2022 Miami GP Race Review – Verstappen Wins Ahead of Leclerc

2022 Miami GP Race Review – Verstappen Wins Ahead of Leclerc

At the 2022 Miami Grand Prix, the Americans proved that they know how to put on a show. The racing itself was the least spectacular part of the weekend. The celebrities that attended the race, the wonderful grandstands and scenery, and the many PR events all bedazzled the race weekend. The amount of hype that was made and the build-up to the race was incredibly entertaining. Their goal was to make it known that the 2022 Miami GP is coming and that it was worth watching. Ahead of the Miami GP, people leaked F1 22 Gameplay, and then EA allowed content creators to upload Miami GP Gameplay from a preview build of the F1 22 Game. With all of these events in place, many fans, including me, couldn’t wait to see the 2022 Miami GP.

The drivers themselves were excited about racing in Miami. It was a new circuit that the track designers designed for good overtaking, but the circuit also had a technical section. With the new cars and regulations, the Miami GP was supposed to be a treat for the drivers and fans. While the atmosphere was electric, the racing itself didn’t seem to be the same. This is because the TV Direction at the 2022 Miami GP wasn’t at the standard that it should’ve been.

Now that F1 races are more exciting, there’s a lot more pressure on the TV directors. They have to show the right thing at the right time, and it doesn’t seem to be going that well for them. The TV Direction is something we’ll look at in this post. We will, of course, analyse Red Bull vs Ferrari battle. We’ll also take a look at the many meme-worthy and cringe moments from the race weekend. It’s safe to say the race promoter pushed it a bit too far with the glamour.

The Lion Was ON FIRE As Red Bull Defeat Rivals

2022 Miami GP: Verstappen Beats Leclerc To Win

Max Verstappen won the inaugural Miami Grand Prix after a fantastic drive to beat both of the Ferrari drivers. When it came to raw pace, Ferrari couldn’t do anything to beat Red Bull. Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez was very close to overtaking Sainz to make it a double-podium for RB. But thankfully for Ferrari, Sainz managed to hold on and take the podium. Charles Leclerc started on pole position, but couldn’t convert that to the race win because Max Verstappen charged to victory. Verstappen has now won every race that he has finished in 2022. To be fair to Leclerc, in the races where Verstappen retired, Leclerc was clearly faster and was going to win even if Verstappen finished the race. But how did Verstappen get the measure of Leclerc at the 2022 Miami GP?

One of the main differences that were visible on track was the straight-line speed. The Red Bull cars clearly had better straight-line speed than the Ferrari cars. And once Verstappen got into Leclerc’s DRS, Leclerc couldn’t do anything to keep the reigning champion at bay. This is not likely to be due to a difference in how powerful or reliable the Red Bull engines are. This is more to do with the setups on the cars. It seems that Charles Leclerc went for a higher downforce setup, meaning there would be more drag on his car, and Verstappen would be faster in the straights. It makes sense to go for a setup with more downforce. That would’ve helped Leclerc in the technical sections of the first and third sectors.

But if you look at the Miami International Autodrome, there are 2 long straights, and then there’s the main straight. And there is also a bit of a stretch from Turn 3 to Turn 4. That means that a lower downforce setup would be very helpful in catching the car ahead and then overtaking them. The high-downforce setup may have worked for Ferrari in qualifying, but it didn’t help their race pace. But straight-line speed wasn’t Ferrari’s biggest problem. The problem that hit them in Miami has been haunting them for a while now. And that is tire degradation.

2022 Miami GP Start

Ferrari’s tire deg gremlins made a return at the 2022 Miami GP. When I think of Ferrari struggling with tire degradation, the 2021 French GP comes to my mind. That race was incredibly difficult for Ferrari because after a few laps on a set of fresh tires, the tires would degrade heavily, with both drivers experiencing graining on the front tires. At the 2022 Miami GP, the tire deg issues weren’t as severe. But the issues were enough for Red Bull and Verstappen to grab the win. This time, the Ferraris actually had strong pace in the early laps. That explains why Ferrari locked out the front row of the grid in quali. But after a few laps, the Ferraris simply couldn’t maintain lap time.

Let’s compare Leclerc to Verstappen at the beginning of the race. In the first 5 laps, Leclerc built a 1.4-second gap to Verstappen. That’s exactly what Leclerc needed – Verstappen was out of his DRS, and Leclerc could just carry on with his race. However, after Lap 5, the gap started coming down. Leclerc’s tires were already going off, whereas the Red Bulls had consistent pace. Sainz might not have struggled with tire deg as much as Leclerc did, because he managed to keep a consistent gap to Perez over the course of the race. But Perez faced engine issues throughout the race that limited him; and yet he still kept a consistent gap to Sainz. This means that on raw pace Sainz would’ve been slower if it hadn’t been for Perez’s issue.

