Max Verstappen has put on a master class to embarrass Ferrari on a day when it all went horribly wrong for the championship leader.
Max Verstappen won a chaotic Miami Grand Prix.
It was all there for Ferrari to take, but a bizarre series of blunders cost Charles Leclerc a victory.
Verstappen overtook the championship leader on Lap 9 and never looked troubled from there.
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Meanwhile, it’s gone from disaster to disaster for Daniel Ricciardo. The Aussie started 14th on the grid.
His troubles continued early on Monday when he dropped several places before settling into the race in the mid-field outside of the championship-points standings.
A tactical blunder to keep him out on the track instead of pitting only made it much worse.
He finished 11th — and leaves Miami without any championship points.
In another late slap in the face, Ricciardo was handed a five second penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage in the closing laps. It dropped him to finish 13th on the final standings.
Meanwhile, Verstappen’s win has closed Leclerc’s lead in the championship to just 19 points.
Verstappen also won the added point for fastest lap.
“Well done mate, you really made that work. Well done for hanging on,” Red Bull boss Christian Horner said on team radio after the race.
Leclerc said after the race he believed he was going to run down Verstappen.
“It was a very difficult race physically. We struggled quite a bit on the medium tires in the first stint and got overtaken,” he said.
“It made our race a bit more difficult from that moment onwards.
“On the hard we were very competitive and towards the end I thought I could get Max at one point but today they had the advantage in terms of pace.
“We need to keep pushing. Upgrades will be important.”
You can read on below to see how Ferrari dropped the win.
Final standings of Miami Grand Prix
Max Verstappen led the Grand Prix by just 0.5 seconds with Charles Leclerc breathing down his neck with five laps left. However, the Dutch driver was more than a second clear in the final few laps to cross the line with a comfortable lead.
Red Bull grin after Ferrari disaster laid bare
Max Verstappen roared past Charles Leclerc with a slick move heading into Turn 1 on Lap 9.
Using a DRS advantage, Verstappen made it look easy as he took the race lead.
Commentators have been left stunned by how easy it was for the Red Bull to take the lead of the race.
He first got past Carlos Sainz in the opening lap and then easily snuck past Leclerc.
On Lap 20, Verstappen’s lead was more than 3.5 seconds.
“Leclerc has got to pit, he is struggling, that’s why Verstappen got so close and now Leclerc’s two seconds away,” former driver Jolyon Palmer told the BBC.
“Ferrari have to roll the dice, at the moment he is on a hiding to nothing.”
“Leclerc made it very easy, he stayed on the racing line – for the lead of the race.
“Leclerc with no defense whatsoever. He just allowed Verstappen the inside line and Max said ‘thanks very much’.
“I wonder if Leclerc has just butchered his tires.”
Sky Sport’s Martin Brundle said: “I don’t think Charles had any defence”.
Palmer also criticized Ferrari’s tactical decision not to pit Leclerc during the safety car on Lap 41. He wanted the team to come in and roll the dice with a set of soft tires.
“Ferrari could have gone for a soft tire. A little bit nothing from them, now both Ferraris will be vulnerable to Perez, it’s a great chance for him.
“Ferrari have been a bit passive on strategy.”
Red Bull boss Christian Horner was also thrilled Ferrari didn’t call Leclerc in for the free pit stop.
“After the safety car, we’re quite lucky the Ferrari didn’t pit and take on a new tire for that because they could probably have put on the soft tires,” he said.
“At least that neutralized things.”
Huge drama as Lando Norris crashes out
The first safety car of the Miami Grand Prix has shaken things up dramatically.
McLaren’s Lando Norris crashed out on Lap 41 after contact with Pierre Gasly as the exited a turn.
Norris made contact with Gasly’s wheels before he was turned violently sideways as sparks flew around him. He completed several spins before hitting the barriers.
He was able to walk away from the incident which sent debris scattering all over the track.
It is Norris’ first DNF of the season.
Daniel Ricciardo was one of the few drivers to roll the dice and use the opportunity to come into the pits to change for soft tires.
Miserable Daniel Ricciardo re-joins in P17
Daniel Ricciardo is having a weekend to forget as he fell back to 17th after pitting on Lap 32.
The Aussie was the last driver to pit for the first time and he put on hard tires like the rest of the field in the hope of running through to the end of the race.
Martin Brundle said on Sky Sports: “It’s not been McLaren’s best weekend. They just haven’t had the pace on this track”.
Simone Lazenby said of the pit stop strategy: “All McLaren did was drop him back.
“Sadly, another race for Daniel Ricciardo to forget”.
Big moves in opening laps mayhem
Charles Leclerc has held onto first place in the chaotic opening lap in Miami.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz lost out to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen heading into the second turn with the Red Bull driver climbing up to second.
Aussie Daniel Ricciardo picked up three places in the opening lap to be 11th. However, he dropped back to 13th on Lap 4 after being passed by both Haas cars.
Lewis Hamilton dropped to eighth and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel was 19th after starting from pit lane.
Meanwhile, Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu has been forced to return to the pits and has retired.
“We have to stop. I can’t believe it,” the team said on radio.
Aston Martin in last minute gamble
Both Aston Martin cars were missing when the cars lined up on the starting line grid.
The team had had no public problems earlier in the weekend.
Sky Sports commentator Martin Brundle called them “last-minute gremlins”.
Lance Stroll told Sky Sports before the race it was a “fuel issue”.
‘Ridiculous’: F1 champs blasted for ‘childish’ antics
Formula 1 great Ralf Schumacher has criticized Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel for their “ridiculous” protests ahead of the Miami Grand Prix, accusing them of “childish” antics.
Earlier this week, race director Niels Wittich wrote in his guidelines that driver jewelery and underwear should be checked to ensure they comply with the FIA’s fireproof safety standards.
Hamilton voiced his disdain for F1’s bling ban at a press conference, which he showed up to wearing three watches, a bracelet, eight rings, four necklaces, two earrings and a nose stud.
Meanwhile, Vettel wore underpants over his race suit on Friday as a sign of protest.
speaking to Sky Germanysix-time race winner Schumacher argued that Hamilton and Vettel should set a better example for the younger drivers.
“I find it all a bit childish, to be honest,” he said.
“The drivers who drive Formula 3 and Formula 4 should know the big ones stick to it.
“And above all it’s about their own safety and that it’s actually a ridiculous thing that such experienced people who have seen so many accidents make fun of it in that way.”
Miami Grand Prix starting grid
1) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
2) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
3) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
4) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
5) Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo
6) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
7) Pierre Gasly, Alpha Tauri
8) Lando Norris, McLaren
9) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri
10) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin
11) Fernando Alonso, Alpine
12) George Russell, Mercedes
13) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin
14) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren
15) Mick Schumacher, Haas
16) Kevin Magnussen, Haas
17) Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo
18) Alex Albon, Williams
19) Nicholas Latifi, Williams
20) Esteban Ocon, Alpine