Miami Grand Prix: Max Verstappen takes Sprint victory as FIA punish Hamilton and Magnussen

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen in the Red Bull garage at the 2024 Miami Grand Prix.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen.

Max Verstappen may not have been happy with his tyres, but strolled nonetheless to Sprint victory at the Miami Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc would secure the runner-up spot, while it proved to be a highly-eventful Sprint for Lewis Hamilton, who encountered a first-lap shunt and a Haas driver defending like his life depended on it in Kevin Magnussen. That was not the end of his dramas though.

Max Verstappen takes Miami Sprint victory

Before the Sprint had even gotten underway, Esteban Ocon was handed a 10-second time penalty after clipping Leclerc’s Ferrari as he drove out of the Alpine garage.

That incident also left Ocon in need of a front wing change ahead of the 19-lap race.

With that drama cleared up, it was on to the racing, with all drivers bar Yuki Tsunoda and Logan Sargeant selecting the medium compound tyre, with no pit stops mandatory in a Sprint. Tsunoda and Sargeant went for the softs.

Verstappen turned pole into the lead at the start as Leclerc maintained P2, while a look from Sergio Perez backfired as he went wide at Turn 1 and Daniel Ricciardo squeezed through into P3.

The Safety Car was out though on the opening lap with Lando Norris down and out at Turn 1, an innocent casualty as Lewis Hamilton and Lance Stroll sandwiched Stroll’s Aston Martin team-mate Fernando Alonso, Norris punted into retirement with Stroll also eliminated. Alonso dropped to the back.

After a quick look, the stewards decided to take no further action. recommends

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Come Lap 3 the Sprint was back underway, Verstappen acing his restart to avoid any challenge from Leclerc behind, with Ricciardo, Perez and Carlos Sainz completing the early top five.

Perez only needed until Lap 5 to clear Ricciardo’s RB, as Sainz then set about trying to further demote the Aussie on-form in Miami.

Norris’ day went from bad to worse meanwhile, as the stewards confirmed that he would be investigated post-session for crossing the track after exiting his McLaren.

Out front as the Sprint entered its second-half, Verstappen was not enjoying life at the wheel of his RB20. His buffer over Leclerc was two seconds, though when asked to give a tyre update, he concerningly replied: “Terrible, zero rear-grip, like qualy.”

A potential battle was brewing, but two ding-dong affairs continued to rumble on as Ricciardo kept up his valiant defence against Sainz, while Kevin Magnussen was hit with a 10-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage as he pulled out every stop to try to keep Hamilton at bay, the duo even banging wheels at one stage.

Magnussen soon was shown a black and white flag for driving standards, though did not seem to care as he drove himself and Hamilton off the track at the end of the back straight, Hamilton dropping a position as Yuki Tsunoda moved up to P9.

Hamilton would at last clear Magnussen – who received another 10-second penalty – leaving him with three-and-a-half laps to break into the points, which he did, or so he thought, with a last-lap pass on Tsunoda. Hamilton would instead receive a drive-through penalty – converted to 20 seconds – for speeding in the pit-lane.

Verstappen meanwhile secured victory, as Leclerc and Perez completed the top three.

2024 Miami Grand Prix Sprint classification

1 Max VERSTAPPEN Red Bull Racing
2 Charles LECLERC Ferrari +3.371
3 Sergio PEREZ Red Bull Racing +5.095
4 Daniel RICCIARDO RB +14.971
5 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari +15.222
6 Oscar PIASTRI McLaren +15.750
7 Nico HULKENBERG Haas F1 Team +22.054
8 Yuki TSUNODA RB +29.816
9 Pierre GASLY Alpine +31.880
10 Logan SARGEANT Williams +34.355
11 Guanyu ZHOU Kick Sauber +35.078
12 George RUSSELL Mercedes +35.755
13 Alexander ALBON Williams +36.086
14 Valtteri BOTTAS Kick Sauber +36.892
15 Esteban OCON Alpine +37.740
16 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes +49.347
17 Fernando ALONSO Aston Martin +59.409
18 Kevin MAGNUSSEN Haas F1 Team +66.303
DNF Lance STROLL Aston Martin
DNF Lando NORRIS McLaren

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