AP Photo/Tyler Tate
Max Verstappen cruised to his third checkered flag of 2022 after winning the Miami Grand Prix on Sunday.
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
Max Verstappen is the 2022 Miami Grand Prix Champion 🏆 pic.twitter.com/wrUPorJJoV
Verstappen passed Charles Leclerc early in the race and then didn’t look back from there. He held off a tough challenge from Leclerc inside the final 10 laps before steadily gaining more comfort at the front of the pack.
Leclerc ultimately finished nearly four seconds behind Verstappen in what proved to be a two-horse race. Carlos Sainz claimed a place on the podium in third.
Leclerc continued his strong start to the season by claiming the pole, narrowly edging out Ferrari teammate Sainz.
The Monte Carlo native only remained in that position for a little more than eight laps before Verstappen overtook him for the lead. The reigning F1 champion took advantage of being in the DRS range and catapulted into first on the inside.
ESPN F1 @ESPNF1
Max’s move on Charles to take the lead in Miami ⚔️🌴 pic.twitter.com/8ekrYvrZPZ
Verstappen quickly widened his advantage after Leclerc locked up his car to lose valuable time.
Things weren’t going much better elsewhere for the Ferrari team.
Owen Poindexter @owenpoindexter
Gasps from the media center as Sainz’s pit stop takes a whole 5 seconds. https://t.co/riwSVkOsvF
With around 40 laps in the books, inclement weather appeared to be a possibility. Mother Nature was one of the few parties who could extend Leclerc a meaningful lifeline.
The virtual safety car was also brought out on the 41st lap because of a collision between Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly. The prolonged caution allowed Leclerc to make up a lot of ground on Verstappen.
Verstappen maintained his hold on first coming out of the restart but couldn’t restore the massive gulf he previously enjoyed on Leclerc. Leclerc kept knocking on the door and waited for an opening.
Verstappen simply wouldn’t oblige, demonstrating why he’s one of the best in the world.
The Spanish Grand Prix outside of Barcelona is on tap for F1 on May 22. Lewis Hamilton is the five-time reigning champion in the event, so it could be a great opportunity for the 37-year-old to earn his first victory in 2022.
Hamilton started in the sixth position Sunday and struggled to move up the leaderboard from there. He complained about his tires around the midway point, which summed up how he didn’t have the car to compete with Verstappen, Leclerc, Sainz and Valtteri Bottas.