1'30"304 taking the lead. With three minutes to go, Verstappen starts his lap: he scores -0.080 from Perez’s 30.110, in the chicane in turn 15 he passes on the curbs, loses the soil effect and the control of his car. Luckily, he do not have damage so is able to go back to the garage.
Leclerc starts his lap with one minute to go. He scores a purple first sector, -0.031 compared to Perez in the second, activates the DRS, goes to around 320 km/h on the straight, and finishes in +0.194 taking the second position (1'30"498). Sainz is also finishing and scores +0.492 in the second compared to Perez, and closing in 1'31"172 in sixth position. Schumacher and Magnussen are the last drivers to close this FP3. Impressively Mick takes the sixth position (+0.746), from the 13th, while his teammate is in eighth position (1'31"227) from the 12th. The FP3 ends. All the drivers continue with the soft tyres. Checo is at the first position (1'30"304), followed by Leclerc (+.0.194), Verstappen (+0.345) and Alonso (+0.732). At +0.745, Vettel is in fifth, with his young friend Mick at his back (+0.746). Sainz is seventh (+0.868), followed by the Finnish Magnussen (+0.923). Albon had a great performance and took the 9th position (+1.197). Norris is tenth (+1.290) and Tsunoda is at his back (+1.355). At +1.362, Stroll is twelfth, followed by Daniel Ricciardo (+1.424), and Bottas (+1.581). Hamilton slipped to 15th position (+1.586), followed by Gasly (+1.597), Russell (+1.620), Zhou (+1.747) and Latifi (+2.072). While Ocon could not come back to the track to score a time.
At 4:00 p.m. the qualifying starts and the teams cannot make changes to the cars. The Q1 starts and everybody has 18 minutes to get through this first session. All the drivers are on soft tyres. Magnussen and Schumacher are the first to get into the track. Magnussen scores +31.565 in the first sector, while his teammate is quicker; Magnussen scores 1'07"058, while Mick 1'10"094 and, in the last sector, they finish respectively in 1'33"148 and in 1'39"371. Albon approaches the line, finishes in 1'32"495, and takes the first position. Vettel closes in 1'32"212 while Tsunoda is quicker than his teammate, closes in 1'31"944 and takes the lead. However, it does not last long because Stroll finishes his first lap in 1.31.789. Indeed, the Aston Martin driver closes his first sector in 30.920, the second in 35.123 and scores a purple in the last one in 25.746. Gasly closes in 1'33"831 taking the seventh position, while Latifi finishes in 1'32"824 in fifth position. The two Ferrari drivers have started their laps: Sainz takes the lead of the Q1 temporarily with 1'30"858. Norris takes the second position (1'31"484) but Leclerc managed to steal it with 1'31"349. Max Verstappen, Perez and Russell start contemporarily their first lap.
Max scores +0.049 from Sainz (30.237), -0.546 (1'05"160), -0.623 and takes the first position (1'30"235), while his teammate closes the second sector in -0.293 compared to Sainz’s time, in the third +0.543 compared to Verstappen and takes the second position in 1'30"778. Russell scores +0.092 in the first sector and 11.713 in the second, compared to Gasly’s 1.57.849, he activates the DRS on the straight and finishes in 1'30"807 taking the third position. Hamilton starts his first lap at 11.30 minutes to the end of Q1. With an apex speed of 221 km/h, he scores +0.282 in the first sector compared to Verstappen’s time, 1.171 in the second, and +1.315 taking the tenth position in 1.31.550. Alonso and Zhou approach the finish line: Alonso takes the seventh position (1'31"365), while the Alpha Romeo driver, who did an amazing performance, closes in fifth (1'31"020). Ten minutes to the end of Q1. Carlos Sainz, Leclerc and Stroll start their laps. Sainz scores -0.478 compared to Verstappen’s first sector, -0.222 in the second, and finishes in 1'30"079 taking the lead temporarily. Leclerc is quicker than Verstappen: compared to Verstappen’s times, he scores -0.575 in the first sector, -0.607 in the second, -0.605 in the third and overthrows his teammate. Stroll records +0.100 in the first sector, +0.398 in the second, and +1.243 in the last sector, taking the fifth position (1'30"717). Verstappen tries again and finishes with +0.362’s gap from Leclerc in second position.
Bottas takes the ninth (1'30"845). Perez finishes in 1'30"246 in fourth position, ahead of Ricciardo (+1.09). Alonso crosses the finish line and takes the eleventh position. Russell maintains the eighth position (+1.333), ahead of Bottas. Five minutes to go and Hamilton, Gasly, Latifi, Albon and Ocon are in the elimination zone. Albon tries again and finishes in 1.31.266 in 14th position, putting Magnussen at risk. Gasly and Tsunoda are out for their last laps trying to get through Q2. With 1'30"779, Gasly climbs into the ninth, while his teammate into the fifth. Russell and Magnussen finish the last sector. Russell takes the sixth position (1'30"490) ahead of Ricciardo. Magnussen tries to save from the elimination zone and takes the 13th position (1'30"975). Latifi tries to get his William up but remains 19th (1'31"647). Two minutes to go and several drivers are really trying to push until the end. Schumacher climbs to the eighth position (1'30"645). Hamilton tries again: he scores -0.149 compared to Alonso’s 30.106, who is the first driver eliminated at 15th position. Hamilton drives aggressively into the second sector as he almost touches the wall in the last corner and scores -0.454 compared to Alonso’s 1'05"001, and closes with +0.914, taking the fifth position at 50 seconds to the end of Q1, at Perez’s back.
Zhou and Albon try to save from the drop zone. Zhou approaches the last turns in the third sector but it seems there is traffic getting in his way. Therefore, he raises his foot and remains in 17th position. "There were so many cars which blocked me in the last sector. We need to report this. It’s **** dangerous on my flying lap" says Zhou to his team radio. Albon manages to finish his lap but he does not improve his times and remains in the 18th position, although he has made a very impressive lap. Norris crosses the finish line and remains 11th, while Stroll climbs into the sixth position (+0.967). Alonso manages to save from the drop zone; he climbs the rank from sixteenth to sixth position in 1.30.407 and puts Vettel into the elimination zone. However, the Aston Martin driver manages to take the twelfth (1.30.677. The time stops and the drivers eliminated are Magnussen, Zhou (+0.045), Albon (+0.291), Latifi (+0.672) and Ocon with no time. The first driver to qualify is Leclerc (1.29.474), followed by Verstappen (+0.362). Perez consolidates the third position (+0.581) and at his back, there is Sainz (+0.605), Hamilton (+0.914), Alonso (+0.933) and Stroll (+0.967). Tsunoda manages to take the eighth position (+1.011), followed by Russell (+1.026), and Ricciardo, who slips into the tenth position (+1.109). Schumacher is eleventh (+1.171), followed by his friend Vettel (+1.203), Norris (+1.287) and Gasly, the last driver to qualify for Q2 (+1.305). It is the first time Zhou is out from Q2 because he has been in Q2 every time this year:
"It’s frustrating. We could only do one push lap at the end, when the track was improving: we were out of phase and when I got to turn 17 on my final lap, there was a whole group of cars stopped in front of me, so I had to give up on my lap. Otherwise, I think I could have been into Q2 today as well. Tomorrow will be a challenge, overtaking won’t be the easiest but it’s a track where it’s easy to make mistakes, so we need to be ready for any opportunity. We’ll try to move as far forward as possible, we have a good car and we will do our best".
