The jersey in the colors of the Miami Dolphins with his name and the number 1 left Max Verstappen hanging in the winning cabin. The world champion was able to do without all the trappings at the Formula 1 spectacle in Miami in his demonstration of power.
He had already taken care of the big show on the track, also according to US taste. "The 2023 Miami Grand Prix wiped away all questions as to whether the Dutch superstar is in a class of his own in the sport above all others," wrote the Miami Herald.
Also about Sergio Pérez. The Mexican, who was upset after his successes in Baku, had to admit timidly: "The performance he showed today was unattainable for me." With ninth place on the grid after a mistake in qualifying, Verstappen had made it difficult for himself. It was his contribution to a Grand Prix in the interest of the US audience. Verstappen raced heroically to his 38th career win - all for Red Bull.
Verstappen draws level with Vettel
He drew level with Sebastian Vettel, who celebrated 38 of his 53rd Grand Prix victories during his wedding at Red Bull. The current PS pensioner had won four titles in a row back then. There are two at Verstappen, the third in a row it will be after the impressions from Florida this year.
"Verstappen, the Martian," wrote Italy's "Gazzatta dello Sport" after the 25-year-old Dutchman's "science fiction" comeback. "Max Verstappen ridiculed the whole ensemble by winning the race in an impressive way," said the French sports newspaper "L'Équipe". "You can't step him," the British "Sun" allowed itself a little play on words.
Verstappen extended the lead in the World Championship classification to 14 points. Pérez remains second. The pole position was not enough for victory in Miami, which would have been enough for the championship lead. The 33-year-old Mexican, on whom the hopes of some fans rest for a somehow exciting world title fight, was visibly crushed but fair.
Ferrari is preoccupied with itself
Because it also became clear in Miami: Ferrari is once again fighting with itself and after fifth and seventh place for Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc is frustrated before the home race in Imola. After all, Mercedes left the Hard Rock Stadium of the Miami Dolpins with a little mood lift thanks to fourth place from George Russell and sixth place from Lewis Hamilton, but nothing more. And Aston Martin, more precisely Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin, is the second strongest force behind the Red Bull duo.
But the 41-year-old world champion from 2005 and 2006 can't get close either. Instead, in his lonely race in third place, he even had enough time to follow the race a bit on the big screens and to chat with his pits about a maneuver made by his teammate Lance Stroll.
How much will change at the upcoming European start in Imola remains to be seen. All teams will compete with updates to their cars. A week later the classic in Monaco is coming up, a week later the race on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Criticism and US show
Most drivers are pleased that the show character of the European three-pack will not be quite as pronounced as in the USA, where things will continue in Austin in October and the crowning glory of the spectacle will be in Las Vegas in November. The pre-Miami presentation by rappers LL Cool Ja and will.i.am was not well received.
"I'm open to new things, but I don't need that," said Mercedes driver George Russell. "None of the drivers like it," even McLaren driver Lando Norris claimed. "Some people like to be in the spotlight, others don't. Personally, I don't like doing it. For me, what they did today was not necessary," said Verstappen.
Those who positioned themselves felt particularly disturbed in their immediate preparation for the race. While otherwise exchanging final details with their race engineers, they waited at the Miami International Autodrome until LL Cool J called out each one with much pathos. "As long as it doesn't happen too often, it's okay," said Verstappen's team-mate Pérez.
"If we do it, then everywhere. I don't think the fans in Miami are better than in Imola, in Spain, in Mexico or in Japan," countered Alonso, who is generally not a fan of the big show either. Unless on the track. But again this year she mainly delivers Max Verstappen.