Max Verstappen will start the Miami Grand Prix in ninth place following a mistake he made during his first run in the pole position shootout.
The Dutchman went out early in the final qualifying session but made a mistake in Turn 5 which saw him get repeatedly further from the apex of turns 6,7, and 8. Max abandoned the lap and allowed a flying Sergio Perez though to complete what would become his pole position lap.
LeClerc over drives the Ferrari
An error from Charles LeClerc combined with poor strategy from Red Bull meant the world champion would not get another opportunity to set a time in Q3.
LeClerc, as is often the case, was pushing his Ferrari beyond its capabilities and hit the wall causing the session to be red flagged. Given there was not enough time for the cars to make it round to start one final flying lap, race control abandoned the session leaving Sergio Perez on pole position.
Valterri Bottas also failed to set a time and starts one place behind Max Verstappen.
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Verstappen will meet Russell on track again
The recent feud between George Russell and Max Verstappen may well explode on track again during Sunday’s race as there Red Bull driver attempts to surge through the field and hunt down his team mate.
However, decisions made by the FIA may make this task more difficult for Verstappen than would have been the case a couple of races ago.
The FIA decided to shorted the DRS zone in Baku by some 100 metres which some blamed for the processional race that resulted.
F1’s governing body has again shortened the DRS zone in Miami much to Max Verstappen’s consternation.
FIA shorten DRS zones affects Red Bull most
Given that much has been made about the incremental power Red Bull has over the rest with its ‘magic’ DRS, there have been whispers the FIA’s action is an attempt to reign the world champions back towards the field.
Max is hoping to avoid becoming stuck in a DRS train during his recovery drive set for today in the Miami GP.
A DRS train is where a number of cars are all following line astern and when the DRS is activated the aerodynamic gain is nullified by the fact that each car in the train has the same DRS advantage.
With the quick Ferrari of Charles LeClerc starting two places ahead of Verstappen it may well be the Monegasque driver who heads up the DRS train.
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Max expresses concern
Verstappen believes on the street style circuit in Miami it will be more difficult overtaking that at a traditional circuit.
“It will be a little bit tougher but with the pace of the car we have, we should be able to move forward quite quickly,”
“I hope it is not going to be a DRS train because then we are in trouble.
“It is going to be a little tricky [to overtake] but most will be done into the last corner [Turn 17], or at least that you are very close and maybe you get a run into Turn 1, but we will see.”
Red Bull strategy could’ve save Verstappen
The world champion admits it was his mistake which left him languishing at th bottom of the top ten. ”I am still annoyed with myself but it is a new day, a lot of things can happen.
“It is not ideal but there is no point in being super angry or upset about it. You learn from it, I will do better again next time.”
That said, Red Bull could have done better for Verstappen by ensuring he was first out for the second runs in Q3 and then whatever happened to LeClerc or anyone else wouldn’t have affected his last lap.
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A head-spinning twist at the climax of qualifying 🤯#MiamiGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/bC4jZy1qOe
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 6, 2023
If this is an attempt to stop Red Bull progressing through the field, it is a weird one. They will stop all other cars first and may (or may not) hamper Red Bull as well.