Nicholas Latifi is disappointed with his result but he recognises that there was a big gap this weekend, so just being able to take part in qualifying is good for him:
“There’s been quite a big gap all weekend, and I’ve been struggling to get the feeling that I needed, so I think we’ve made the right changes from FP1 onwards to get as good a feeling as we felt. It’s still not perfect and I think there was still some time to gain but with the differences in the cars right now, and the faster parts on Alex’s car, I was satisfied to end up where I ended up".
Ocon apologises with his team for today’s crash that prevented him from taking part in the battle of the position in the grade:
"The whole team has been working so hard to have the car in a good place, so it’s disappointing not to be able to see the true potential in Qualifying. It was a big hit, so I was a bit shaken but thankfully I’m fine. We’ll have to look into what can be done to make the barriers safer as Carlos was also quite shaken up after an almost identical crash yesterday. As always, safety has to be the priority. For now, we’ll focus on getting the car back up and running and debriefing the day before going out there tomorrow with nothing to lose and everything to gain".
Explains Kevin Magnussen, that he experiences some issues with the radio, so was not able to communicate with his team:
"It’s going to be a crazy race tomorrow and hopefully we can fight back. We only did one long run in Q1 instead of two short ones. Anyway, points are tomorrow, and we’ll see what we can do with strategy, we’ve got good pace and I’m still optimistic".
The green light is on and the Q2 starts. Fifteen minutes to qualify for Q3. Charles Leclerc is out on the track, while Schumacher starts his first lap: he records 30.044 in the first sector, 1'04"576 in the second, and finishes in 1'30"423 in the third position. Leclerc and Sainz start their lap. Sainz gains a purple first sector, drives in 1'03"991 in the second, closes his lap in 1.29.729, and places himself at the top of the Q2. Sainz is going quicker than Leclerc but just a few tens of seconds. Leclerc scores 1'04"075 in the first sector, 1'04"075 in the second, gaining a purple, and finishes in 1'29"754 taking the second position. Bottas finishes his first lap in 1.30.605 and takes the fourth position, interestingly slower than Mick Schumacher. Meanwhile, Verstappen overthrows Sainz with 1'29"202 and his teammate takes the second position (+0.527). George Russel’s car is still at the garage at ten minutes to the end of Q2. Norris and Hamilton are both on the track. Norris, with an interesting helmet with the colour of a basketball, closes in 1'30"289 in the fifth position. Lewis finishes his first lap a little behind Norris coming down the same straight into the final sequence of corners. He manages to steal Norris' fifth position with 1'29"797 and his pace seems to be not far off the Ferraris.
The Red Bulls have gained a big advantage in terms of time. In particular, Max is 4/10 of a second ahead of Perez, Carlos Sainz is in third and Leclerc is back into the pit lane. Ricciardo takes the ninth position in 1'31"129. The two Alpha Tauri approach the finish line. Tsunoda takes the sixth position (1'30"280). However, Gasly steals from him with 1'30"128. Stroll takes the ninth position in 1'30"363. Those cars that have done a time find themselves being knocked down almost to the point of being knocked out of the top 10. Both Ferraris are on used tyres: this is why the Ferrari is a little bit slower than the Red Bull, which use fresh sets of soft tyres. Vettel, Alonso and Bottas are out on the track. Vettel finishes in twelfth position (1'30"610). With 1'30"262, Alonso takes the seventh position while Bottas closes in 1'30"237 and takes the Alpha Romeo up into the seventh position. Russell starts his first lap at 7 minutes to go. He is onto a flying lap but commits a mistake in Turn 5: he manages to not lose the momentum that he was building up, so makes a big correction on the steering wheel in the middle of a fast corner but he has backed right off. Bouncing, says Russell, who finishes in the 15th position. Leclerc is setting his personal best. He scores 29.504, +0.234 than Verstappen, 34.190 (-0.235) in the second, and finishes in 1'29"130, taking the first position.
Five minutes to the end: at the turn 15 in the second sector, Yuki Tsunoda says to his team radio: "I touched the wall a little bit". Leclerc is at the lead, followed by the two Red Bulls. Sainz is fourth, Hamilton is fifth, Gasly is sixth, followed by Bottas, Alonso Tsunoda and Norris. Currently, Stroll (+0.074), Schumacher, who is out for a new lap, Vettel (+0.321), Ricciardo (+0.840) and Russell (+20.169) are in the drop line. Russell tries again and scores -0.009 compared to Norris’ time, +0.005 in the second, he activates the DRS in the straight and scores -0.116, climbing to the seventh position with 1'30"173. Schumacher completes his lap but does not improve his performance and remains in 13th position (+0.143). Hamilton, who is currently running into the fifth position, tries a new best at 3 minutes to go. He does not improve his time and remains in fifth position with 1'29"993. Two minutes to go and McLarens, both Aston Martin and the Haas are still in the game within the elimination zone. Vettel and Stroll try again. Vettel scores +0.158 in the first sector, +0.107, and -0.066 and manages to save temporarily from elimination in the eighth position. His teammate takes the sixth position putting Bottas, Alonso and Tsunoda in the elimination zone. However, Bottas is completing his lap but climbs up to the fifth position, making Vettel slip again into the tenth position.
Schumacher does not make it and remains 14th. Norris climbs to the third position with 1'29"634. Tsunoda saves himself in ninth position and puts Gasly within the elimination zone. Alonso does no succeed in qualifying for Q3 and takes the 11th position with 1'30"160. Ricciardo does not make to qualify for Q3 and remains in 14th with 1'30"310. Q2 stops and Leclerc is first with 1'29"130, followed by Verstappen (+0.072), Norris (0.504), Perez (+0.543), and Sainz (+0.599). Bottas had a great performance and takes the sixth position (+0.621), followed by his ex-teammate Hamilton (+0.667). Stroll manages to save from the elimination and takes the eighth position (+0.866). The two Alpha Tauris qualify for Q3. The drivers eliminated are Alonso in the eleventh position (+0.032), Russell, who was the fastest in Friday’s practice (+0,045). Vettel is thirteenth (+0.045), followed by Ricciardo (+0.182) and Schumacher (+0.295). The FIA race control reviewed an alleged impeding incident involving Sainz and Alonso that occurred in turn 11 but decides that no further investigation is needed. It is the first time for Stroll to qualify for Q3 this season. Fernando Alonso is disappointed with today’s results and the fact that the car was behaving well and explains that he had some issues because of traffic that made him lose precious time:
"In Q2 I encountered traffic on my final lap with Carlos [Sainz] in Turn 11, and by Turn 16, I’d lost about five tenths of a second, so my lap was ruined. We had fitted a used set for the first run in Q2 and saved the new tyres for this second attempt. However, this loss of time made it impossible to progress to Q3, which is again unfortunate for us. I think we could have been fifth or sixth today, but we’re not. Let’s see tomorrow, as that is when the points are available this weekend".
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal, is of the same mind because he recognises that today’s the car was having a good pace:
"We were not able to truly show. The result is not an accurate reflection of our actual performance as Fernando should really be inside the top ten, at the very least, with his lap in Q2 absolutely compromised by traffic".
On the alleged impeding incident between Alonso and Sainz, he says:
"I’m not sure what Carlos [Sainz] was doing but Fernando was on a fast lap, while he was on track driving slowly and, ultimately, this cost Fernando time. It was unfortunate for Esteban to crash in Practice, especially in a place where there’s a solid barrier. It was a hard hit, and the chassis was irreparable with not enough time between the sessions to make the required chassis change. While today we feel frustrated, tomorrow is a new day, and we will fight again".
George Russell says:
"The car was bouncing a lot more today and I just couldn't attack any of the corners as a result. It's a shame because we showed good potential yesterday but it massively went away from us today. We thought we went pretty conservative with set-up in qualifying to avoid the porpoising we experienced in FP3 but it seemed just as bad. The bouncing was going through all the corners, particularly turns 4 and 5, and you just couldn't attack into the braking zone. When you get the car in the window, it's fast and yesterday we looked to be fighting for pole but today is our worst qualifying of the year so it's difficult to make sense of".
