Formula 1 Racing

“What goes around, comes around?” Why Verstappen’s win wasn’t payback for Miami · RaceFans

Lando Norris, Max Verstappen, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2024

Max Verstappen’s race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase thought they had payback for the race they lost in Miami when the Safety Car first appeared during yesterday’s race.

They had lost victory to Lando Norris when the Safety Car arrived with perfect timing for the McLaren driver, allowing him to make a pit stop and jump ahead of Verstappen into a lead he never lost.

Yesterday Norris was leading when the Safety Car appeared. He did not pit immediately, but Verstappen did, and claimed the lead from Norris on the following lap when the McLaren pitted.

“There you go – what goes around, comes around,” said Lambiase. “That’s Miami back.”

But while, from the outside, it appeared as though Norris had been unfortunate with the timing of the Safety Car, the driver revealed he could have made it into the pits. After the Safety Car was deployed he asked his race engineer Will Joseph whether he should “box or not?” and was told to “stay out.”

Norris couldn’t keep Verstappen back after second stop

Did McLaren miss a second opportunity to get Norris into the lead later in the race? Their bold decision to stay out two laps longer than their rivals on intermediate tyres as the track dried paid off to an extent, helping Norris gain a place from George Russell. The McLaren emerged from the pits fractionally ahead of Verstappen, but with slick tyres on a still-wet part of the track he fishtailed as the Red Bull motored by into the lead.

Would Norris have been better off staying out just one lap longer instead of two? Red Bull team principal Christian Horner suggested this after the race. On his in-lap, Norris was still quicker than Verstappen in the first sector but lost time in the second. It’s likely he never quite had enough of a gap over Verstappen to be able to pit and keep the lead at this point, particularly as both his pit stops were quicker than Verstappen’s anyway.

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Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2024
Haas went on the attack on wet tyres at the start

Ferrari’s striking decision to put Leclerc on hard tyres on lap 28 looked like a poor call at the time, but realistically this was just a gamble on the weather. All weekend showers had developed rapidly near the circuit and vexed strategists by intensifying or weakening as they reached the circuit, or missing it entirely. With Leclerc’s race already ruined by his engine problem, this was merely a ‘Hail Mary’ play by Ferrari rather than a tactical blunder.


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