Red Bull drivers to be split, Russell to beat Hamilton and more Miami GP predictions

Pablo Hidalgo
Miami Grand Prix predictions

Only a big surprise can prevent another Max Verstappen victory.

Having experienced the Sprint format and an interesting yet confusing qualifying session compared to what we have seen before at the Miami International Autodrome, the drivers are now turning their attention to the main event of the weekend.

Sunday’s Grand Prix looks to be an exciting one with a number of unknowns to be answered and, having seen and analysed the data from all the sessions so far this weekend, has laid out our prediction for the top 10 for the race, and encourage you to also make a prediction and discuss what Sunday’s race may hold.

If there are no incidents and we have a clean race, it is clearly a one-stopper. Medium-hard or hard-medium for those drivers who find themselves out of position and want to extend the first stint to have some clean air before making the first – and only – stop of the Grand Prix.

Miami GP predictions: Top 10 finishers

Max Verstappen

A classic prediction. Dominating the whole weekend so far, the whole season – except for the Australian GP and the Chinese Sprint Qualy, an encouraging long run pace on the mediums during FP, a Sprint pole even with mistakes, easy win on the Sprint race, easy pole on qualifying… Only a big surprise can prevent another Max Verstappen victory.

Charles Leclerc

The Ferrari driver is likely to be the revelation of the weekend. After not even three laps in the only practice session of the weekend, Monegasque broke all the rules to finish P2 only behind Verstappen in Sprint Quali, Sprint race and qualifying.

The Ferrari performs very well in high track temperatures in both qualifying and race. The pace of the FP long run was very promising, not enough to catch the Red Bulls, but enough to be the alternative. And all this without updates in Miami.

It is important to note in support of this prediction that Verstappen did not manage to pull more than 2.5 seconds clear of Leclerc after 19 laps of the Sprint race.

Sergio Perez

The Mexican missed out on P3 in qualifying by five-thousandths of a second. Red Bull’s pace is superior to Ferrari’s and although it is difficult to overtake, he should at least reach the podium.

If Ferrari is on pace and wants to fight for the win, it can sacrifice the optimal strategy of Carlos Sainz – who is behind Leclerc and also has no contract for 2025 – to protect the Monegasque’s P2 against a more than probable Perez challenge.

Carlos Sainz

As discussed above. If Ferrari want the win – and indeed the pace allows them to fight for it – they will have to sacrifice the Spaniard’s strategy if Leclerc cannot pass Verstappen on equal terms.

Moreover, Sainz is the perfect obstacle for Perez to miss the podium position. If the Spaniard wants to work as a team – and on many occasions he has shown himself to be a gentleman in that respect – Ferrari has the perfect opportunity to save the day in style before introducing its 2.0 car at Imola.

Lando Norris

Actually, we put the first of the McLarens here because we don’t really know the real race pace of the ‘upgraded’ MCL38.

In theory, and from what we saw in the Sprint race, Ferrari is a small step ahead… but just as we have seen substantial performance changes between Friday’s Sprint Qualy and Saturday’s qualifying, why can’t we expect big things from the Papaya team?

Oscar Piastri

Except for the Sprint race – where Norris was knocked out in Turn 1 – the Australian has been behind the Briton virtually all weekend.

The car with all the upgrades works better than the one with only 50% of the upgrades. Moreover, if there are no changes at the start and in race pace that would lead Piastri to overtake his teammate, the optimal strategy will fall on the Briton’s side.

George Russell

It is difficult to put Mercedes in a set position this season and even more so this weekend. On a circuit where the working temperature of the tyres decreases, for them it decreases even more and that makes the car unpredictable, capable of the best and the worst.

From what we saw in the Sprint Race, they should be on race pace ahead of the mid/low end of the grid. Moreover, this time they won’t have them as obstacles and will be able to directly measure themselves against McLaren.

We put George Russell ahead of Lewis Hamilton because of the difficulty of overtaking in similar conditions and because of George’s favourable head-to-head trend this season.

Lewis Hamilton

Nothing to add to the previous position. He should be ahead of the mid/lower zone, but behind his teammate.

The team should benefit the driver in front before the one-stop window in terms of strategy. So he should attack as much as possible – if possible without damaging the race of other drivers – at the start.

Yuki Tsunoda

After seeing Daniel Ricciardo’s performance in the Sprint race, why not think that the Japanese could score some points? The RB seems to be slightly better suited than the rest of the cars in the middle/lower half of the grid.

Lance Stroll

After outqualifying the great Fernando Alonso in both Sprint Qualifying and qualifying, the Canadian has a great chance to grab a point and salvage a disappointing weekend for Aston Martin.

He was unable to complete the Sprint race due to an incident with Hamilton, Alonso, himself and Lando Norris and although the pace of the AMR24 is not promising, he should be able to fight with Tsunoda and Nico Hülkenberg for the final points positions.

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