Vettel is disappointed with today’s result because the car had more pace, as demonstrated by Stroll’s result:
"I think we had more pace in the car today so I am disappointed to exit qualifying in Q2. I had a small wobble in the final sector during my final attempt which, looking at the timings, cost me a place in Q3. The car seems to be performing well here, but tomorrow is when it counts, and I hope we can be up there scoring some points".
Daniel Ricciardo explains that the Q1 starts good and he felt they were quick but the car started to unravel in Q2:
"The first run we lost a lot of time through the second sector, so there were a couple of things which we were looking to address for the second run. But then we had an issue in the garage starting the car which delayed us getting out at the right time. This compromised the out-lap, and then it was all just too compromised from there. It was unfortunate and cost us Q3, and that was that. We’ll hopefully get a bit better run tomorrow with a bit more fortune going our way and keep it going in a good way. Today, it was a bit unfortunate".
Mick Schumacher hoped to get into Q3:
"I just think we weren’t there in terms of pace. Still, I’m happy overall as we made the right calls at the right time, we just didn’t manage to improve on the new tires. The track seems to be quite difficult and challenging in many ways so mistakes will happen, but as long as they don’t happen to us, that’s good".
Says Guenther Steiner, Team Principal of the Haas F1 Team:
“After a good FP3 today, we didn’t turn that into a good qualifying - we ended up P15 and P16 for various reasons. For Kevin, his radio didn’t work, so we had an issue there because we had a plan in place but we couldn’t execute it because we couldn’t talk to him. With Mick, we got into Q2 but we didn’t put a lap together. Tomorrow, we start 15th and 16th and hopefully we can make something out of it because the car was not too bad on the long run on Friday. Let’s wait for tomorrow and see what we can do".
The greenlight goes on and the last part of this qualifying starts: it is the battle for the pole position. The drivers have 12 minutes to get the best position for tomorrow’s grade. Hamilton is on used tyres since he only has one set of new tyres to use tomorrow, while Ferrari and Red Bull have two sets. Leclerc and Sainz start their first lap. Leclerc drives in 29.509 within the first sector, 1'03"548 in the second, and he completes the lap in 1'29"055 setting the initial pace in this Q3. Sainz scores a purple with 29.489 in the first sector, some tens faster than his teammate, Sainz is also faster than Leclerc in the second sector with 1'03"532 and finishes in 1'29"071 in the second position. Verstappen starts his lap and in the first sector, he scores a very similar time to those of the Ferraris, while he tends to be faster in the second sector. Indeed, he scores 1'03"523 in the second sector and completes in 1'28"991 taking the lead of this Q3 temporarily. His teammate goes fourth with 1'29"498. Hamilton is out for his first lap and finishes in sixth (1'30"159). Tsunoda, who started ninth, climbs the rank of one position (1'30"598). His teammate Gasly scores 1'30"987 and takes the tenth position. It seems Gasly cannot find the same equilibrium that Tsunoda has.
Five minutes to the end. Ferrari is changing Leclerc’s tyres with a new set of soft one and it seems that the other drivers except Hamilton are doing the same. This means that every single driver in Q3 has 1 new set of soft tyres available. Time is running out and the drivers are back to the garage to change their tyres. It is likely that there would be a sort of mini race in the last two minutes since all the cars would probably go back to the track one more time. Two minutes to go and all the drivers are out on the track. Leclerc and Sainz start at one minute to the end. Sainz leaves some space before his teammate because he wants not to follow and to have his pace. Leclerc scores -0.105 compared to Verstappen’s 29.546, while Sainz -0.268 in the first sector. In the second sector, Leclerc scores -0.251 while Sainz -0.228. Finally, in the last sector, -0.195, overthrowing Verstappen with 1'28"796. Leclerc goes fastest in Miami than Verstappen. Sainz scores +0.190 taking the second position with 1'28"986. Miami’s Q3 stops. At the first four positions we have the two Ferraris, Leclerc in pole position followed by Sainz (+0.190). Verstappen is third (+0.195), at his back Checo (+0.702). Hamilton moved ahead in the fifth position (+0.829), followed by Bottas (+1.136), Norris (+1.744), Tsunoda (+1.802), Stroll (+1.880) and finally Gasly (+2.192).
"Today was a much, much better qualifying session than I've had the last three races so I am grateful for that - I'll take it".
Says a happy Lewis Hamilton. Despite this, he recognises there are still some issues:
"Unfortunately, I don't think we are moving forwards at the rate that we would like to, the gap is similar to the beginning of the year. We have just got to keep our heads down, keep focused, keep working, keep tunnelling and eventually we'll get there. It's difficult to say how we'll be on race pace, the car has generally not felt strong this weekend for me but today, once I was able to get the tyres into a better place, it was a little more promising".
Toto Wolff says that today’s results -P6 and P12- do not reflect what they expected after Friday:
"Although we are seeing glimpses of performance in some sessions, we are still not able to put it all together. We gained good reference points from Friday, we just need to continue to understand and develop but it's clear that we have a painful trajectory to follow at the moment".
Andrew Shovlin adds:
"For some reason we've lacked rear grip all day and it's made for a very unpredictable car for the drivers. We'd made some changes going into qualifying in an attempt to improve both balance and bouncing but it was still an issue and as soon as the rear started sliding, we'd experience overheating. We now need to make the most of our start positions of sixth and twelfth. We've got very little long-run data from yesterday due to the red flags but that's the same for all teams. If it's as hot as it was today, then degradation and overheating will be significant. That can create opportunities in the strategy but ultimately the big factors will be race pace and whether it's possible to overtake".
Valtteri Bottas is pleased about today’s performance, especially after yesterday, and thanks to the team:
"They delivered when called to the task of rebuilding the car. Today we had a big job to do: we had a good FP3, we had a clear direction for our set-up and the car was really quick. It was down to me, then, to find a good rhythm and by Q3 I had definitely found it. I really enjoyed the last lap of Q3! Coming into the weekend, we saw some signs of what we could do so I am not surprised we’re up here, but of course I am pleased all things turned out well - it’s just a shame Zhou didn’t make it during Q1, when I nearly dropped out as well".
Bottas says that they have reached the best scenario today as they are behind Ferrari and Red Bull, although it is difficult to fight with them:
"But this is racing so you never know what is going to happen. We just need to focus on our race and, if there are opportunities, take them. Tomorrow will be a challenge, it will be hot for the car, the tyres and the driver - a hot and sweaty race. We have a good race car so we can fight to be in front of the midfield: a top five finish has to be our minimum target".
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal, is of the same mind:
"Having a car lining up fifth on the grid, just behind the two dominant forces of the championship, is always a brilliant result. Valtteri delivered a really good lap when it counted and he can be rightly proud of this effort, but this is a result for the whole team: for the crew that rebuilt a good car after yesterday’s crash, for the engineers that maximised the only practice session they had, and for all our colleagues back at base who gave us the tools to fight for a third-row start".
On Zhou, he expresses his disappointment on how it went for the driver:
"Zhou was forced to abandon his fastest lap as he ran into a group of nearly stationary cars at the end of his lap, and that meant he had to bow out in Q1. We will have a big job ahead of us tomorrow, but we are confident we can make up some ground, especially around here as the race will be unpredictable. As for Valtteri, we’ll need to deliver a good first lap and a clean race, and we’ll fancy our chances to come home with a strong result".