This tire deg problem is something that Ferrari needed to sort out. It might not have affected their race as much if Verstappen didn’t execute this race as perfectly as he did. He got Sainz off the race start, leaving Leclerc open and vulnerable. As I mentioned earlier, Leclerc stretched a gap in the first 5 laps. But 3 laps later, Verstappen had closed that gap down and overtook Leclerc into Turn 1. After that, Leclerc never got the chance to get back at Verstappen. He even dropped back a bit, allowing his teammate to get within 3 or 4 seconds of him. Leclerc did have another chance of getting the lead of the race back. That was when the Safety Car period ended on Lap 47.

2022 Miami GP: Verstappen, Leclerc, Sainz on the podium

Although Verstappen got a fantastic restart, Leclerc could’ve used this golden opportunity to try and overtake Verstappen on a set of Hards that weren’t fresh, but still had pace in them thanks to the tires cooling down and not being used much during the SC period. Leclerc maintained a gap of less than 1 second for around 6-7 laps. But in the last 4 or 5 laps of the race, Verstappen increased the gap to around 3.8 seconds. At this point, it’s clear that Ferrari’s performance was severely hindered by these tire deg issues, especially for Leclerc. Verstappen is definitely showing the strength of a World Champion right now. After the first 2 or 3 races, it looked like Leclerc had this championship in the bag. But Verstappen had other plans!

Now that we’ve looked at Verstappen and Leclerc, let’s look at Sainz vs Perez. Sainz needed that podium after 2 DNFs in Australia and Imola. His pace wasn’t really strong, because Leclerc and Verstappen just pulled away after the first round of pitstops. Sergio Perez also had fairly strong race, and he attempted to make a move on Sainz on Lap 52 of 57. It was the closing stages of the race, and Perez finally decided to go for the move into Turn 1.

I expected some more patience from him, but I understand that it must’ve been frustrating sitting behind Sainz for the whole race. Perez locked up into Turn 1, allowing Sainz to do a switchback to retain P3. There was barely any grip off the racing line, making overtaking difficult. After that, Perez just stayed around a second behind Sainz. However, the race ended with Perez 2.4 seconds behind Sainz. Overall, in quali, Ferrari were stronger because they had great pace over a lap. But in terms of race pace and consistency, Red Bull absolutely nailed it.

The Underwhelming TV Direction

As it did for many F1 fans, the F1 TV Direction ruined the 2022 Miami GP for me. It didn’t completely ruin the race, but with a high standard of TV direction, the race would’ve been much more enjoyable and memorable. And after a wonderful action-packed 2021 season, the pressure has been on the broadcast team. They have added pressure to show the right thing at the right time. And they’ve been very successful at it in the past. That’s why it’s frustrating for fans that suddenly the TV direction was terrible in Miami.

But what exactly was the problem? So first of all, let’s talk about the crowd shots. Crowd shots are when the camera cuts to a shot of some random people in the crowd enjoying the race. I usually enjoy crowd shots – it allows you to see people’s reactions or people enjoying the race. It gives a few lucky people to be live on TV. But the thing about crowd shots is that during a race, the crowd shots are never supposed to interfere with the on-track action.

But in Miami, the broadcast team didn’t place the crowd shots well. For example, at one point in the race when Leclerc closed up to Verstappen, the broadcast cut to the crowd. We could be watching a potential BATTLE FOR THE LEAD. But no, we’re watching the crowd. I think we all know that in an F1 race, especially one that isn’t particularly exciting, when something that is exciting or potentially exciting comes up, we want to see it. Granted, the crowd was energised in Miami, and that’s something the people at home would love to see. But nothing is more important than the on-track racing action.

Another example of the bad TV direction was the number of midfield battles that the directors missed. In the lower midfield with the Aston Martins and Haas cars, there were plenty of battles going on. But on the screen, all you could was the Top 4. At one point, the Haas drivers were fighting each other, and the Mercedes drivers were fighting each other, but all you could see was an aerial shot of Perez just driving behind Sainz. We were seeing nothing special instead of seeing actual battles taking place.

F1 fans could’ve remembered the Miami GP as one of the Top 3 most exciting races of the year so far. It’s not like it was incredibly exciting – overtaking was tough due to the lack of grip when the cars went off the racing line. But it was seen as a race that was only exciting at the end of the race because of the Safety Car. And even some of that excitement wasn’t shown properly.

