F1 (Hard) Rocks new Miami circuit, Verstappen beats leader Leclerc

The pinnacle of motorsports has arrived in Miami for the first time – but did it live up to expectations?

Rosie McCallum
16th May 2022
Image credit: Twitter @f1miami
Formula 1’s first visit to Florida was certainly a spectacle. The inaugural Miami Grand Prix saw the rise of Max Verstappen, the return of the Ferrari pair’s dominance and the threatening straight-line speed of the Red Bulls.

The brand-new street circuit was shaping up to be an exciting new addition to the calendar. With the increasing awareness of Formula 1 in the United States, this GP brought in an abundance of new fans. With Miami already being well-known for racing, the crowds were packed out and spirits were high. Being built around the famous Miami Dolphins Hard Rock Stadium, the venue completely catered to the F1 experience. Everything leading up to the Miami Grand Prix set up for a thrilling weekend of racing – or did it?

Everything leading up to the Miami Grand Prix set up for a thrilling weekend of racing – or did it?

Qualifying showed some promise as we witnessed the Red Bulls and Ferraris top the timesheets once again. This guaranteed some action between the top two constructors in the Miami heat. The race on Sunday saw Verstappen snatch the lead from polesitter Charles Leclerc, closing the gap for the championship title to only 19 points. The race remained quiet for quite some time until lap 41. On lap 41 of the 57, a collision between Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris brought out the safety car and saw the end to Norris’ race. Mercedes driver George Russell took full advantage of the safety car, stopping to swap for new medium compound tyres to claim his second P5 of the season ahead of his teammate, Lewis Hamilton. Carlos Sainz finally dodged the bad luck he suffered from in his previous races, finishing off the podium places whilst Alex Albon finished in the points for Williams for the second race in a row.

The Miami GP did not fail in entertainment quality. Though the race itself may not have been the most exciting, the atmosphere and experience certainly proved to be. However, many fans began to profess their disappointment, saying that the spotlight was taken away from the racing itself to promote more of the entertainment surrounding the weekend.

Though the race finished with excitement, one of the weekend's biggest talking points was the paddock’s features. Yes, there were many famous faces on the grid walk, a Gondola that you could ride over the track and even a mermaid that appeared in the beach club – but nothing created as much conversation as the fake marina. The marina was designed to pay homage to the iconic Monaco harbour; however, it simply became a meme instead. (look it up – I can guarantee a giggle!)

As a whole, the weekend in Florida looked a success – gaining more fans than ever before and growing F1 as a sport further in the US. The promise is there for future Miami races, but can we please avoid NFL helmets on the podium?

Image credit: Twitter @Carlossainz55
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