For Alex Albon:
"Today was frustrating and a little confusing. We were missing something in Qualifying and struggled to find the performance that we had in the earlier practice sessions. As we’ve seen already this season, the tyres are incredibly sensitive and, combined with the heat here, it’s making finding grip very tricky. We’ll have a look through the data tonight and come back stronger tomorrow for the race".
Dave Robson, Williams' Head of Vehicle Performance, says the week was an up and down since FP1 and tyres behave in heat was misleading:
"Which has led to some big swings in pace and balance. On both cars we struggled to get the tyres in a good window and hold them there for a complete lap. Alex’s best sectors were good enough to challenge the two cars ahead and if we had got everything perfect for one lap, then he could have challenged for Q2. Nicholas drove well today and built momentum over the two sessions and was able to push Alex very hard in Q1. Given that some of the better parts were only available for Alex this weekend, Nicholas’s pace was impressive, and this hopefully sets him up for a strong race tomorrow".
Lance Stroll is happy with today’s performance, as he was able to produce a good lap and qualify for the first time in Q3:
"But a part of me is disappointed that my lap [in Q3] did not come together in the final sector. But from P10 we should be in a good position to fight for points tomorrow. With a new race, there are always a lot of unknown factors at play and there are bound to be opportunities. I have to say, though, after so much excitement in the build-up to this race, I am totally ready to go racing".
Mike Krack, the Aston Martin’s Team Principal, says:
"It is great that Formula One is here in Miami, and we are pleased to have had a good qualifying session today. Lance drove a nice lap in Q2 to get through to Q3, but he was then unable to improve and will therefore start tomorrow’s race from P10. Following our double points finish at Imola, I think it is fair to say that we have made some progress with the issues affecting our car here in Miami. Seb also showed decent pace, but he made an error at the chicane on his fastest lap in Q2 and he was therefore unable to progress through to Q3. Nonetheless, we look forward to tomorrow and a long, hot race. We will be aiming to score points".
Pierre Gasly says that today is their best quali of the year:
"I didn’t feel great in the car this morning and struggled quite a bit, so we weren’t too sure where we would Qualify today, but when it matters we put it altogether and made it to P7. It’s really tight between the midfield, just a few tenths here and there, but we’re in a good starting position for tomorrow and that’s going to really count on this circuit. It’s a new track, which brings with it a lot of unknowns, we don’t have much data on degradation for our tyre strategy and even don’t know if there will be many opportunities to overtake, but I think it’ll be a fun race".
Yuki Tsunoda did not expect today’s positive result:
"I struggled a lot at the start of the weekend, so I think it’s been a good comeback today and we definitely maximised the performance of the car in Qualifying. Tomorrow is of course where it counts and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s going to be really hot, which will make things difficult, but we’ll look to attack during the race and aim to finish with the car in the points".
"It was a very tight Qualifying today, but both drivers put good sessions together and we were rewarded with both cars making it to Q3, securing good grid positions for tomorrow’s race".
Says Jody Egginton, Alpha Tauri’s Technical Director:
"The garage workload has been quite high today, but the mechanics have been fantastic in ensuring this has not reduced track time, so this result is also a good return for their hard work. The next challenge is to turn these strong starting positions into points, which is the focus from this point on. We are quite sure it’s going to be an interesting race and a close battle in the midfield".
Lando Norris is happy with the decent position the team reached because today’s car did not behave as they expected:
"I don’t feel like I got everything out of it, which made it a difficult session to drive, but I think today was tricky for everyone. I made a mistake on my final lap, which, by the looks of it, cost me a couple of positions. So, I’m not the happiest, but it could have been a lot worse".
Andreas Seidl recognises that today McLaren experiences a mixed qualify. On Lando, he says:
"We maximised what we had to finish P8".
On Daniel, he explains that there were some issues that caused:
"A delayed engine start for the final run of Q2. He was forced to do a very fast out-lap which compromised his final shot and didn’t allow him a chance of progressing into Q3, for which we can only apologise. The focus now switches to the race tomorrow. It’s going to be very long and very hot. This circuit is not straightforward: it offers opportunities and hazards in equal measure and we’re looking forward to an exciting, intriguing inaugural Miami Grand Prix".
On Ferrari’ side, Leclerc is of course satisfied with today’s result:
"It feels really good to come here and put everything together on such a difficult track. Although I was not very happy with turns 1-2-3, it was a good lap and I’m really glad to have secured pole. I feel at ease with the car. It feels great to drive and really makes you think of how to extract its full potential. Tomorrow will be a tight race and it is good to have Carlos by my side. The pace is there for both our cars and hopefully we can keep our positions until the end to bring home a strong result for our team".
Carlos Sainz is of the same mind:
"It was a strong comeback after yesterday and I managed to improve run after run, to finally fight for pole up until the very last corner. I had fun out there, pushing the car, and we are in a good position for tomorrow. This track has proven to be very tricky and starting from the front row will help for sure. We will do everything to maximise the potential for the race, as there are a lot of factors to take into account. Congrats to the entire team and to Charles for a well executed session".
Laurent Mekies, Ferrari’s Racing Director, says today’s results are:
"Important in terms of morale, for the team here at the track and for everyone working back in Maranello, after what happened in Imola".
Laurent explains that they were able to show the effectiveness of the Ferrari’s package thanks to the unique today’s qualifying conditions, which differ to those of the previous qualifying of this season, and to this unique track:
“Nevertheless, it’s clear we are in for a very close fight with our main rivals. Our drivers did a simply amazing job today. Charles produced yet another of his breathtaking laps, while Carlos came back from a difficult Friday, working hard and demonstrating real determination, which saw him get very close to his team-mate’s time so as to line up right behind him”.
Laurent recognizes that they still need tot do more work tonight as:
"tomorrow’s race could be the hottest of the season and we have seen how tricky this track and its surface can be, so it will be very important to prepare every last detail for the race, starting with how to manage the tyres. This evening, we will work with our colleagues back in Maranello to ensure we get everything out of the car. The start will be very important and we will be up against very tough opponents, who are capable of giving us a hard time in terms of top speed. I predict a great battle".
Max Verstappen is overall pleased with today’s results and they had some issues with the car and need to find a decent balance:
"To be that competitive in qualifying was a big surprise, this is not an easy track to learn. Of course, we want to be on pole but I think we’ve done a really good job considering where we were yesterday. It’s always going to be tricky and it’s hard to push to the limits when you don’t know the track overly well. I think we have a good chance tomorrow as we have a good top speed and the car is handling quite well so I’m looking forward to it. It’s quite slippery outside the racing line, it almost feels like gravel, maybe I need to call my dad and ask for some rally advice".
Sergio Perez says that today was not the ideal straightforward qualifying:
"We had a poor Q3 run one, which put us on the back foot a bit. My second lap was much better, but I just didn’t get the perfect sector two and that was the main problem for me. Only a couple of hundreds would have put me P2 so you will always be disappointed with such a gap because a little improvement and you are P2 rather than P4. There is a long race ahead of us tomorrow and anything can happen, my race pace looks good so beating the Ferraris is possible if we have a better strategy than them. It will be an interesting race tomorrow with the tyre choice and what happens there. Today wasn’t ideal but I am looking forward to a strong Sunday".
"It was all about those fine margins today” says Christian Horner:
"It was looking positive for us after the first run, but then a small mistake for Max at turn four and that was it for him, and then Checo’s first sector wasn’t good for him, so we start from the second row tomorrow".
On Ferrari’s team, he recognizes that they have made an amazing job while:
"Max has been on the back foot today, he’s down on laps on the other guys and still learning about the track so it’s a good recovery from him. We know both our cars have good straight-line speed and the DRS could be pretty powerful here tomorrow, and with all the support races the breaking zones should open up a bit, so there are a couple of places where we should be able to overtake. Strategy and pitstops will be crucial, as no one has really been able to do any long runs, it should be a fascinating contest tomorrow".
