Miami Grand Prix team ratings: A perfect 10 and poor pit calls from McLaren and Alfa
As part of PlanetF1.com’s race coverage for the 2023 season, we will be providing team ratings for how each garage performed at every weekend.
For those of you familiar with our driver ratings, the format will largely be the same but with some key differences as to what ratings will be awarded for.
To start, these ratings are focusing on the team away from the drivers. We are mainly focused on not only strategy and pit stop performance but also the reliability of the car, but other than that, it should be exactly the same as you are already used to, so let’s dive in:
Red Bull – 10
It is becoming largely predictable that Red Bull produce near perfect weekend after weekend every race but such is their dominance right now that anything other than a 10 would seem unfair.
If you were being ultra-critical, you could mark them down for failing to put Sergio Perez on what proved to be the best of the strategies (hards onto mediums) but in reality it was a smart move by the team to split their plans so that if one proved better than the other, then they had their bases covered.
Max Verstappen’s P9 start was also nothing to do with the team as a gust of wind sent him wide in his first run and they did not have the time to get a second run in before Charles Leclerc’s crash. Maximum points both in the standings and in our rating.
Aston Martin – 8
A tale of two halves for Aston Martin this weekend for while Fernando Alonso again made it to the podium, there are question marks as to why Lance Stroll struggled so much.
Contrary to a growing narrative around Stroll, his performances have not been bad this season which makes his slump in Miami all the more puzzling. Was it the car? Alonso’s result would suggest otherwise but something was up with the Canadian in Miami.
Stroll admitted post-race that having started on the hards, they should have boxed a couple laps earlier to really make the most of the mediums in their second stint which drops the team’s rating down a little.
Mercedes – 8.5
After Lewis Hamilton’s disappointing Q2 exit, Mercedes were right to risk a different strategy to Russell as it proved advantageous late on in the race. Hamilton was able to make his way up through the top 10, something that seemed unlikely after qualifying, and reached as high as sixth in a crucial second stint.
On the other side of the garage, it was a case of making the most of the mediums early on before choosing the right moment to swap over and Mercedes duly did that.
They still need added performance but all signs suggest that is coming at the next race in Imola.
Ferrari – 7.5
An average weekend for Ferrari with P5 for Carlos Sainz and P7 for Charles Leclerc but considering the current performance of the SF-23, it is about the best they could hope for.
When looking at Ferrari errors this weekend, it is hard to pin any of them on the team itself for it was not them behind the wheel both times Leclerc crashed.
Looking at the race itself, it could be argued that they did not put either driver on the quicker option of hard to medium but there is just a big of an argument to suggest that Ferrari’s tyre deg is so bad that it would not have worked in their favour.
In the end, they left Miami with 16 points and plenty of work to do before now and lights out at Imola.
Alpine – 8
The team split their strategies which seemed the smart call considering that hards onto mediums proved to be the optimum choice. It also gave the drivers a chance to work as a team with Esteban Ocon, who was on a longer stint, able to hold up the top 10 as his team-mate Pierre Gasly on fresh tyres closed the gap.
The result was a double points score for the team, their second of the season.
McLaren – 6
Ignoring the continued lack of performance of the MCL60 that resulted in a horrendous qualifying, it was an odd choice for the McLaren strategists to start both drivers on the softs.
Any hope of quickly jumping a few spots was put to bed when Lando Norris received a nasty shunt from behind but the tyre degradation on a hot Miami track was so bad that it came as no surprise to see both McLaren drivers dive into the pits early on.
From them, their drivers were tasked with making a fresh set of hards last 53 laps which they duly did but at the expense of any kind of performance.
Haas – 7.5
Their weekend started off in fantastic fashion with a P4 spot for Kevin Magnussen and Haas were wise to start the Dane on the medium to give him as much chance as possible to hold onto his lofty position. He found the going tough still, slipping down to seventh before his stop.
Haas may have hoped he could hold out for a little longer as he was susceptible to being overtaken by Tsunoda late on but ultimately, he kept hold of that P10 spot.
It was the opposite strategy for Nico Hulkenberg who started on the hard and was up to fifth at one point. Like with Magnussen, there are question marks as to whether they brought the German in too soon as he did just seven laps fewer on the medium than he did on the hards but perhaps that is a characteristic of the VF-23.
Alfa Romeo – 6.5
Valtteri Bottas earned his best start of the season in Miami and even moved up to eighth by the end of lap 1. Come lap 14, he was still battling for the top 10 but the team call to then bring him in seemed an early and ultimately bad choice.
Perhaps the tyres were degrading at a rapid rate but it put Bottas in 16th and he never returned to the top 10.
He did get as high as P11 at one point but as his old tyres gave way, he ended 13th.
Zhou meanwhile had another race where he was never in danger of challenging for a point. Alfa started him on the hard but he was the first on that compound to pit meaning he had nothing left to challenge with late on.
AlphaTauri – 7.5
There must be certain people within the AlphaTauri base that are both banging their head on the wall and jumping for joy as time after time, one driver does well and the other not so much.
We will start with the not so much and Nyck de Vries continued his poor start to the season by driving straight into the back of Lando Norris in the opening lap yet somehow both escaped without any serious damage. Having made it through to Q2, De Vries needed to do better but as was the case with Ferrari and Leclerc, it is not the team’s fault for a driver error.
In terms of strategy and performing De Vries’ pit stop, AlphaTauri did as much as they could do in the situation.
At least the other side of the garage is performing as Yuki Tsunoda continues his run of results written entirely in binary code. Starting on the hard, Tsunoda was up to P8 by the time of his stop but did AlphaTauri perhaps call him in a little too soon?
Only Nico Hülkenberg and Zhou Gaunyu pitted earlier on the hards which meant Tsunoda maybe did not have enough to attack the points paying spots late on, just finishing short of Kevin Magnussen by less than two seconds.
Williams – 7
It was not Williams’ fault that Logan Sargeant damaged his front wing during the opening lap but that 44-second stop would have felt like an entirety for the American in his home race. Credit should go to the mechanics though for getting it done as quickly as they could.
Even ignoring the time lost on the early pit stop, Sargeant’s race was pretty much done at that point as he was forced to go the rest of the race on the hards.
For Alex Albon, they opted to start him on the medium and chose to keep him out longer than anyone but than Aston Martin. It was strange then that the former Red Bull man seemed to lack pace towards the end and gradually sunk down the order until his P14 finish.