With the weather forecast threatening rain over the Miami Grand Prix weekend, is this the weekend that Perez steps forward as a real title contender? And which team will be best of the rest? Here’s who to back and what to watch out for at the 2023 Miami Grand Prix.
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Formula 1 heads stateside for the fifth round of the 2023 season. The first of three American races this year, the Miami Grand Prix returns after a successful debut in 2022. Close to 250,000 fans lined the track over the weekend last year, with a similar level of fan interest in 2023.
Ahead of the 2023 Miami Grand Prix, the track surface at Miami International Autodrome – which is set out around the Hard Rock Stadium – has been resurfaced. The on-track action last year may have been a little lacklustre but a new surface could present the drivers with further opportunities to make moves during the Grand Prix.
Is Sergio Perez a genuine title contender?
This could be a pivotal weekend in the story of the 2023 Formula 1 season. Given their impressive run of form early in the season, it seems all but a forgone conclusion – barring any unexpected surprises – that Red Bull will walk away with the two championship trophies come the end of the
year. But which of their drivers will walk away with the Drivers’ Championship seems a little tricker to predict than many had expected.
A stunning weekend for Sergio Perez at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix saw him take a double win. Victorious in Saturday’s Sprint and Sunday’s Grand Prix, Perez now sits only six points behind team-mate Max Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship.
The pair are tied 2-2 on Grand Prix wins in 2023, though Perez’s odds of a title victory are much longer than those of Verstappen’s. Now could be the time to back the Mexican.
Are Ferrari back on form?
Another talking point from last weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix was Charles Leclerc’s single lap pace. With Ferrari appearing faster than at the three preceding weekends, Leclerc was able to secure pole position for both the Sprint and the Grand Prix. The Monegasque driver was overtaken by both Red Bull drivers over the course of the Grand Prix, only further proving Red Bull’s superior form so far this year.
Nevertheless, Ferrari’s pole position will be a much-needed morale boost for the Maranello-based Scuderia. Leclerc’s third place in Baku puts the team one top three finish short of reaching a milestone 800th podium result in Formula 1.
And there’s reason to believe Leclerc could be back on the rostrum in Miami. Ferrari locked-out the front row at last year’s Miami Grand Prix and though Red Bull ultimately secured a 1-2 finish in the race, it was Leclerc who finished on the final step of the podium.
Ferrari are at 8/1 to win this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix – the favourites aside from Red Bull.
Will Aston Martin return to the podium?
Last weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix was the first race of the season at which Aston Martin did not finish on the podium – though Fernando Alonso finished only a second behind third place finisher Charles Leclerc.
While Red Bull remain, by far, the favourites to win this weekend, who will be the top team behind them is much more difficult to predict. Aston Martin, Mercedes and Ferrari have been relatively evenly matched so far this year. Aston Martin may have more podiums but, with a top three finish
each, Mercedes and Ferrari have proven to be very much in the mix.
The battle to be ‘best of the rest’ seems track specific at the moment. Albert Park suited Mercedes, Baku suited Ferrari and it could be the case that Miami will suit Aston Martin. The team, who were dogged by DRS issues over the Azerbaijan weekend which hampered performance, expect the
warmer temperatures in the Sunshine State to favour their machine over Ferrari and Mercedes.
Sargeant’s first race on home soil
Florida’s own Logan Sargeant races on home soil for the first time this weekend. The 2023 Miami Grand Prix will be the first American F1 race to feature an American driver on the grid since the 2015 United States Grand Prix, when Alexander Rossi competed with Manor Marussia.
To find the last American driver to score on home soil you have to go all the way back to 1989, when Eddie Cheever finished on the podium in the first F1 race to be staged in Phoenix. Since then, drivers from America haven’t had much luck in the sport. Michael Andretti remains the last
American to pick up a point, back at the 1993 Italian Grand Prix.
Sargeant has impressed so far in 2023, having been able to keep close to the pace of more experienced team-mate Alex Albon. After making it out of Q1 for the first time in Azerbaijan, Sargeant will have high hopes of following in the footsteps of fellow rookie Oscar Piastri and
picking up the first points of his career at his home event.
Williams did score at the Miami Grand Prix last year, with Albon finishing ninth. Could more points be on the board for the British team this weekend? Sargeant is currently 5/1 to pick up his maiden points finish in Miami.
The first wet race of the season?
Aside from some rainfall during Free Practice for the Australian Grand Prix, we’re yet to see much wet running so far in the 2023 season. That could change at the Miami Grand Prix, with thunderstorms forecast for both Saturday and Sunday.
A wet qualifying session could shake up the expected order, while rain on Sunday could lead to a chaotic race with multiple Safety Car periods. Last year’s Miami Grand Prix featured only a single Safety Car period – caused by a collision between Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly – but with closer
racing expected this year and the threat of rain, we could be in for more caution periods in the 2023 race.