Finally, Mario Isola, the Motorsport Director explains teams’ today strategies:
"It was a tightly-fought qualifying session where we saw the grip recovery concept that we have built into the tyres come to the fore: namely, the ability of the tyres to complete a number of push laps before a cool-down period, and then be able to push again with all the grip recovered and no loss of performance".
He says that this strategy was evident in Ferrari’s team:
"Leclerc completed three runs in Q1 on the same set of tyres while Sainz completed four. They then did three runs each in Q2 and two runs in Q3: in some of the hottest track temperatures that we have seen all year".
On tomorrow, he says that it will not be so straightforward:
“But it looks as though a two-stopper will be the quickest way to go, with all three compounds potentially playing an important role".
On tomorrow’ strategy, he explains that the main problem is there is:
“No previous race data, every practice session so far has been interrupted by red flags, and the weather ranges between extremely hot and very humid, on a track surface that is still evolving. It’s likely to be a two-stopper tomorrow (with a one-stopper looking marginal) and what’s mainly going to influence that is the amount of tyre wear on race day. With several drivers having visited the wall already, not much run-off, and very little grip off-line, it also seems likely that we will see a safety car at some point. Drivers no longer have the obligation to start on the tyres with which they set their fastest Q2 time, so the most flexible option will be to begin on the medium and then go onto the hard, which leaves the possibility open for a final stint on the medium again, or even the soft tyre if the last stop is close enough to the end of the race”.
Sunday, May 8, 2022, is the day of the first Miami Grand Prix. Light rain begins an hour before the race, but more precipitation never arrived. Ferrari paints the front row red thanks to pole-sitter Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, while row two belongs to the Red Bulls, with Max Verstappen ahead of Sergio Perez. Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas shares row three with former Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton. Before the race, Aston Martin has troubles with fuel temperature, so both Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel starts from the pit lane, while Esteban Ocon is at the back for the crash in FP2. Four drivers, Stroll, Vettel, George Russell and Ocon, begin on hard compounds, while the other 16 start on mediums. At the start, Leclerc takes the lead, while Sainz loses out to Verstappen on the way to Turn 1, while Hamilton falls to eighth and Fernando Alonso jumps from eleventh to seventh, even if he makes a little contact with Hamilton during this move. Leclerc still leads the race, with Verstappen just over a second behind, and Hamilton, who complains about some damage after the contact with Alonso, manages to pass him and reaches the seventh position on the run up to Turn 11 on lap 3. On lap 6, he steals the sixth position from Gasly. Lap 8 is when Verstappen gets into DRS range, right on the tail of Leclerc, and at the start of lap 9 the reigning champion passes the Ferrari driver and takes the lead on the main straight. Leclerc tries to overtake him too, tailing the Red Bull during the following lap, but he does not manage to take the command again. Form here, Ferrari starts to suffer.
On lap 13 Leclerc has a detachment of 2.5 seconds from Verstappen, while Perez is really close to Sainz, trying to get the third position. At the same time, Russell passes Ricciardo, and Alonso pits: unfortunately his stop lasts over five seconds, and he emerges thirteenth. Lando Norris chooses to pit soon after and emerges twelfth, but falls to both Aston Martins on lap 19. Russell is now up to seventh, behind Hamilton. Back in the fight for the podium, Perez complains about a loss of power. The problem is caused by a sensor issue that the team is able to resolve quickly, so he comes back, even if has lost considerable time to Sainz ahead. Hamilton enters the pits on lap 23 and emerges seventh, just ahead of Ricciardo. Also Leclerc pits to pass to hards and takes 3.2 seconds, emerging in fourth position on lap 25. This causes Verstappen to pit at the end of the following lap and he emerges second ahead of team mate Perez, leaving Sainz in the lead until the Spanish driver stops for hard compounds, along with Perez, at the start of lap 27. Sainz’s stop lasts 5.4 seconds, while Perez makes ground with a 3.1-second stop to restart the fight for P3. On lap 41, Gasly goes wide at Turn 8, rejoins, and clashes with Norris, ripping the McLaren’s rear-right tyre off and sending him into a spin. A Virtual Safety Car is called, soon changed into a Safety Car. Russell takes this moment to pit for the first time, dropping from fifth to seventh, with Perez doing it for a second time along with others who hope to snatch positions.
Hamilton is asked if he wants to pit but decides to stay out and try to protect his position. The restart takes place on lap 47 and sees Verstappen lead Leclerc and Sainz (all on hards). Then there is medium-tyred Perez, Bottas, Hamilton and Russell in the top seven. Alonso, who now holds a five-second penalty for contact with Gasly, leads Schumacher and Ocon at the back of the top ten. Perez is right on Sainz’s tail, the Ferrari driver running wide on lap 48, giving the Mexican a run for the final podium place. The Red Bull driver makes his move on lap 52, locks up, and causes Sainz to go past for third position and completes the podium. Meanwhile, at the front, Leclerc closes the gap to within half a second but Verstappen stays at the command, trying to take his second consecutive victory of the season. Russell and Hamilton have their own duel on the restart. Medium tyres help Russell getting close to Hamilton on lap 49, and, with Bottas going wide at Turn 17, both Mercedes go past. Then, Russell passes Hamilton but is forced to give the position back, because he went out of track. He retakes the fifth position a few laps later. Bottas is now seventh, ahead of Ocon. The Frenchman started at the back but made up 12 places by lap 37, until eight position, ahead of team mate Alonso, because of the five-second penalty given to the Spanish man for making contact with Gasly.
A further five-second penalty drops Alonso to eleventh, while Alex Albon goes from tenth to ninth and Stroll to tenth from eleventh. Ricciardo pitted for hards on lap 30 and again for softs for the late Safety Car restart, but ends twlfth after a penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage. This is good for Stroll, who is now up into the point area. Yuki Tsunoda falls out of the top ten and finishes thirteenth, but then he is however promoted to twelfth after the post-race penalties for Alonso and Ricciardo. This also leaves Williams driver Latifi in fourteenth position. Despite the battle with Tsunoda to get into the top ten and then again with team mate Magnussen, Schumacher is classified fifteenth thanks to late contact with Vettel. Zhou Guanyu is the first of the five drivers who do not see the checquered flag, as Alfa Romeo pulls him into the pits with a mechanical issue on lap 7. Max Verstappen wins the first ever Miami Grand Prix, having taken the lead off Ferrari’s pole-sitter Charles Leclerc early in the race, and defended it until the end. Max Verstappen wins his third Grand Prix of the season, his second consecutive championship race and 23rd career victory, ahead of Leclerc and Sainz Jr. The Dutch driver's victory in Miami, Florida, adds to those in Palm Beach and Homestead during his first season driving a single-seater in the former Florida Winter Series in 2014. For Verstappen, it is the second consecutive victory in the United States of America after his success in the 2021 Grand Prix of the same name run in Austin, and he joins the top 10 all-time podium finishers in the history of the category, ahead of David Coulthard.
