May 8, 2023

Another Masterclass from Max Verstappen. (4 minute read)

Mario, Princess Peach go on a new adventure in the animated film, Super Mario Brothers

By Hong Lau

I had the pleasure of spending time down in Miami this week just before the race weekend tipped off (Boo hoo, but business calls first and that's what I’m about). If anyone is wondering I had to go fly down to Dallas my second home lol and start our live stream with Theo Pinson and the "Run Your Race" Podcast.

My week started off with getting an invite to join some of the exclusive IWC Schaffhausen events from May 3-5th. Man was it a blessing and a pleasure, I got a chance to meet some of my favorite F1 writers like Chris Medland and Luke Smith as well as some others. To be in the Americas as F1 continues to grow was electrifying and very special.

I’ll be honest I did not get that much time to watch all events this weekend due to the busy nature of our business. I did watch qualifying, and some of FP1 and FP2. Man what a tough weekend for Ferrari but specifically Charles Leclerc.

Crashing multiple times this weekend really is not the way you want to remember any weekend but specifically the Miami Grand Prix which feels like a junior version of the Monaco Grand Prix in its own right. It might have been the first weekend in the last 2.5 years I’ve actually seen Charles look like the inferior driver to Carlos Sainz. What a brutal race day as well for both drivers. I felt as if Charles didn’t find his footing / pace in this configuration of the car.  

Then we had Carlos with a penalty and really just could not find a real great pace to overtake Fernando Alonso. He also was passed by George Russell making the weekend even worse for him.

I will continue to say this! Until Mercedes has their upgrades in Imola (next race) we aren’t even talking about them that deeply. At the end of the day this is an F1 team that is behind in development and who are continuing to push the evolution of their car.

They looked quite weak this weekend from a performance aspect. I was surprised that for the second time this year we had a Mercedes driver not make Q3.

For everything that happened leading up to race day, I do think the team had as good of a race on Sunday as they could ask for.

Lewis Hamilton drove superbly. It looked quite bleak because he was surprised (if you listen to the team radio) that everyone had pitted and he still had quite a ways to go. But he kicked in Hammertime and made it shake from 11th all the way up to 6th to end the race. Although it wasn’t for a win / major points it still showed me why he’s the second best driver on the grid.

George as usual had a solid weekend - he remains a good and consistent driver.

He picked his spots and made them count / stick when he decided to make a move. What worries me about George is if he's able to stay “very good” like a Carlos Sainz or Sergio Perez. Only time will tell if he is a future world champion, world championship winner.

As per the title of this post, I will say it again for the people in the back; WHAT A MASTERCLASS DRIVE BY MAX VERSTAPPEN.

Obviously he had some bad luck with Charles going into a wall ending Q3 prematurely. But man on race day did he come to play.

As I always say, there are levels to this sport - and I think this performance by red bull racing shows that . He made Checo look like his junior and really answered any questions on who the number 1 driver of the Red Bull team is after this weekend.

I found it crazy that a lot of people were giving Max slack based on his inability to really muster something up in Baku. Twitter stays undefeated saying that Sergio Perez may be the better drive?!

Let us give credit where it is due, Checo is a different animal on street circuits (kind of like today although I call Miami a hybrid). While Max is the best driver on the planet overall. The way he managed his tyres today and continue to get even more pace after the tyres were 30 laps old was incredible.

I do think that this year could end up being a battle between the teammates. The one thing that Sergio has going for him is the “curse” that in the past 6 years the driver that wins the first race of the year doesn’t go on to win the Drivers Championship.

I'll end off with a couple of notes:

  • Fernando Alonso continues to impress and just scored podium after podium. There’s a serious gap between him and Lance Stroll. I believe Lawrence Stroll has to make a decision on his son if he’s serious about having a championship level team in his 5 year window. Yes they are contending for second best but let’s just be honest. They are pretenders

  • What’s going on over at McLaren? I just shake my head when I see both McLaren drivers out before we get to Q2.

  • I know their car was struggling on this track but damn man. I don’t know who is a worse driver at the moment (not skill but based off of performance and mental) Nyck De Vries, or Logan Sargent. Alfa Romeo has looked god awful but it’s to be expected with leadership changes since Frédéric Vasseur went to Ferrari as Team Principal.

Until Imola my friends!