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Max opens race weekend Miami in P3

Published on 06 May 2022 by Kees-Jan Koster

Max Verstappen finished the first free practice session ahead of the Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix in third position. Charles Leclerc set the fastest time in his Ferrari. On the Miami International Autodrome, situated in the Hard Rock Stadium-complex in Miami Gardens, took George Russell in his Mercedes P2. Max’ teammate at oracle Red Bull Racing, Sergio Perez and AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly completed the top five.

At the start of FP1 the outside temperature is 33 degrees, and the track temperature is no less then 52 degrees. There is a 40% chance of rain during the session. When the lights go green it is busy on track straight away. Within a couple of minutes nineteen drivers are out on track, only Mick Schumacher is then still inside. Nicolas Latifi is the first driver on track, and Lance Stroll sets the first time.

The first time set by Max is immediately the fastest time, more than a second ahead of the Ferrari of Leclerc. The world champion set his time on the softs, but Yuki Tsunoda and Leclerc set faster times soon after. Not much later scrapes Max the wall when exiting turn thirteen, but it does not stop him from retaking P1. This time more than a second ahead of Perez in P2.

Max returns to the pits and that gives the Ferrari drivers the chance to go ahead on the time sheet. He comes back out on track on the same soft tyres, but is now in P4 behind Leclerc, Russell and Carlos Sainz.

Mercedes looks better than in previous races, Russell and Lewis Hamilton are in P4 and P6. Meanwhile Max is called back to the pits as his car is overheating. “How can I get to know this track like this,” asks Max on the radio.

Tsunoda is asked how they can help him improve the balance: “Just let me driver, I do not know,” is the response of the Japanese driver. Soon after he scrapes the wall but still improves his time. Valtteri Bottas causes a red flag for a short time when he loses the rear of his car in turn seven, ending backwards into the wall. The clock continues to run so precious time is lost.

With a little over fifteen minutes to go the track is cleared and after a couple of minutes comes Max back out on track. While Sainz goes off track in turn one, starts Max another quick lap. Setting a time over a second faster than Sainz in P2 shows he is getting to know the track well. Alex Albon takes P2 soon after.

Leclerc has fallen back into P8 and must abort another quick lap. That is the third time this happens while he is on soft tyres. With less than five minutes to go gets Max out of the car, his sessions is over. The other drivers, except for Bottas, are still on track.

Leclerc and Russell set faster times in the last couple of minutes, so Verstappen ends in P3.

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Results first free practice Miami:

1Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:31.098 25
2George RussellRUSMercedes1:31.169+0.071s22
3Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing RBPT1:31.277+0.179s14
4Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing RBPT1:31.301+0.203s21
5Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri RBPT1:31.498+0.400s26
6Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:31.528+0.430s24
7Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes1:31.854+0.756s19
8Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:31.956+0.858s22
9Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:32.559+1.461s19
10Daniel RicciardoRICMcLaren Mercedes1:32.592+1.494s20
11Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:32.615+1.517s25
12Fernando AlonsoALOAlpine Renault1:32.884+1.786s30
13Zhou GuanyuZHOAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:33.020+1.922s22
14Sebastian VettelVETAston Martin Mercedes1:33.024+1.926s23
15Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:33.417+2.319s26
16Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:33.576+2.478s22
17Valtteri BottasBOTAlfa Romeo Ferrari1:33.773+2.675s13
18Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri RBPT1:34.043+2.945s26
19Mick SchumacherMSCHaas Ferrari1:34.945+3.847s19
20Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes1:35.637+4.539s26