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A Surprise Win in Miami with Thrills & Spills & Leclerc on Podium

For the seventh consecutive time, Max Verstappen secured pole position this weekend in Miami.

And a lot happened at the start when Leclerc, second on the grid, had an unexpected problem at the first bend with challenges working his clutch and spinning his wheels in the process.

Perez in his Red Bull took his opportunity and shot past Charles so fast on the inside that he and Leclerc could have crashed. And during that poor start Carlos Sainz, Leclerc’s team-mate, also passed him in the approach to Turn 1. Perez had another near incident as he nearly made contact with Verstappen in front after locking up. And in that process Leclerc managed to regain P2 as Sainz and Perez fell behind him.

Tyres were also a big challenge. That had become evident in the Sprint race before the main event. Even Verstappen who had won the Sprint race in a duel with Leclerc couldn’t find the right balance. It was very difficult to handle the tyres.

In the main Grand Prix race, Verstappen had looked to be in control out front until things took an entirely different turn around the mid point. McLaren had taken a chance on leaving Norris out after Verstappen’s pit stop on lap 24 and so the British driver took the lead.

Then when Logan Sargeant crashed out, tangling with Kevin Magnussen on lap 29, it prompted a safety car under which Norris had a free stop for fresh tyres, ensuring he emerged once more in the lead from Verstappen, the two of them ready to do battle.

And do battle Norris did and held his lead at the restart on lap 33 as Verstappen struggled to bring his tyres up to speed.

Norris opened a gap with his fresher tyres. The British driver put in a series of ­thrilling flawless laps on which the whole race hung.

And it continued like that as Verstappen could not keep pace complaining he lacked grip. Norris’ lead grew as the laps counted down until he took the flag and a historic first victory by over 7 seconds from Verstappen.

Leclerc crossed the line two seconds behind Verstappen, but his Ferrari was a total of nine seconds behind Norris at the front. It is obvious the Scuderia need to bring updates to their car in order to pose more of a challenge to McLaren who are now the team to watch. Charles Leclerc needs to watch out particularly for Norris after this debut win for the 24-year-old from the UK.

This was Norris’ 110th grand prix after he made his debut at the Australian GP in 2019. Since then he has eight second places to his credit. He nearly had a win in Russia in 2021 only for it to be frustrated with late rain.

Verstappen, with his second place finish extended his lead in the title race to 35 points from Red Bull teammate Sergio Pérez who was fifth.

Charles Leclerc expressed satisfaction with his third-place finish at the Miami Grand Prix but recognized that Ferrari will need to make strides in performance, especially after witnessing Lando Norris’s remarkable speed in the McLaren, culminating in his inaugural Formula 1 triumph.

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