The World Champion had triumphed only once before by racing on a new circuit, during the 2021 Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort. The Red Bull driver triumphed starting from third position. It had been since the 2005 U.S. Grand Prix run in Indianapolis with Michael Schumacher's victory starting from fifth position that a driver had not triumphed in the United States of America by starting from the second row down. Leclerc gets his first podium finish in the United States of America, the 17th in his career, and marks his 16th consecutive race at the finish. Ferrari presents two cars on the podium for the third time in five races this season, an occurrence not seen in the last two championships. For the first time in his career, Lewis Hamilton, sixth, finishes outside the top four positions in a Grand Prix run in the United States of America. Alexander Albon scores points for Williams on the British team's 45th anniversary, debuting in the 1977 Spanish Grand Prix. Lando Norris ends a 15-race streak at the finish. Six times were cancelled by the stewards to drivers for exceeding the track limits, during the race. They saw their times cancelled by Fernando Alonso (twice, including once at Turn 6 and once at Turn 15), Sebastian Vettel at Turn 15, Kevin Magnussen at Turn 12, Pierre Gasly at Turn 5 and Nicholas Latifi at Turn 15. On lap 1 Verstappen immediately passed Sainz into Turn 1, and after Leclerc’s tyres started to fade he pounced, he also overtook him and stayed in the command with a lot of detachment from the others. The Safety Car put him under pressure, but despite several attempts from the Ferrari, Verstappen took the third victory of the season.
"It feels amazing to win in Miami, the whole atmosphere this weekend has been incredible and to win in the US is always a nice feeling. It was a physically tough race; I think I must have lost around 3kgs! We had a really good pace on the minimum tire, that for sure helped to make my race. Once we had the pitstop I was just managing my time to Charles, I think we were very closely matched on the hard tire. Then the safety car came out which made it more entertaining for the fans, I had to push hard today but we made it work. I'm super pleased for the Team, we didn't have a great start to the weekend so we've come far, a big thank you to everyone".
A sensor issue cost Perez time and power. Without this, he might have been fighting for second, but he hopes for a better future:
"It is a big disappointment today but at least we managed to finish with the points we have. We were putting the pressure on Carlos and then we had a problem with the power. It was caused by a sensor failure and meant we lost a lot of power, which limited our ability to attack. I was a second from Carlos and then the engine dropped and I lost around 30 seconds in two laps and then the issue affected me throughout the race. We had the pace to be up there on the podium and I pushed as much as I could in the position we were in. It was difficult to look after the tyres too, it was so hard in the corners and I was losing a lot of grip towards the end of the race. I went for it after the safety car restart but there was no grip at all and I just couldn't get past Carlos. We are working really hard on reliability and we will keep pushing as a Team, it is unfortunate, but I am pleased we managed to finish today. In Barcelona I want to be back battling at the top".
Christian Horner congratulates Max Verstappen, who kept focus and did not make mistakes. He is also sad for Perez:
"It was a real tactical race today and we threw everything we had at it, we were quite lucky that Ferrari didn't pit under the safety car, Max was under so much pressure from Charles Leclerc but he kept focus and didn't make any mistakes and was gradually able to break the DRS, which was very powerful today and manage the victory from there. Checo was really unlucky today, he had a sensor issue early on and lost about 30 horsepower, and he gave it a real go when we pitted him and gave him the tyre advantage and without that issue he may even have finished second. We've got some interesting races coming up, the car is running well, we have some development coming in the summer and we need to lose some weight, but we're pleased with what we've come away with this weekend".
Charles Leclerc mantained the command in the early part of the race, but came under pressure from Verstappen once DRS was enabled. From there, he stayed in second position. After the Safety Car, he tried to attack Verstappen more than once, but did not manage to retake the lead:
"All in all, we had a good weekend here in Miami, so of course I am disappointed to miss out on first place. While we had good pace on the Hard tyres, it was more tricky for us on the Mediums which our competitors were just faster on today, so we couldn’t close the gap in the first stint. I thought we’d have a shot at taking back the lead after the Safety Car, but it just wasn’t enough today. I thought the atmosphere was amazing this weekend and there was a really great show around the race and I look forward to coming back".
Sainz lost out to Verstappen at the start but after that was good at defending from Perez, who also was on fresh tyres:
"After a couple of eventful GPs, it’s good to be back on the podium and to have both cars up there for the team. In general, it was a solid race but also a very tough one. The neck is still not 100% and half way through the race it became a limitation. Defending from Checo who was on new Mediums after the restart was also very tough and the slightest mistake would have meant losing P3. I managed to fend him off well and the podium was the reward. I think I needed a race like this to reset a bit and build on it for the upcoming races. Up next is my home Grand Prix and we’ll make sure we get there in the very best. Miami has been a unique weekend. Thanks to all the fans out there for their support".
Mattia Binotto affirms that even if the car is competitive, the Red Bull was quicker. He is still happy for the points gained by the team:
"We can’t be completely happy with today’s race because, although the F1-75 was competitive, our rivals were a few tenths per lap quicker than us. If you consider how many points we are taking home from here, we can’t be too disappointed, given that we are leading both championships, but it’s clear we now need to respond. We are keen to get the job done and there are still a lot of races to go. I want to congratulate both our drivers for the way they raced today. After a splendid pole yesterday, Charles left nothing on the table in his efforts to win while, from qualifying onwards, Carlos made up for Friday’s setback and this afternoon, he produced a solid performance, especially in the way he fended off Perez in style in the closing stages. Finally, I want to thank the American fans for their enthusiastic welcome and my congratulations to F1 and the Grand Prix organisers for putting on an incredible show, both on and off the track".
As for Mercedes, it can be said that none of the two drivers had a good start. Russell pitted early and as a result he had fresher tyres when the Safety Car came in and was able to get past his team mate to keep his record of top five finishes. Despite this, he defined the Miami Grand Prix a “brutal race”, also because of the hot climate:
"It's mixed feelings to be honest because obviously based on where we were yesterday, today was a good result but if you'd told me after Friday we'd finish P5 and P6 and that far behind P1, I'd have been pretty disappointed. We have a fast race car in there, we just don't have the key to unlock this performance. And we don't really understand why that is so there's work to do. Towards the end of the race today, when you're battling with your teammate, you've got to show respect, a bit more room than normal. The move was a bit tricky, I went a bit wide, but it's so dirty offline around this circuit. Obviously it was clear I went off the track and had to do it all over again. I enjoyed it and I think there's good respect between us. But Lewis was unlucky today, when you are on 20 lap old Hard tyres there's not a lot you can do really. It was brutal race out there - so hot, sweating, my eyes were stinging, I had sweat pouring into my eyes, so I need to find a way to get around that".
Hamilton says that the hard tyre was probably the better race tyre on this track and he is happy about his team mate’s performance:
"We got good points as a team today, so we'll take them and move on. I was unfortunate with the safety car and I'm waiting for a change in fortune but until then, I'll just keep working as hard as I can. George did a great job in that first stint on the Hard tyre, in hindsight the Hard tyre was probably the better race tyre for today but George did well to recover from his position and we got fifth and sixth which is good points for the team. I was a bit of a sitting duck in our move but George did great, was very fair and on old tyres, there wasn't much I could do. Even running in our positions, it's still racing, it just changes your perspective. I thought the track was great, I don't think the chicane is ideal but that's the only weak point on this circuit".
Team Principal Toto Wolff is happy for the points gained in Miami and affirms that the team will look at all the data of this weekend to better understand the performance and take those learnings to Spain:
"We maximised our points today - with George's starting position, we could afford to roll the dice on a long stint on the Hard and it worked out for him with the safety car, while it was unfortunate for Lewis. We were third-quickest on the road, this is where we are, we don't sometimes show it in qualifying but in the races, we're generally better. We had a good Friday but didn't quite understand why that was. We will be looking at all the data we've generated this weekend, working through the sessions on Friday to better understand the strong performance, and take those learnings back to Europe".
Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin underlines the good job done by the drivers:
"We maximised the result that was possible today and both drivers did a good job. Lewis was unlucky with the safety car but both did well to get ahead of Valtteri. The car showed signs of promise on Friday on low and high fuel so it's disappointing to see that the gap to the front was no smaller today. However, there may be something to learn from that running so we'll pick through the data to see if we can see understand what may have changed. It was encouraging to see that pit stops and reliability were strong as good operations have helped us keep the points gap to the leaders to a minimum so far this season. However, we're under no illusion that we must close that lap time gap down in the next few weeks if we are to present any kind of challenge to Red Bull or Ferrari".
