1 Miami Grand Prix – LIVE!
Charles Leclerc is out to reassert his authority in the Formula One 2022 world title race with victory in F1’s inaugural race around Miami today.
Saturday qualifying saw the championship leader stick his Ferrari on pole position with a fantastic lap, almost matched by teammate Carlos Sainz to clock a 1-2 for the Scuderia.
In third was Max Verstappen, victorious a fortnight ago in Emilia Romagna where Leclerc spun out late on but with an error of his own as he began his final qualifying lap yesterday.
F1 has served up four memorable races so far, with Red Bull’s unreliability hitting defending champ Verstappen with two retirements already.
But his woes have been nothing compared to that of Lewis Hamilton, who starts a more reasonable sixth in Miami after a dismal weekend at Imola.
Today’s race gets underway at 8.30pm BST and is live on Sky Sports.
Join Marc Mayo and Matt Majendie for all the latest updates from Miami with Standard Sport’s live blog…
The biggest battle right now is not even for points, with Stroll in 12th and yet to pit on old Hard tires leading a DRS train that includes both Haas cars, Vettel and Norris.
Ricciardo pits from ninth to pop out right at the back of it and even behind Albon, in 17th. Not a great day for McLaren.
Lap 30/57: Here are the timings after the halfway mark:
Verstappen sticks in a fastest lap and leads Leclerc by 7.8 seconds, who has 11.2 seconds on Sainz in third. Perez follows through in fourth after a further 4.9 seconds. Russell, yet to pit, runs fifth.
Red Bull boss Horner tells Sky that Perez had a sensor issue for that scare earlier on, which is now fixed.
In the battle for third, Sainz and Perez both pit with 5.4 seconds taken by Ferrari to strap his Hards on but Perez is through in 3.1 to close the gap.
Issues putting the front-right on for the Spaniard, the wheel which has taken the biggest beating around this anti-clockwise track in the Miami heat.
Here comes Verstappen!
It’s a set of Hards bolted on in just 2.4 seconds to keep him comfortably in front, he re-enters the circuit as Leclerc crosses the finish line.
“The car is so difficult to drive,” the Monegasque says over team radio.
And thus he pits, with a 3.2-second stop not bad as he straps on the Hards and comes out well clear of fifth-placed Bottas.
A fastest lap from Leclerc who is pushing those Mediums deep like all of the four frontrunners, the Red Bull and Ferrari pit walls perhaps a bit nervous that these Hard tires are taking a while to warm up.
Verstappen remains well out in front, 4.5 seconds to be exact.
Lap 23/57: Norris and Magnussen are the latest to slide wide at Turn 17, from 14th and 16th respectively. It’s turned into a real nightmare afternoon for the McLaren.
Here comes Hamilton into the pits, running sixth. That’s a clean stop and he comes out in clean air, now seventh.
Problems for Perez!
“I’m losing power!” Perez tells Red Bull team radio. “Engine’s gone, man!”
No such concerns from his engineers, who tell him it’s just the tow to Sainz that he’s lost. More Red Bull reliability issues incoming?
“Fail five-zero, power unit’s looking good now,” comes the fix. “I think it’s back,” the Mexican replies. He lost about six seconds on Sainz in that.
Norris pits from seventh and a slow 3.6-second stop earns a bit of a smirk from David Beckham, watching on from the edge of the garage.
Vettel and Magnussen are right on the Brit and those Hard tires take a while to warm up, allowing both past him! That’s 15th for Norris…
F1 match Matt Majendie
There’s been so much fanfare about the inaugural Miami Grand Prix but the worry is that a third of the way through this race, it’s currently in danger of being something of a procession to the checkered flag.
Max Verstappen looking incredibly at ease in the race lead and pulling steadily clearer from Charles Leclerc – his lead is now 3.4 seconds.