Nine things we learned from the Miami Grand Prix | Top Gear
BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Subscribe to Top Gear magazine
Sign up to our Top Gear Magazine
Wednesday 4th October
Formula One

Nine things we learned from the Miami Grand Prix

Miami served up a half decent race, in which Max Verstappen surged back from P9 to win comfortably

Miami Grand Prix 2023
  • Max Verstappen took that personally

    Max Verstappen took that personal

    Heading into the Miami Grand Prix all the talk was about Sergio Perez: the Mexican had won two of the first four races and having qualified on pole (with Max Verstappen only ninth on the grid) in Miami, he had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the championship and prove he really could engage in a title fight with the two-time champ.

    Except Max had other ideas. Fired up after the disappointment of Baku, the Dutchman carved his way through the field and was only three seconds behind Perez by the time he’d climbed into P2. From there he went quicker on old tyres than his teammate could on new ones, so when he made his pit stop Verstappen only needed one lap to wrestle away the race lead and the win.

    “Simply lovely” declared Max on the radio (minus one rude word).

    Advertisement - Page continues below
  • Alonso’s mental capacity is crazy

    Alonso’s mental capacity is crazy

    Fernando Alonso scored a fourth podium in five races with a drive to P3 in Miami, but even more impressive than his continued excellence was what he was able to do in the middle of the grand prix itself.

    Not busy enough with driving a race car really bloomin’ fast, the Spaniard had the time to pick out his teammate Lance Stroll on one of the track’s big screens, and then compliment the Canadian for a pass he’d made for P13.

  • The drivers don’t like hype (except for one)

    The drivers don’t like hype (except for one)

    In a change to the usual pre-race proceedings each of the drivers was introduced one-by-one by rapper LL Cool J, to a soundtrack of orchestral music composed by Will.I.Am and Lil Wayne. All in the name of putting on a show, of course.

    Most of the drivers… didn’t enjoy it. George Russell, Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso were among the figures to criticise the format, with complaints ranging from it taking too long and being too much of a distraction, to it being a hot day. Hence the number of ice pack gillets on display.

    One lone voice was in favour though: that of Lewis Hamilton, with the seven-time champion saying the razzmatazz was “great”. Views in the comments, please.

    Advertisement - Page continues below
  • Thou shalt not pass Kevin Magnussen

    Thou shalt not pass Kevin Magnussen

    Fresh from a sensational (albeit fortuitous) P4 in qualifying, Kevin Magnussen was determined to make the most of his second-row starting position on Sunday and bring home some points for Haas.

    Though he lost a couple of positions on the opening lap, the Dane then spent a large portion of the afternoon frustrating the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc. Several times the Monegasque driver slipped past, only for Magnussen to fight back immediately and retake the place.

    Kevin eventually crossed the line in P10, grabbing the last available point for Haas.

  • Thou shalt not restrain Jackie Stewart

    Thou shalt not restrain Jackie Stewart

    Martin Brundle’s grid walks have a history of causing controversy, especially in the US for some reason. And with Miami’s pre-race runabout coming to an end, the ex-F1 driver attempted to grab a final word with retired tennis player Roger Federer, enlisting the help of Sir Jackie Stewart to grab the 20-time grand slam champion’s attention.

    Except the security personnel weren’t having any of it. Cue awkward scenes as Sir Jackie - a three-time world champion, let’s not forget - was blocked from getting near Federer until (presumably) someone pointed out that the tartan-trousered gentleman was a VIP himself. Oops.

  • Alpine’s own boss thinks the team is “amateurish”

    Alpine’s own boss thinks the team is “amateurish”

    All is not well at Alpine. CEO Laurent Rossi was quoted on French TV channel Canal+ saying his own team had been “amateurish” in the opening races of the season, which doesn’t strike us as a brilliant way to inspire a workforce.

    Remember Alpine was hoping to push on from finishing fourth in the constructors’ championship last season, but so far it’s tied with McLaren for fifth and showing few signs of being able to overhaul the likes of Aston Martin, Mercedes or Ferrari above them.

    A double points finish in Miami was a positive step, at least.

  • Ferrari is (still) struggling

    Ferrari is (still) struggling

    Feels like we could say this every week, but somehow the team and its drivers find new and exciting ways to not live up to expectation. This week it did so by having Charles Leclerc crash in qualifying, and although Carlos Sainz looked good for a podium early in the race itself he earned a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pit lane, after which the car’s pace seemed to drop off a cliff. Weird.

    Advertisement - Page continues below
  • Being the home favourite doesn’t make you faster

    Being the home favourite doesn’t make you faster

    Williams driver Logan Sargeant grew up just a few miles from the Miami circuit in Fort Lauderdale, so it would’ve been fitting if the rookie could’ve pulled a surprise result out of the bag.

    However, this proved a tall order for what remains F1’s lowest-ranked team. And especially so for Sargeant as the US driver qualified last and then finished there on Sunday.

    Side note: all 20 cars finished the grand prix. Not something that happens every week!

  • The rich and famous were out in force

    The rich and famous were out in force

    Miami is quickly becoming the go-to race for the well-to-do to drop in on the world of F1. As well as tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams, Super Bowl champion Patrick Mahomes and actor Tom Cruise (who had a go operating a wheel gun at Mercedes), two of the three richest human beings alive were in attendance too.

    Jeff Bezos was spotted on the pit wall with Mercedes, while Elon Musk was given a tour of the Red Bull garage. Wonder if either fancy investing in the sport one day?

    Advertisement - Page continues below

More from Top Gear

See more on Formula One

Promoted Content

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine

Get your first 5 issues for £5