The Formula 1 season entered the panhandle this weekend as Miami played host to the first race of the season on American soil. From Lewis entering in a shimmery gown to Verstappen's triumphant return! So much happened on the track at the 2023 Miami Grand Prix and we're here to break down the five biggest takeaways from a suddenly interesting F1 season.
Before we get to the Headlines, how did today's bet on the Miami Grand Prix fair?
A points finish for both Lewis Hamilton and Lance Stroll was a tough task from the beginning. With Hamilton failing to make Q3 and Stroll surprisingly failing to make Q2, both would have a lot of work to do in order for this bet to hit.
The price of +195 was too juicy to pass up for two of the fastest cars on the grid. Lewis performed admirably but Stroll was stuck in a battle for the end in 10th place and just couldn't get it done. Great racing by both and a bet I would make again, but today just wasn't our day.
F1 fans around the world are hoping for a title fight at the top and if Miami is any indication, they are in for a treat. Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen might be on the same team, but they are very much at each other's throats in this Drivers' Championship battle.
They both are driving the fastest car on the grid and seemingly each week will be dueling to finish atop the other one. Team orders may be called into play during the later parts of the season but for now, it's a free-for-all. And it's wonderful.
While the difference in strategy led to Verstappen coming away with a relatively easy late pass on teammate Sergio Perez, it seems like the two are on the same level and neither will be willing to give up the trophy without a fight.
Carlos Sainz was on his way to a wonderful race, fighting with Fernando Alonso through and through and in the range of nailing a podium finish. Then a horrible lockup on his way into pit lane caused him to break the speed limit and receive a 5-second penalty. Not quite as damaging as the penalty that Sainz took in Australia, but that plus a lackluster finish and Carlos sadly landed in 5th place.
Charles Leclerc's crash in qualifying caused the Q3 grid to be finalized a few minutes early and left Charles stuck in 7th. Driving a Ferrari though, it seemed Leclerc could work his way through the field and come away with a respectable finish. He did not. Struggling to pass the likes of Kevin Magnussen all day caused Leclerc to barely improve his starting position. If this is the Ferrari we are going to get all season it is a far fall from the 2022 version.
With many presuming that the Miami Grand Prix would be a one-stop race, drivers and teams had to decide whether to start on the Hard tyre or the Medium tyre. Those at the front went with the Medium, with hopes of going as long as possible and catching the field in the end with a mid-race Hard tyre run. Those at the back, Max Verstappen included, decided to run with the Hards from the start and create enough of a gap to cruise to a finish on the Medium compound.
With many teammates on different compounds to start the race, it led to some interesting driver jumbling at the end. Overall the Hard-First strategy seemed to win out, as we saw with Verstappen's overtake on teammate Sergio Perez. This is why the strategists get paid the big bucks as many races are won or lost not by the drivers but by the headsets on pit wall.
Logan Sargeant grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and has struggled in his first season in F1. Consistently finishing well behind his Williams teammate in both qualifying and race results and still searching for his first points finish of the season. Many had hopes that would come in his hometown Grand Prix.
It did not.
A bad qualifying session saw Sargeant start at the back of the pack and an early pit stop front wing change saw him carry the rear of the field for much of the day. In the end, he came in last. Not the homecoming to remember.
Have a day Princess George. Mercedes were not happy with their qualifying results but George made up for it and more on race day. Cruising through the field he ended up just off of the podium with a near perfect race. Confidence is key when it comes to this Mercedes team and this weekend could be the one that vaults them into the race for second place in the Constructors' Championship.
Viva La Italia! We head to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday, May 21st for the sixth race of the season. Can we get another fight from the two matadors on Red Bull? Only time will tell.
Head on over to FanDuel Sportsbook to make your predictions for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as well as who you think is going to finish the season at the top of the leaderboard.