Verstappen wins Miami Grand Prix

Sports Desk, May 8 (EFE).- Dutch Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, the reigning Formula One world champion, on Sunday won the inaugural Miami Grand Prix, the season’s fifth race, on the circuit constructed around the Hard Rock Stadium in the South Florida metropolis.

Early on, Verstappen – who started in third – made an aggressive early move to pass both Ferrari drivers, Spain’s Carlos Sainz and F1 championship leader Charles Leclerc, of Monaco, and from the ninth lap onward was in the driver’s seat throughout the remainder of the contest to take home his third trophy of the season.

Leclerc ended up coming in second, while Carlos Sainz finished third on the 3.36-mile circuit.

This was the 24-year-old Verstappen’s 23rd F1 win and his third of the year, in the three races he’s finished.

Mexico’s Sergio Perez, and Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate, ended the race in fourth place.

Late in the race, a mashup between Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly got the safety car out onto the raceway and there followed a 10-lap sprint to the finish with Verstappen ultimately beating out Leclerc by only 3.7 seconds.

The two British Mercedes drivers – George Russell and six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton – finished fifth and sixth, respectively, while the other Spaniard in the contest, Alpine driver Fernando Alonso, ended up in ninth.

Finland’s Valtteri Bottas, with Alfa Romeo, was seventh, and France’s Esteban Ocon, Alonso’s teammate, was eighth.

In the 10th spot, and thus garnering a ranking point, was Thailand’s Alexander Albon, with Williams.

With the win, Verstappen is now just 19 points behind Leclerc’s total of 104, while Perez is in third place with 66, Russell is in fourth with 59 and Sainz is in fifth with 53 points.

Miami went all-out to tout the race, along with the associated South Florida sun and fun, but the rather tepid contest itself seemingly was somewhat of a letdown for race fans.

Nevertheless, the event now provides the US with two Formula One contests in the same season for the first time since 1984. A third US F1 race – in Las Vegas – will be run for the first time in 2023.

The next race, the Spanish Grand Prix, will be held on May 22 at the Montmelo raceway in Barcelona.

EFE arh/bp

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