The threat from Max Verstappen is becoming increasingly apparent and Ferrari is well aware of it. The Dutchman had to stop twice in five events this season and saw the other three finish lines as the winner. We could even add four by counting his success in the “sprint” race at Imola. The reigning world champion doesn’t let much pass by. He also left, for the second time in a row with the bonus point for the best lap, in Miami on Sunday. He has only signed one pole position and he is adapting very well to the era of the DRS, which has become all-powerful on the altar of the spectacle, and these new technical regulations, as commendable in their intentions as they are unable to life without artifice .
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We can say that “Super Max” has a sense of priorities, because the best times in qualifying do not yield points. His Red Bull is a behemoth of straight-line efficiency – 5 mph faster than Ferrari’s this weekend – and unrivaled at generating traction in slow corners and regaining his advantage on the parts of buoyancy with his opponents.
Verstappen is also a phenomenon of opportunism. If he is beaten, he is not completely beaten. Third in qualifying behind the Ferraris that had to block him, he regained a position on the most clinging section of the track at the Florida start, and the candor of Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) at the first brake did the rest. Without endangering himself, he managed to slip out at turn n° 2, ahead of F1 75 n°55, and he spun towards his ultimate goal: the “rossa” n°16.
Saved as in Jeddah
Irresistibly, he crashed into the Monegasque and dropped it off at the DRS on 9th of 57 laps. Determined to distance himself, he only needed one lap to get his rival out of his DRS zone and take off. He let the Maranello driver into the pits first, on lap 25. Without rushing into the pit lane as he took “hard” tires two laps later, during a smoothly executed intervention, which reaffirmed the operational superiority of Milton’s pit crew. Keynes emphasized. The case was folded in 2″4 against 3″2 for its red challenger.
The sequel was serene for the ace orange, the size of the champion he has become. He succeeded perfectly in the Norris-Gasly restart after the crash on lap 47, and was perfectly positioned under the braking of number 17 three laps later when the Monegask swerved to try to dive for the rope. He was not at his best with his “hard” tires at the moment and perhaps, as in Jeddah, he was saved by Leclerc’s inability to activate his DRS.
Max Verstappen has not been unhappy with race conditions of late, but it would be a huge mistake to attribute his 23rd Formula 1 win – like three-time world champion Nelson Piquet – to Red Bull’s arbitrariness and technical supremacy. We mustn’t forget that he came out of his day disappointed on Friday, the victim of repeated technical problems, with a total of 15 laps completed, including only one during free practice session 2, the one used to simulate race relays. Late in his settings and with his knowledge of the track, he couldn’t make it in qualifying, and it showed.
“It reminded me of Abu Dhabi”
“It’s a great comeback! I don’t even think I did a start test so I didn’t know what to expect.explained Verstappen, who came back 19 points behind Leclerc in the championship. “I saw the opportunity on the outside and it worked.he said on Viaplay. This victory is of course very pleasant. After 15 laps we start counting the laps: physically it was very hard – I think I lost about three kilos – but super fun. The safety car certainly didn’t help at the end, otherwise we could have finished under control. That obviously made the race more exciting for everyone.”
If this setback cost him his seven-second lead, he wasn’t complaining. This time to his disadvantage, the safety car was not always ungrateful to him. “It reminded me of Abu Dhabi”he added with a laugh, referring to the paying risks he was taking to beat Lewis Hamilton.
On the other hand, not everything was perfect on the other side of the garage, as Sergio Pérez had enough to complete this success and at least get on the podium. But then a power problem caused him to lose contact with Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) on lap 20 due to a faulty sensor.
30 hp less for Pérez
It has become a bad habit, Red Bull Racing’s progress has been slowed down by too many technical incidents and Max Verstappen has made no secret of his concern. “We need to get this under control to have hassle free weekends, understand that and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”he remembered.
Christian Horner even felt that his team had lost an easy double because of it. “Reliability will be a concernwarned the director of Red Bull Racing on Sky Sports. The guys did everything they could to fix the issues, but it took Checo 30 horsepower. He lost half a second, he could have finished second.”
At the Constructors’ World Cup, Red Bull Racing fell to six points behind Ferrari (151 to 157) and the next event, in Spain, could see the Navy take over in the classification of the two championships.
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