Scuderia Ferrari scored an impressive one-two finish in the qualifying session for the 2022 Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix, but the race was a different story, as can be seen from the race telemetry and key moments of the Charles Leclerc – Max Verstappen duel.
The late Safety Car provided a good opportunity for the Maranello team to win the race, but without better behavior out of the technical section it wasn’t going to happen.
Race Gap analysis
This graph represents the race gap to the winner over the Miami Grand Prix: it is very easy to see that with Medium tyre there was no story, unfortunately Red Bull simply had a better race pace, Ferrari was graining and damaging tyres like in Imola. On the Hard tyre instead the race was fairly even, both when the two of them were further apart, and when they were closer, until Charles Leclerc fell off DRS and knew there was no way to turn things around.
But how exactly did Red Bull manage to do this off? A few of the laps post SC restart are insightful:
Lap 47 telemetry
There is no DRS available for this lap: you can see the top speed isn’t a big differentiator, |Charles Leclerc is really close to Max Verstappen in the first sector and he struggles with grip there. The second sector however starts to give us some hints, that would be the technical section T11-16. Max is really strong there, and despite the speed deficit, his S2 time is slightly better than the Monegasque driver’s. S3 is unremarkable.
Lap 49 telemetry
There is DRS here, you can see Charles way faster than Max in any significant straight, by up to 15kph. Same as before, the Ferrari driver struggles for grip in S1, massive speed advantage into T11 and then the technical section happens and you can see that Max Verstappen is on average 1kmh faster through it all, despite the lower speed from the braking point which raises Charles Leclerc’s average.
Lap 55 telemetry
Out of DRS range again. Here it’s pretty evident now, Charles Leclerc manages to get a slightly better S1, despite some sliding out of T8 that he maybe took too fast. However the speed advantage is gone again now, and from the start of S2 time the speed is almost the same, but Max Verstappen manages to gain 0.27s over Charles Leclerc in basically just the technical section, equally the Dutch driver managed a better exit out of turn 17.
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So what happened? It’s pretty impressive of course that the car with less wing manages to handle the technical section so much better. While looking at onboard video, it was clear that the RB18 jumped around a bit more (nothing out of ordinary) into T17, and the Ferrari F1-75 had to run harder suspension to avoid porpoising, which of course reduced their mechanical grip, and here, unlike in quali, Charles Leclerc can’t afford the same impressive braking performance he had Saturday.
Top speed without DRS wasn’t very different so overall the aero load on the cars wasn’t significant however that Red Bull is very slippery with DRS open unlike the Ferrari. But even with a large top speed difference as with DRS open, or for the matter Sergio Perez against Carlos Sainz in the closing laps with DRS, it simply wasn’t easy to pass, unless you had bad traction out of T8 or T16 or T17, which Charles Leclerc had during the bad tyre degradation he had on the Mediums compared to his title-rival.