There were plenty of fireworks early in the Miami weekend with a car hitting the wall in both of the Friday practices. Come Saturday the practice was relatively uneventful in terms of incidents, and Max Verstappen put together a blistering 1:27:558 fastest lap. Then came qualifying, where plenty of drama ensued.
In Q1there were a number of incidents that were investigated by the stewards, but ultimately no penalties were handed down. On his home soil, Logan Sargeant had an abysmal weekend, finishing dead last in qualifying and later being one of two backmarkers and finishing P20. Also out in Q1 was Yuki Tsunoda, both McClarens, and a shock in Lance Stroll. Q2 provided another shocker when Lewis Hamilton failed to qualify in the top six for the first time and even failed to make Q3. Once Q3 began, the initial story was Verstappen making a mistake on his first flying lap and heading back to the garage before putting in an official time. That came back to bite him as Charles Leclerc spun out and hit the wall in the closing minutes, drawing a red flag and the end to qualifying, putting Sergio Perez at P1 and Verstappen at P9.
Come Sunday all eyes were on Verstappen and the question of whether or not he could be the first race winner from P9 since 1984, which he went on to accomplish with little struggle amazingly. Perez finished second, extending the battle at the top of the championship from the rest of the pack and giving Red Bull a stranglehold on the constructors race. Fernando Alonso found himself on his fourth podium in five races, finishing third. The story of the race really was the Red Bulls as there was not a single yellow flag during the race, much less a safety car. The big incident on the day was Carlos Sainz getting a five second penalty for speeding into the pit lane, although that didn’t impact the final standing as he finished more than eight second ahead of Hamilton behind him.
The overtake of the day and the driver of the day both also goes to Verstappen, with an impressive move to get ahead of Leclerc and Kevin Magnussen in a single turn.
In other open wheel news, the F1 Academy raced in Valencia. Initially Marta Garcia won double pole, but ultimately had her lap time deleted due to track infringements, giving fellow Spaniard Nerea Marti the pole out of Q1. Come race day, Hamda Al Qubaisi won race one with Marti in second and Lena Buhler getting her first podium of the season. Race two saw Bianci Bustamante on top of the podium with Buhler continuing a strong weekend and Al Qubaisi getting on the podium again. Race three was the first ever Sunday race for the F1 Academy, and Garcia took home her third win in six races, while Marti and Abbi Pulling rounded out the podium.
The F1 world takes the next week off before F1 through F3 hit the track in Imola, and the F1 Academy stays in Spain, but heads to Barcelona.