Bottas was running fifth before being overtaken by Hamilton. He lost out to Russell, who was benefitted from the Safety Car timing. Despite this, seventh is still a positive result as he continues to pick up points in every race until now:
"I am happy with our performance, it was a strong race although, in the end, we were penalised by the timing of the Safety Car. I was managing the gap over Lewis [Hamilton] and P5 would have been possible, but once the race was neutralised, the gap was gone and George [Russell] was on fresh tyres behind us, so keeping this place would have been difficult. I was trying to brake late to defend my position, overshot the braking point slightly and sadly the nature of the track here means that if you go off the line a little and into the dirt, you’re off and you hit the wall. I was lucky nothing broke on the car and I could continue. Still, we bring home some good points which will be super important for the championship, and we showed we can fight on a par with everyone in the midfield. It’s all very close and the way we keep developing will be important to stay ahead in this fight".
Zhou was the first to retire, but before that he was also called into the pits with a mechanical issue:
"It’s a shame to be forced to retire when we were making good inroads: I feel we had all it took to achieve a positive result today. We are still investigating what the issue was, all we know is that it was a water leak but we’ll need to identify the causes and address them. It’s frustrating, of course, but it’s part of racing. My short race wasn’t bad, I was three places up from where I started when I retired and I felt the car was really good. Now my focus is all on the next race: I want to turn things around and be where we deserve to be, but to do so we need to put everything together across the weekend".
Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur affirms that this race showed the progresses the team has made:
"It shows how much progress we have made this year that we’re actually a bit disappointed with P7 - which is a really good result in itself. We were really strong out there today and we ran most of the race comfortably in P5, just behind the two Red Bulls and Ferraris: the timing of the Safety Car really affected us, nullifying Valtteri’s advantage over the two Mercedeses. Still, bringing home six points is a positive result and another gain for our championship standings, but we know we can improve even more. It was disappointing to lose Zhou early in the race with a water leak, as we feel he would have also been in the battle for some points: we will need to address the issue that stopped him and make sure we come back stronger on this point, too. The direction we are headed, however, is clear and it’s positive. We know we can be competitive every weekend and we aim to keep fighting to achieve more success in the next rounds".
Ocon started in the back of the field after missing qualifying. He found himself in the top 10 when the Safety Car came out and was able to pick up points:
"What a race! A big thank you to the team for all the hard work overnight putting back together what was a pretty broken car after that big shunt in practice on Saturday. They are the real stars this weekend. For me, it feels great to come away with points after starting from the back of the grid and I’m definitely leaving happy after such a tough day yesterday. The car and the strategy were great, it was a well-managed race and we’re capping off an exhilarating first race weekend in Miami in style. Now we need to keep that momentum as we head back to Europe for the next round".
Alonso tagged Hamilton at the start, then made contact with Gasly, for which he was handed a time penalty. He crossed the line eighth, but the penalty dropped him to ninth. After the race, he had another time penalty for leaving the track, and this dropped him out of the points:
"I’m happy to be back in the points today. In the race I made some good moves at the start and gained some positions. We were a bit unlucky with the timing of the Safety Car and some others were quite fortunate. We were probably in the fight for seventh or eighth without it. I then made a mistake when I tried to overtake Pierre [Gasly], which was my fault and I apologise. Overall, I think our race pace seemed to be good. It was also very hot and humid, so it was quite challenging physically for us. We’ll take the points today as I think we deserved it".
Laurent Rossi is pretty satisfied with the race, with both cars coming back home with points. The team is looking forward to Barcelona :
"We’re satisfied with today’s race as it’s been a decent recovery effort to save our weekend. We come away from Miami by returning to the points with both cars, which was important after tasting disappointment in Imola. Credit to Esteban for driving a strong race to go from the back of the grid to eighth place. This would have not been possible without his car crew’s exceptional work in preparing a new chassis after yesterday’s incident. To score points is a just reward for everyone’s efforts. Fernando too drove a solid race, especially at the start to move himself into points scoring contention. In the end, with the five second time penalty, it’s ninth place, which we’ll certainly take after yesterday’s qualifying. Miami has proved to be an excellent event both on track and off it, so congratulations to everyone at the team for their hard work this weekend. We must build on our points haul and we now look forward to Barcelona where we return to more familiar grounds. We’re hungry to restart a points-scoring streak over the next string of races".
As for Williams, Albon made his way through the field without any contact, and came home in the points again:
"Today we found the pace that I knew we had all weekend. We had a tough Qualifying yesterday which meant we were slightly out of position with a well-performing car, so overtaking was possible and we made good progress. We had a little bit of fortune with some of the cars ahead of us getting caught up in incidents, but the important thing is that we were in a position to make the most of those opportunities when they came. The team did a great job today, especially with the strategy, and so leaving Miami with more points is really special".
Latifi was less fortunate. He started on the hard compound but pitted before the Safety Car, so was not able to benefit from it:
"It was a very difficult afternoon out there. On the one hand it is very positive for the team to score the point with Alex, especially after where we started from today, but on our side we had too many issues. It was difficult and we were having to manage some issues early on which were holding us back, including struggling with the tyres and lacking pace and we need to investigate those".
Head of Vehicle Performance Dave Robson, talks about the drivers’ performance and the team’s strategy, saying they recovered well after the qualifying session:
"It was a race of attrition and patience today and Alex managed the opportunity very well and showed good pace throughout the race, which allowed him to undercut Ricciardo. The Safety Car was unfortunately timed for us, but Alex kept his cool and was still able to beat both Aston Martins, but frustratingly lost out to Ocon. Nonetheless, he drove well and deserved his second point-scoring finish of the season. Nicholas had the more difficult strategy, starting on hard tyres and aiming to run long. The pace of that tyre at the start of the race was poor for all those that tried it and this set his strategy back. Once on the medium tyre his pace was good despite having to manage a higher than expected fuel consumption. He also managed the race well and finished a credible 14th place, ahead of both Haas cars. Our inaugural trip to Miami has been a rollercoaster of a weekend, but we recovered well after a disappointing qualifying session to push the pack hard today and finish in the top 10".
Ricciardo was going well for much of the race, running on the mediums. Then, he got caught in a DRS train and was penalised for gaining an advantage by going off track:
"It felt like an eventful race. There were some battles and also moments of fun but it felt like we were defending more than attacking. We were trying our best to hold on. I think in the Medium stint we were able to go long at the beginning, but I’m not sure if we were that quick. It felt like we were able to at least keep the tyre going. But then with the Hard I just struggled, really struggled to get that going. Towards the end of the race when everything gripped-up, we just couldn’t run with the quicker cars. So, battling hard, and thought I got close to the points there, but it just wasn’t quite enough today. We’ll keep at it. I think this circuit certainly played to a few of our weaknesses. Lots of long corners, lots of long straights, so we’ve got to work on that, and then hopefully Barcelona will suit us a bit more, so I’m looking forward to that".
Norris first ran in the points but then a slow pit stop dropped him down the order. He was attempting to pass Gasly towards the end of the race, but the French driver apparently did not see him so they made a contact which damaged Norris’ rear tyre:
"A tough day. Obviously, it didn’t end anywhere near like we wanted it to. I think the collision with Pierre was a bit of a racing incident. I guess I maybe could have left a bit more space, but so could he and we just ended up coming together. We luckily didn’t end up losing out too much. Maybe one or two points, but one or two points is always a nice thing to have. So a bit of a shame but it happens and we’ll make sure we bounce back and do better next time".
