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Max wins sprint race Miami: 'I had to squeeze Leclerc a bit'

Published on 04 May 2024 by Kees-Jan Koster

Max Verstappen won the second sprint race of the season in Miami, after starting from pole position. Charles Leclerc finished second in his Ferrari, ahead of Max’ teammate at Oracle Red Bull Racing, Sergio Perez, in P3. Daniel Ricciardo in his RB and the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz completed the top five.

“My engagement was not very good at the start, so I had to squeeze Leclerc a bit”, says Max after the sprint race in Miami. “Luckily everything worked out in turn one. Then we had the safety car to calm things down a little bit, but after that we could increase the gap a bit, but it was not entirely perfect.”

Looking ahead to the rest of the race weekend, Max says: “I hope we can improve the car a bit for later in qualifying and the race tomorrow. The win is good, I am happy with that.”

At the start of the nineteen-lap sprint race it is with 27 degrees nice and warm, most of the field are on medium tyres. Only Yuki Tsunoda and Logan Sargeant gamble on soft tyres. When the lights go out, Max gets away well on his used tyres and he stays in P1. Lando Norris spins off track and Ricciardo overtakes Perez for P3. Norris cannot continue and causes a safety car.

The cause of the crash of Norris was Lewis Hamilton, who was too ambitious in trying to overtake the two Aston Martins on the inside of turn one. Lance Stroll sustained too much damage and had to retire his car. At the start of lap four the race is resumed.

Max gets away well and is immediately a couple of car lengths ahead of Leclerc in P2. The reigning world champion reports over the radio that he has no grip. It does not take long for Perez to overtake Ricciardo, who immediately has Carlos Sainz closing in on him. In the lead, Max is not increasing the gap to Leclerc very much.

Meanwhile, the incident with Norris is investigated by the stewards. However, it is not about him spinning out in turn one, but that he crossed the track on foot. Hamilton was fined last year for the same offence. Behind Perez a DRS-train is formed, Ricciardo is close behind the Mexican and is followed closely by Sainz, Oscar Piastri and Nico Hülkenberg.

Max is two seconds ahead halfway through the race, but the Dutchman still is not happy with his rear grip: “No grip, like in qualifying.” Further to the back, Kevin Magnusen is given a ten second time penalty for exiting the track and gaining an advantage on Hamilton.

A couple of laps later, Tsunoda joins the fight. When Hamilton and Magnussen go wide in turn eleven, Tsunoda seizes the opportunity and overtakes them both. Meanwhile, several incidents between Magnussen and Hamilton are reported by the stewards, the Dane is given another ten second time penalty.

Max is increasing his lead to Leclerc with a couple of tenths per lap. He wins the race, with Leclerc in P2 and Perez in P3. Ricciardo finishes in fourth position, ahead of the Ferrari of Sainz. Tsunoda get the final point, because Hamilton is given a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane.

Contest GP Miami: win a by Max Verstappen signed Racing cap!

Results sprint race Miami:

1Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT1931:31.3838
2Charles LeclercLECFerrari19+3.371s7
3Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT19+5.095s6
4Daniel RicciardoRICRB Honda RBPT19+14.971s5
5Carlos SainzSAIFerrari19+15.222s4
6Oscar PiastriPIAMcLaren Mercedes19+15.750s3
7Nico HulkenbergHULHaas Ferrari19+22.054s2
8Yuki TsunodaTSURB Honda RBPT19+29.816s1
9Pierre GaslyGASAlpine Renault19+31.880s0
10Logan SargeantSARWilliams Mercedes19+34.355s0
11Zhou GuanyuZHOKick Sauber Ferrari19+35.078s0
12George RussellRUSMercedes19+35.755s0
13Alexander AlbonALBWilliams Mercedes19+36.086s0
14Valtteri BottasBOTKick Sauber Ferrari19+36.892s0
15Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault19+37.740s0
16Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes19+49.347s0
17Fernando AlonsoALOAston Martin Mercedes19+59.409s0
18Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari19+66.303s0
0Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1+0 lap0
0Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes0+0 lap0