Max Verstappen, a Dutch Formula One driver for Red Bull Racing, met with reporters on Thursday at the Miami International Autodrome in Miami Gardens, Florida, to discuss the race. Photo by Greg Nash/UPI/License: Public Domain
UPI News Service, MIAMI GARDENS, Fla., May 7 There was already a lot of heat in Max Verstappen’s seat since Sergio “Checo” Perez was narrowing the points gap, but things will become considerably hotter on Sunday at the Miami Grand Prix, when Formula 1 drivers will battle one other in the Florida heat.
The second iteration of the event will get underway with a thumbs-up at 3:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday, November 11, at the Miami International Autodrome in Miami Gardens, Florida. ABC and ESPN+ will broadcast the race.
In the inaugural running of the Miami Grand Prix, two-time defending Formula One champion Verstappen came out on top. His Red Bull Racing teammate Perez will likely be his toughest rival.
“It’s really hard and extremely damp,” Verstappen said. It’s still really warm, but I think it’s a little cooler than it was this time last year. When we get in the cars, we’ll be able to see more clearly. It’s going to be a rough weekend, I’m afraid.
In the 191-mile race, Formula 1 cars will do 57 laps around the 3.3-mile track, reaching speeds of 215 mph in 2015 in Miami Gardens. As drivers navigate the track’s 19 twists and turns, they’ll be greeted by screaming fans and the swaying royal palm tree leaves.
It is expected that about a quarter of a million fans will attend, and that many famous people will be there as well. The drivers trained on Friday and Saturday afternoons, but more time was needed to get them ready to sit in the hot seats on Sunday.
Because heat exhausts the body and mind, several competitors have ranked the Miami Grand Prix as one of the “most difficult” events of the year.
“It looks rather enjoyable on paper and in the simulator,” said Nico Hulkenberg of Haas Ferrari, the lone American F1 team. Incredibly good! It’s well-ventilated and comfortable to use. I can’t wait to go out there and work up a sweat!
Drivers have prepared for the oven-like temperatures by using race simulations and other cardiovascular activities like jogging and bicycling. Some of the drivers who took that course still believe their cars aren’t fast enough to challenge the current leaders in the standings.
On March 5 in Bahrain, Verstappen won the opening race of the season, and Perez finished second. The next day, March 19, in Saudi Arabia, Perez won and Verstappen finished second. On April 2 in Australia, Verstappen won again.
On April 30 in Azerbaijan, Perez announced his second victory, with Verstappen in second place. The victory reduced Verstappen’s lead to only 6 points.
I think we want to focus on trying to make our vehicles better and quicker and trying to stay ahead of everybody else,” Verstappen said of his partnership with Perez. That’s our top priority; everything else can wait until we get to the racecourse.
Each Formula 1 race has a point value of 25. The difference between second and third place is 18 and 15 points. Drivers that finish in fourth and fifth place receive 12 and 10 points, respectively. The remaining Top 10 chauffeurs each receive between eight and one point, depending on their final placing. Those who place 11th through 10th receive no points.
Third-placed Fernando Alonso of Aston Martin is still 27 points behind leader Sergio Perez and 33 points behind race leader Max Verstappen. Seven-time champion and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton is now in fourth place. Charles Leclerc and George Russell, both of Ferrari, are still in sixth and seventh place.
The final three drivers in the Top 10 are Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, McLaren’s Lando Norris, and Toro Rosso’s Nico Hulkenberg.
“We have 4 groups that are substantially ahead of where we are,” said Norris, who is now in ninth place. Sometimes we come close, but when it comes to the race, they’re in a different league than us.
We’re protecting positions nine and ten right now, which may not seem like much, but those points add up.
The Formula 1 season consists of 23 races. From May 19 to 21, the circuit will continue in Italy, and from October 20 to 22, it will return to the United States for the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
On November 18, 2018, Las Vegas will host the world’s first Grand Prix.