Verstappen cruises the seas to win the inaugural Miami Grand Prix

Dutch Red Bull driver Max Verstappen holds his trophy after winning the Formula One Miami Grand Prix auto race at the Miami International Autodrome, Sunday, May 8, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla.

Lynne Sladky | Photo AP

Max Verstappen used a fierce early pass against Formula One leader Charles Leclerc, then steered the inaugural Miami Grand Prix to a third win of the season.

The defending world champion started on Tuesday on Sunday, but Red Bull quickly overtook Ferrari for a second straight race. Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr made it past the front row to qualify for Ferrari, but Verstappen rushed to start to get ahead of Sainz.

He then kept an eye on Leclerc and used a strong pass outside in the ninth round to take the lead. Verstappen was unchalled until a late collision between Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly brought the safety car out and set up a 10-lap sprint to the finish on the 19-turn, 3.36-mile track. (5.41 km) built around Hard Rock Stadium.

Leclerc had a few shots inside but Verstappen was undaunted and the Dutchman won by 3.7 seconds. He also won two weeks ago at Imola when Red Bull beat Ferrari on a bad weekend at home to Italy with a 1-2 finish for Verstappen and Sergio Perez.

In Miami, Ferrari took second and third places to Leclerc and Sainz. Perez finished fourth for Red Bull and Mercedes showed plenty of progress with fifth and sixth for George Russell and Lewis Hamilton. This is the fourth time in five races that Mercedes freshman driver Russell has beaten the seven-time champion.

Montreal’s Lance Stroll is 12th and Toronto’s Nicholas Latifi is 14th.

The race itself isn’t a horror movie with 85,000 people in attendance on Sunday breathlessly as they snagged one of the hottest tickets in the sport. Supporters never sold general tickets as demand soon dwindled and the grounds around Hard Rock Stadium were host to parties for the past three days.

Whether it’s at the man-made beach club, where musical performances have entertained since Friday, or the “marina” that anchors 10 boats on decal-covered plywood to look like rolling water. After all, F1 gets the sun, sand and Miami scene it wants. agreed to this 10-year agreement.

By race day, the celebrities were full of life. Dwyane Wade takes a selfie on the starting grid and Paris Hilton dances in front of the McLaren garage; Tom Brady, David Beckham and Michael Jordan pose for a pre-race photo with Lewis Hamilton, who hosted former first lady Michelle Obama on Saturday at the track. Serena Williams bowed to Mercedes hospitality and Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny arrived at the venue with Perez and spent most of the pre-race at Red Bull with the Mexican driver.

The Miami event gives the United States two F1 races in a season for the first time since 1984. F1 will add Las Vegas as America’s third race in 2023.

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