Sky Sports F1’s Martin Brundle delivers his expert verdict on the inaugural Miami Grand Prix and warns Scuderia Ferrari that they need to improve and solve their lack of straight-line speed if they are to remain in touch with title rivals Red Bull.
The Miami Grand Prix weekend started in a promising way for the Maranello team, as Charles Leclerc took pole position at the Miami International Autodrome, while Carlos Sainz completed a perfect qualifying session by taking second place. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen starting behind in third, but unfortunately Ferrari was not able to keep P1 and P2 after the first corner, as the Dutchman passed the Spanish driver and was able to chase Charles Leclerc before eventually passing the F1-75 car of the Monegasque driver on Lap 9 of 57. The Dutchman remained in P1 until the chequered flag, scoring his third win of the 2022 Formula 1 championship and the second consecutive one after the Imola victory.
Just like in Italy, Scuderia Ferrari could not keep up with Red Bull on the straights, and Martin Brundle feels thinks that the Milton Keynes-based team may dominate as the season progresses both championships if the Maranello team will not bring updates that can improve its F1-75 car:
“Once again, Charles Leclerc and his Ferrari were the fastest combo on the track to secure pole position, but also once again, Ferrari had no answer to Red Bull’s prodigious straight-line speed, with or without the DRS rear wing open,” Martin Brundle wrote in his column for Sky Sports F1 after the Miami Grand Prix – “Unless they fix that with less high-speed drag then these will be Red Bull’s World Championships.” – he added.
Despite Max Verstappen finished ahead of Charles Leclerc and reduced the gap in the Formula 1 Driver Standings, the Sky Sports F1 pundit had words of praise for both drivers in terms of how they performed in this start of the season and more specifically in the Miami Grand Prix: “It was another very impressive and mature drive from both Verstappen and Leclerc, but the Ferrari drivers simply can’t breeze back past any more like Leclerc did to Verstappen in Bahrain. This gives Max and teammate Sergio Perez the comfort zone of looking after their tyres and playing the longer game, knowing they can pounce down a relatively risk-free straight later on.” – he continued.
Martin Brundle also commented on Carlos Sainz’s race in Miami, believing the Spanish driver bounced back well to finish on the podium despite the crash on Friday and the recent incidents in Australia and at Imola:
“Carlos Sainz had a very important weekend for his confidence as the Ferrari pair were on the podium together for the third time in five races so far this season. He hadn’t completed a lap in the previous two races and had another sizeable shunt in practice. He kept his head and did well to hold off Perez, who was on fresh Medium compound tyres, albeit carrying an engine gremlin.” – the former F1 driver explained.
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Ferrari’s only chance of winning the Miami Grand Prix came on Lap 41 of the race, when a Virtual Safety Car was called as a result of a crash between Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly. This was then escalated to a full Safety Car, but the Maranello team decided not to pit Charles Leclerc at that moment, a decision that strategy director Ignacio Rueda later admitted was not the best, but which seemed the right one based on the information available at that stage:
“Ferrari must surely wish they had pitted at least one of their cars under the inevitable VSC and full Safety Car, when a limping Pierre Gasly came together with a passing Lando Norris in a relatively narrow part of the track. Verstappen had just passed the line when the Virtual Safety Car was declared.” – Martin Brundle concluded.