I’m being very critical of the broadcast team because they’ve done very well in recent years. There were some anomalies, like in Monaco, but the Monaco GP broadcast was handled by different people than the rest of the races. So the regular F1 broadcast team weren’t even responsible for that. That’s why it was surprising and disappointing that they didn’t do well at all at the Miami GP.

The Marvelous Memes

Lastly, let’s end this post on a positive note. With all of the extravaganza from this race came hilarious memes. The most famous of them, of course, is the meme from the marina. The Miami International Autodrome included a marina on the inside of Turn 7. The race promoters were trying to make a beautiful marina. It would have yachts in a pool of water and a small wooden dock. However, there was one small issue. The promoters didn’t get the permission they needed in time for the race, so they couldn’t put any actual water in the marina.

The fake marina got even more fake! They had to place some sort of platform which they painted in order to make it at least look like real water. Sky Sports F1 journalist Craig Slater didn’t hesitate to take the mickey out of the bay while explaining why the marina didn’t have any actual water in it.

Another part of the Miami GP that blew up on the internet was Martin Brundle’s grid walk. With the grid crawling with celebs, the gridwalk was an absolute nightmare for Martin Brundle. The commentator did a brilliant job of dealing with the commotion. The chaos stirred up debates on social media about how these grid walks are pure mayhem. Martin Brundle probably felt like he had the hardest job in the world while navigating the jam-packed grid.

He had to try multiple times to speak to the celebrities simply because they couldn’t really hear him. On top of that, he was misinformed on the grid walk when approaching Paolo Banchero. He thought he was speaking to Patrick Mahomes. That made the gridwalk extremely awkward for him. Martin Brundle was being hailed for being an absolute legend with how he handled the difficult gridwalk. He took it on the chin and kept going, and kept the fans entertained with plenty of sarcasm. It’s safe to say that Martin Brundle is a fan favourite, especially after that gridwalk.

Some people said that celebrities and VIPs shouldn’t be crowding the grid before the race. I understand the concern, because it makes things a lot harder for the drivers and for people like Martin Brundle who are on the grid because they are actually doing their jobs. Drivers need to focus and get in the zone before the race, and the commotion on the grid certainly wouldn’t be helping.

The last time F1 raced in the US before the 2022 Miami GP was at COTA for the 2021 US GP. There was another gridwalk controversy there when Martin Brundle was trying to talk to Megan Thee Stallion on the grid walk, and her bodyguards pushed him away. She didn’t even mind talking to him, but the bodyguards were rude, which sparked even more debates.

Let me know what you guys think in the comments below – do you think that nobody other than F1 personnel should be allowed on the grid? I personally think it should be much more limited in terms of who can go on the grid before the race. Martin Brundle himself expressed his dislike for gridwalks. Given how awkward and difficult they are, his statement was not too surprising. But his gridwalk moments remain nothing short of iconic.

The last main meme-worthy moments where the post-race procedures. They were absolutely HILARIOUS! The race promoter made the post-race ceremony so American that even Americans hated it. Just look at their reactions on Twitter! First of all, the post-race interviews. The post-race interviews are conducted just after the race where someone, usually a former F1 driver, interviews the top 3 finishers. People like Mark Webber and David Coulthard often conduct these. But this time, Willy T. Ribbs conducted them. Ribbs is a racing veteran who was the first African-American man to test an F1 car and to compete in the Indy 500. He won 17 races in the Trans-Am Series.

The interviews were very awkward and uncomfortable. At some points, it seemed like Ribbs didn’t really know much about F1. He also didn’t bring much energy to the interviews. I don’t have anything against him as a person or a racing driver, but I don’t think he was the right person for the post-race interviews. The post-race procedures also included the police giving the race winner a police escort under the stadium to the podium. After that long and strange journey, the podium finishers finally got on the podium and started spraying the champ- OH WAIT. There’s more.

The drivers were forced to wear American football helmets on the podium. Normally, they would wear the Pirelli caps, but to make the podium celebration seem more unique, they made the drivers wear helmets. And when the drivers took the helmets off and started spraying the champagne, confetti cannons fired. It’s fair to say that F1 fans mocked this post-race procedure heavily. I guess the ceremony worked because it made the inaugural Miami GP unforgetful and pretty popular. The glamour, the gridwalk, and the F1 22 Gameplay seemed more memorable to me than the actual racing when it comes to looking back at the 2022 Miami GP. This is, of course, because of the TV Direction. I hope you enjoyed this post – stay safe, stay on the lookout for new posts, and enjoy F1ntastic!

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