Verstappen extends title lead with Miami GP victory


Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was in a class of his own as he carved through the field to win the Miami Grand Prix from ninth place on the grid.

It was a masterful performance from the world champion, using an off-set tyre strategy to beat team-mate Sergio Perez, who started from pole position.

Verstappen ran a long first stint on hard tyres, pitting 25 laps later than Perez, rejoining a second behind and passing for the lead a lap later.

It was a humiliating defeat for Perez and raised serious questions about his claims to be able to challenge Verstappen for the title this year.

“I just had a clean race and picked the cars off one by one,” said Verstappen. “I stayed out really long on the hard tyres and I think that’s what made the difference and then a good little battle with Checo at the end.

“Yesterday was of course a bit of a setback but today we kept it calm, kept it clean and for sure winning a race from P9 is very satisfying.”

Perez added: “I tried. I gave it my all. We had graining and initial pace wasn’t good.

“The medium [tyre] we had initially was poor, more than expected. It really compromised our pace and Max had tremendous pace on the hard and we will analyse what went wrong today because we simply didn’t have the pace.”

Fernando Alonso continued his superb season for Aston Martin to take his fourth podium finish in five races with an outstanding performance of his own.

George Russell was a strong fourth for Mercedes while Ferrari had a dispiriting afternoon.

Carlos Sainz challenged Alonso in the first stint but earned a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane at his pit stop and then dropped away in the second stint to finish fifth.

Team-mate Charles Leclerc had a race to forget after crashing in qualifying and starting seventh.

He fought a long battle with Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, who drove an outstanding race, before finally getting past with 20 laps to go and taking seventh place behind Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, which was on the same off-set strategy as Verstappen and passed Leclerc in the closing stages. (BBC Sport)

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