Hello yet again friends and welcome to the weekend’s blog, and this ain’t just any normal raceweek blog, it’s Miami Grand Prix weekend! F1 and the Dolphins have teamed up to build a super-low grip track around Hard Rock Stadium, complete with a marina.
To the credit of the multi-billion dollar sporting operations responsible for its construction, the circuit has become much more than just a track around the Dolphins’ parking lot. There’s more runoff than a true “street circuit”, much like the Sochi Autodrom in Russia, with plenty of fast, blind corners, much like the Jeddah circuit F1 raced earlier this season.
The F1 season so far has been dictated by two drivers, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, and reigning champion and Red Bull ace Max Verstappen. But a new track, and a very different one to any F1 has traveled to this year, could add some drama at the top not yet seen this season.
That however, will be largely up to Mercedes, who have looked far from their dominant selves this year. Friday in Miami was another story for the German team. Mercedes brought a different, lower-downforce wing setup to Miami Gardens. At the home of the Dolphins, the Silver Arrows may have solved their porpoising problems.
Drivers have been living it up over their week in the Sunshine State, but it’s time for business.
On a track where passing might be a challenge due to the low grip, Saturday’s qualifying is all important. So let’s get to the picks!
Despite Mercedes improvements and Ferrari’s (notably Charles Leclerc’s) pace, around a lap of the Miami International Autodrome, the Red Bull finds another few mph that other cars simply cannot. Max Verstappen fastest qualifier +125 seems the move, even if he did have a bit of a scary moment in FP3.
A less scientific yet fun bet, I like Qualifying winning margin between 0.1 and 0.25 seconds inclusive +240, with it being really tight at the top of the timesheets through the practice sessions.
Now let’s look to the race proper:
Unfortunately for Red Bull’s sister team, Yuki Tsunoda struggled mightily on Friday, including somewhat unnecessarily snapping at an AlphaTauri engineer who was asking if there was a way to make the car better. Tsunoda’s cleaned up a lot of his driving compared to this time last year, but this track looks a challenge for him. Yuki Tsunoda first to retire +1000 well worth a sprinkle.
The track has been tough for more than just the AlphaTauri driver, and it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see multiple accidents, especially in the tricky turns at the end of the second sector of the lap. Under 16.5 drivers classified +125 is a bet on that chaos.
Another chaos bet: Lewis Hamilton outright winner +1400. Lewis historically does well in the US, but historically has had a better car than he has this weekend. This is more a longshot obviously, but if the likes of Verstappen and Leclerc get tangled in the chicanes, the race is truly anyone’s game.
Less chaotic: Ferrari fastest pit stop +600 might seem a long shot as Red Bull have become notorious for their fast stops, but the Ferrari team is often right there, tenths of a second behind them on pit time.
Even less chaotic: Charles Leclerc outright winner +125. Despite not being as rapid as Max Verstappen in FP3, the Ferrari has been stable and solid all weekend, across all temps and track conditions. I think the long run will benefit the Ferraris slightly more than the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, who had a gearbox change this weekend.
It’s always fun to have F1 in the US time zones, much easier on my sleep schedule personally. Let’s go racin.