Andreas Seidl talks about the team’s disappointment. They expected to go to Miami for a good race, but the track and weather did not suit the car:
"It was a disappointing Sunday for the team. We expected it to be a challenging race, as the track and conditions really did not suit our car - but unfortunately, we lost any opportunity to fight for even minor points after Lando’s collision with Pierre Gasly. On Daniel’s side, from his starting position in the rear half of the grid, and with the pace in the car, it wasn’t possible to get back into the top ten - though he gave it everything he could. The result today does not reflect the huge effort put in by the entire team here at the track and back at the MTC, together with that of our colleagues at Mercedes HPP. My thanks to them all fighting it through in the Miami heat. Independent of our result, it’s been a sensational first Miami Grand Prix. It’s been a big race for us, with enthusiastic support from our many guests, sponsors, partners and fans. The huge crowd generated an incredible atmosphere - but now we head home to analyse, reset and look forward to a European double-header in Barcelona and Monaco. Our clear aim is to strike back at the first opportunity".
Also Aston Martin was an unlucky team in Miami. Things went wrong before the race started, because a fuel irregularity has meant that both cars started from the pits. On the hard tyre, they started well, running in the top 10 before getting a pit stop behind the Safety Car. From there, Vettel was tipped into a spin by Schumacher, this damaged the car and he was forced to retire:
"It is a shame for this weekend to end in the way that it did and we should have done better. We had a fuel temperature issue before the race which meant that we started from the pit lane. For the majority of the race I was stuck in traffic, it was quite difficult to overtake, and the DRS was not that effective. When the Safety Car was deployed, we moved into the top 10, but Mick [Schumacher] and I had contact, which cost both of us points".
Stroll had contact with the other Haas of Magnussen, who was trying to overtake, and this costed him the chance of points. But Alonso's post-race penalty lifted the Canadian to tenth position:
"Overall a frustrating afternoon. It was a shame to start from the pit lane but once the race was underway we showed some reasonable pace today. It was quite difficult to overtake off-line, but we made good decisions and put ourselves in a position to finish inside the top 10 by pitting under the Safety Car. I think points could have been on the table, but a bad restart and contact with Kevin [Magnussen] prevented that".
Team Principal Mike Krack is not satisfied of the race:
"Today was a frustrating day. First, we had a fuel temperature issue that delayed the release of our cars from the garage, resulting in both our drivers starting the race from the pit lane. They made good progress on Hard tyres early on, and we were able to bring them in for Mediums during the Safety Car deployment triggered by Norris’s lap-41 shunt. Sebastian was then running in 11 th place on new Mediums, just behind Ocon on older Softs and Schumacher on older Hards. On his fresh Mediums, Sebastian duly leveraged that tyre advantage to displace them both, and was then lying in ninth place, looking good for some valuable world championship points. Sadly, it all ended for Seb through no fault of his own, as a result of a coming-together with an over-ambitious Schumacher. Equally, in the closing stages, Lance fell foul of Magnussen, who earned a penalty for causing a collision, as a result of which Lance ended up 11 th . In summary, the 2022 Miami Grand Prix was a disappointing race for us, but it is a great addition to the Formula One calendar and we hope that the spectators here all had an enjoyable day".
Gasly had a good start, picking off Hamilton and running sixth. Then he dropped backwards, but was always looking on for points, until Alonso made contact with him. With this little damage he rann slowly, but then made contact with Norris who he did not see him trying to overtake:
"It’s a big shame today, the race was going well until the contact with Alonso, where we suffered damage on the car. Unfortunately, it was impossible to stay on track after that, as the car was too damaged, and then on the way back to the box Norris and I touched. There are some positives to take away from today still, we had a strong start and the pace of the car was quite good, but we’re obviously disappointed with today’s result".
Tsunoda dropped backwards on the medium compound tyre and was the first to pit:
"I’m really disappointed with today. On the first lap I struggled with pace and was overtaken by a few cars, then I wasn’t able to recover from there for the rest of the race. We were happy with the way that we’d built up our confidence in the car from FP1, so it’s frustrating to have performed so poorly today".
Technical Director Jody Egginton expresses his disappointment for the race. The team has a lot of work to do before going to Barcelona in order to understand the factors behind this performace:
"Today’s race result is disappointing after such a strong Qualifying. Pierre battled strongly in the midfield against the Alpines, but unfortunately was hit by Alonso during a passing manoeuvre, costing him to lose places to both the Alpine and Stroll. Soon after, he had contact with Norris which caused more damage to his car, meaning we had no choice but to retire him from the race. Yuki struggled in the first stint, so we gambled on an early stop but the pace and car balance in his second stint was also inconsistent, meaning it was difficult to make sufficient progress. We need to go through all the data to understand the reasons behind these issues. Yuki managed to show some better pace in his final stint on the soft tyre, but by this point we were running out of laps to move forward further, and he finished out of the points. We have a lot of work ahead of us before we arrive in Barcelona. We need to understand the various factors behind today’s performance, so we can move forward with our package and get back to scoring points".
Talking about Haas, it can be said that both drivers made great starts and were running on the fringes of the points. They battled amongst themselves too, keeping their passes clean. But at the end, Schumacher, while trying a move on Vettel, did wrong and punted him into a spin:
"The car was really good so I’m gutted that we didn’t get to stay in position - I think it was our best race so far this year. We’re all racers, we’re all trying, and it was always going to be tough to keep new tires behind us and it was very unfortunate to end the race in that way. We were on the road to getting points, but we’ll have to wait some more".
Magnussen, trying to get past Stroll, ran out of road to avoid a contact with the Aston, but damaged his front wing. Magnussen went back to the pits, while his team mate propped up the field:
"It was the hardest race I’ve ever done, it was unbelievably hot. I had to do that last stint with damage to the front wing but even with that damage we got ourselves into a position to fight for P10. We were catching Alonso and he had a time penalty, but it is what it is – we tried everything we could and didn’t get points, onto the next one".
Guenther Steiner says that, despite the pace in the car was there, but they were unlucky:
"Clearly not the day we wanted – especially this being one of our home events. The pace in the car was there and it was demonstrated by both drivers, but once again we got unlucky with some events on track. It’s disappointing to look like you were going to come away with points and then not – Mick’s incident with Sebastian took care of that unfortunately. We then had to retire Kevin’s car on the second to last lap with damage he’d sustained earlier while he was fighting to get back into the top 10. We learn lessons in races like this and we have to apply those lessons moving forward to better ourselves".
Motorsport Director Mario Isola comments on the team strategies:
"A strong performance from the tyres here, which meant that the race gravitated towards a one-stop strategy, whereas we had previously anticipated a two-stopper. This was also thanks to the fact that temperatures were notably cooler today compared to previous days. The teams were able to stretch their first stints, probably in the expectation of a safety car or other opportunity, but in the end that only came towards the end of the race, after nearly everybody had stopped. A few drivers tried to take advantage of that by changing tyres, with three drivers running all three compounds during the race. However, Verstappen and Leclerc fought hard for the race win and fastest lap even on used hard tyres in the closing stages. It was an exciting finish to an eagerly-anticipated grand prix: we hope that all the podium finishers enjoyed their special Pirelli American Football helmets".
The 2022 World Championship will continue in Catalunya with the Spanish Grand Prix, which will take place on May 20-22. Now, Red Bull is only six points behind Ferrari, while Verstappen is 19 points behind Leclerc, so i twill be an interesting battle to look at. In Spain, teams will bring new upgrades, and the values on the field may change. We will see how this championship, which is becoming more and more balanced with each race, can continue.