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F1 conclusions after the Miami GP: If Verstappen finishes, he wins

F1 conclusions after the Miami GP: If Verstappen finishes, he wins

9 May - 08:07
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GPblog.com

Max Verstappen won the race and picked up the fastest race lap in Miami reducing his deficit to Charles Leclerc to nineteen points. Still a big difference between the two, but the season is still long. This we can in any case conclude after the fifth round in the championship:

If Verstappen finishes, he wins

Verstappen only finished three races out of five this season. This was through no fault of his own and was due to problems with his RB18. Therefore, it can still be said that if Verstappen crosses the finish line, he will always do so first in 2022. The season is still long and it does not yet guarantee further races or the championship, but it is slowly starting to become a pattern that can only frighten Leclerc.

In Imola, Verstappen was too strong for an exciting fight with Leclerc. The Monegasque additionally made a driver error, which allowed Verstappen to catch up further. The other race Verstappen finished, the GP of Saudi Arabia, was more exciting and there was also a brief fight between the two in the closing stages of Miami. It shows that the Red Bull car is still a bit more competitive and that the reigning world champion drives just a bit stronger. Indeed, even in a messy weekend Verstappen manages to beat the Ferrari's.

DRS is not yet redundant

A second conclusion we can draw after the Miami Grand Prix is that the DRS system is not yet redundant in Formula 1. The greatly changed F1 cars in 2022 do make the DRS effect a lot stronger. A gradual phasing out of the system is also being considered, but for now the reduced drag on the straights is still very much needed for overtaking.

At the Miami circuit, there were no less than three DRS zones. Although the number of three DRS zones is above average, they did not seem unnecessary; not even on the Miami circuit with its long straights. On the long straight to Turn 17, we ended up seeing hardly any overtaking. Most drivers used the DRS on that straight to get close to the car in front and then used the DRS at start/finish to overtake.

Red Bull more strategic options with Perez

Red Bull seems to finally have that reliable number two in the team in 2022 that they have been looking for for years. Indeed, four years after the departure of Daniel Ricciardo, the team seems to have a competitive driver again who knows how to perform every weekend and support Verstappen well. Verstappen completely drove Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon away, but Sergio Perez, in his second season, can reasonably keep up with the reigning world champion.

Although the Mexican doesn't always fight firmly against the Ferrari's he does provide the team with important strategic freedom. In Miami we saw that Red Bull was in the situation to take maximum strategic advantage of the safety car situation. Because Perez had stayed well behind Carlos Sainz, Ferrari could not afford a pit stop, while Perez had just good enough space to not lose position, but could rejoin with fresh rubber for the final ten laps of the race. Problems with his RB18, unfortunately, meant that the Mexican could take little advantage.

Russell beats Hamilton to the punch

There have been five races this season; we are in the early stages, yet already approaching the end of the first quarter. Cautiously we can draw conclusions about the interrelationships within the teams, of which the relations between seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes debutant George Russell are the most interesting. Indeed, Russell beat his teammate once again in Miami. With a P5 for Russell and a P6 for Hamilton, the difference was less than in Imola, but the points are starting to pile up.

Mercedes has not built a strong car for 2022 so they are no longer fighting for victories and even the battle for a podium is no longer commonplace. Despite the slow car, Hamilton isn't matching up to the points total of Russell. Though this time around Russell got lucky with a pitstop under safety car conditions. In Bahrain, the Briton did grab a podium due to Red Bull Racing's dropouts, but in the championship he is sixth and his teammate fourth. The difference in points is not bad either; Russell has 59 and Hamilton 36. With a difference of 23 points out of a total of 36 points for Hamilton, after five races, there is reason to panic.

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