Formula 1 drivers warned the slippery track and short DRS zones would make for a processional Miami Grand Prix. So did it produce a race which justified the hype which accompanied it?
The view from the track
There are plenty of reasons to be cynical or negative about the Miami GP that have nothing to do with any of the pomp and pageantry of the pre-race build-up. Or the race itself, separated from all of that.
As a race? It was perfectly and acceptably fine. Hardly the instant classic that last year’s United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas was, but hardly the dull, dragging dreck that was thw previous week’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku, a circuit which either produces weapons-grade chaos or the F1 equivalent of melatonin.
Would it have been received better if Max Verstappen’s charge from ninth to first didn’t feel so inevitable? That’s subjective to one’s fatigue levels of seeing Red Bull running up front every weekend. The way things are going this year it will take a Turkey 2010 moment to keep them from running the table.
But there were chances to pass and opportunities for drivers like George Russell, Carlos Sainz Jnr, Lewis Hamilton, and Yuki Tsunoda among others to advance their positions throughout the race – even at a circuit where there was not much grip on the racing line, let alone off it, and this was even before monsoon-level rain showers made all the accumulated rubber of the last two days go bye-bye.
It’s fair to expect an event that F1 clearly sees as a crown jewel of its calendar to deliver a quality of race befitting of the spectacle it manufactures around it, for sure. I just thought it was okay. And maybe that’s still good enough to be viewed as one of the better races when 2023 is done.
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The view from the sofa
The Miami GP theatrics was a reminder to F1 to not over-sell an event which may fail to deliver.
Not only did some of the drivers regard the introduction ceremony a step too far, but the sight of LL Cool J dancing around with female cheerleaders looked like a small step back for women in motorsport and felt far too reminiscent of grid girls. But the pre-race festivities will continue and are expected to be seen at eight races this season, despite the discomfort of some drivers.
What is more concerning, however, is F1 keeps referring to its events as a ‘show’, when it’s not…