(Motorsport-Total.com) — Miami’s new Formula 1 track lived up to the hype surrounding the Grand Prix, at least for its first free practice session around Hard Rock Stadium, where the Miami Dolphins usually play soccer. Not only because of Carlos Sainz’s high-speed departure, which ended lightly. But also because of the many other scenes that were evidence of the difficulty of the path.
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The track in Miami is difficult and has caused many accidents
Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) led the best time in 1:31.098, followed by George Russell (Mercedes/+0.071) and Max Verstappen (+0.179). Lewis Hamilton was eighth, 0.858sec behind.
The front and rear wings are new (and lighter) on Mercedes, and although the Miami track is very bumpy, the W13 rests on the tarmac as quietly as it was in the 2022 Formula 1 season. Paul (nothing new since Imola) ante in the development race.
“I don’t think we’re going to make a big move,” says Andrew Shovlin, head of Mercedes’ local operations team. “Where we are now, it looks a lot better than it did in the previous races. It seems like one of the big problems here is the tire overheating. We’ve had a problem with the tire overheating. Maybe that helps us here.”
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The result of the first free practice
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The road in Miami “has it all”, Sky expert Ralph Schumacher’s first judgement was. In particular, the tight, meandering combination of corners 14-16 tempts drivers to make mistakes, while the grittier lane is probably the 6-8 corner, the lane in front of the fake marina that was mocked on Twitter & Co. , which is actually no one.
Bottas crash causes red flag
This is exactly where Valtteri Bottas (17/Alfa Romeo) caused his first weekend crash after 35 minutes on lap 14. At the end of the curve, which continues to close towards the back, the Finn slipped into the curbs – and took it upon himself: “Sorry:”Sorry Hey guys,” he said out loud. First analysis by Formula 1 expert Jenson Button: “He got out of bed too late.”
The track in Miami is “technically difficult,” Ralf Schumacher analyzed after the first practice session. His conclusion: “Overtaking the maneuvers is possible, the tires will be difficult, and so will the temperatures. From this point of view, the track has pretty much everything you need. And yes, there are plenty of spectators there too. Perfect!”
The result doesn’t mean much yet
The result should be taken with a pinch of salt this early in the weekend because the drivers and teams are still far from reaching their limits on the new track. However, Sainz finished sixth despite spinning 20 minutes from the end, which was lucky not to hit the wall; Behind Sergio Perez (Red Bull) and Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), but ahead of Alexander Albon (Williams).
The asphalt tape, which had to be partially patched during the night from Thursday to Friday, gave drivers a slight grip at the start of the weekend. Because everyone wanted to test as much as possible, there were quite a few misunderstandings in the heavy traffic around Hard Rock Stadium.
Lots of little misunderstandings between drivers
Mick Schumacher (19th/Haas) was standing in the way of Daniel Ricciardo (10th/McLaren) – one of the many scenes the race control team will consider after the session. Another time, it was Schumacher who got in the way of Sainz. Russell was amazed when Esteban Ocon (15th/alpine) got out of the pits in front of him and had to hit the brakes.
Despite everything: “It’s an interesting track,” said Red Bull boss Christian Horner. “It’s a bit like a mixture of Jeddah and Azerbaijan. I think one key would be to control the high tire temperatures.”
Andreas Seidl, McLaren boss Andreas Seidl, says something similar in an interview with Sky: “It’s not easy to get along. The track has more bumps than expected, so we have to see how far we have to change the setup, just to get more stability in the car and then also to reduce lap time.”
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