A competitive Mercedes is reviewed thanks to the updates, Verstappen stops due to technical problems. Yet another accident for the Spaniard from Ferrari
The third wheel emerges between Ferrari and Red Bull. The Mercedes, revitalized by the updates introduced in the Miami GP, and driven by the young man George Russell. The Englishman finished in the lead on Friday confirming the good impressions of the second time obtained in the first free practice session. It is not just a question of technical upgrades, the Mercedes in fact works better in the heat because it manages to get the tires up to temperature.
It is too early to understand the true values on an unprecedented track, demanding, and unwilling to forgive mistakes: we will know more in qualifying (Saturday 7 May, here to find out the times on TV). Charles Leclerc, after having fitted the new engine – the second of the season – followed in the wake of Russell, with a delay of one tenth. The Ferrari driver finished ahead of Sergio Perez, third. Charles was shrewd in not taking risks, he has room to improve on the flying lap and he also did well in the race simulations.
The other Red Bull, that of the world champion, Max Verstappen, was called back to the pits with the brakes in smoke. The blue team relives the nightmare of reliability, paid at a very high price with two retirements: in Bahrain and in Australia. The Dutchman also complained of problems with the power steering, to the point that in some places he could not even turn. And before that the mechanics had replaced the gearbox.
If Ferrari looks at the glass half full with Charles, Sainz’s is punctured. The Spaniard crashed again, damaging the car after about twenty minutes from the start of the session: he lost the rear at turn 14 bouncing off the barriers in the second free practice session (in the first he had ruined the tires with a spin). Result: car damaged in the suspension, in the rear wing, the list of damages begins to lengthen in a worrying way. He is going through a very difficult moment: two zeros in a row, in Melbourne he went out due to his mistake, in Imola instead he was rammed at the start by Daniel Ricciardo. But earlier, in Friday qualifying for the Sprint Race, he had complicated his life alone with another accident.
Finally, the “war of the earrings”: The FIA has imposed a tightening on piercings and jewelry – ban on wearing them when driving, in the name of safety -, Hamilton (4th time) protested, explaining that “certain piercings cannot be removed overnight”. For two races he will race with a special permit.
Miami turns out to be a chaotic circuit, with walls and bottlenecks, a bit Jeddah-style. Safety cars and red flags could shake qualifications and races giving rise to a crazy and unpredictable race, the example is in the bang of Valtteri Bottas who had to skip the second free practice session for having smashed Alfa. Behind the big players a game of hole cards is played: fifth time for Alonso in front of Norris and Gasly. Then Zhou (Alfa), Ocon (Alpine) and Magnussen (Alfa) to complete the top 10.
Free practice 1, Leclerc the fastest
Ferrari got off to a strong start in Miami. Charles Leclerc signs the best time in the first free practice, lapping in 1’31 ” 098 in front of Russell and Verstappen. With Perez fourth ahead of Sainz. The surprise is to see a Mercedes on the upper floors: many updates brought din Brackley to correct a “wrong” machine. It is to be understood whether that of the Englishman is only an exploit or something more (eighth time for Hamilton). Because once again there are all the conditions for a Ferrari-Red Bull duel.
After days of beach selfies, baseball games and visits to basketball halls, Formula 1 begins the show in Miami. Unpublished track, fast and treacherous 5.4 km around the Hard Rock Stadium where the Miami Dolphins play. Between fake ports and real battles (Lewis Hamilton’s FIA against piercings), Ferrari seeks redemption after Imola’s misstep. Charles Leclerc took to the track with a new engine, it is the second of the season (already installed in Imola on Sainz’s Red): a fresh unit to squeeze the horses and take back the Red Bull, superior in top speed. And it is combined with a new “unloaded” rear wing to reduce drag. It’s too early to talk about progress, but the feeling is that the Reds can be very competitive.
Bottas on the wall, drilling for Sainz
There are many unknowns, starting with adherence. Valtteri Bottas lost the Alfa out of turn 7 (they say it is one of the most difficult) and ended up on the wall. It took a long time to recover the car, Miami like Jeddah could be a race full of safety cars. Problems also for Sainz: the Spaniard spun at turn 4 and flattened a tire, it was a rather troubled start for Carlos. But the rhythm was there before the out of program.
The Ferrari fund of the Imola tests leads to discussion. But for the FIA everything is ok
Every inch of the Ferrari is studied and examined by the opponents. Some teams, including McLaren, had prepared a letter to be sent to the FIA to ask for clarification on a particular car bottom used by Sainz in the Pirelli 2023 tire tests (in which Leclerc also participated), carried out on the Wednesday after the GP at Imola. According to the regulation in this type of tire tests, you cannot try new parts but only components already used on race weekends or in collective tests. Inside Ferrari there is no worry, the car sent to the Imola track was perfectly compliant with the regulations. That piece (different from Leclerc’s) had already been used previously, Maranello said. And the Federation also agreed with the Scuderia.
May 6, 2022 (change May 7, 2022 | 01:36)
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Gp Miami, good Leclerc second behind Russell (Mercedes). Nightmare Sainz, another accident
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