After Saturday’s Sprint came Qualifying and the main event itself at the Hard Rock Stadium. Asian Motorsport reviews all the action from the rest of the weekend at last week’s Miami Grand Prix.

By Seb Tirado

Qualifying

Q1 would see Yuki Tsunoda and Alex Albon progress through to Q2 in 12th and 13th with a 1:28.324 and a 1:28.343 respectively.  Zhou Guanyu would be eliminated from qualifying in 20th with a 1:28.824, but he would start from 19th on the grid after Daniel Ricciardo’s 3-place grid penalty from China.

Albon would be eliminated from Q2 in 14th with a 1:28.413 and Tsunoda would slip through to Q3 for the fourth time this season with a 1:28.167 in 10th.

Tsunoda on track during Qualifying | Credit: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

The Japanese driver would ultimately qualify in 10th in Q3 with a slightly slower time of a 1:28.192.

Miami Grand Prix

Albon and Tsunoda would have clean runs through T1 whilst Zhou would have a slow start and drop to the back of the pack by the time he himself go through T1. The Chinese driver would quickly make his way past his teammate Valtteri Bottas and Ricciardo and back to 18th. After having dispatched George Russell, Tsunoda began to set his sights on his teammate Lewis Hamilton using his set of faster new mediums compared to Hamilton’s set of new hards whilst Albon would overtake Esteban Ocon for 14th

Zhou leading Bottas during the Grand Prix | Credit: Formula One

On Lap 3, Zhou and his teammate would move up to 17th and 18th as Kevin Magnussen fell back behind the two Kick Saubers. On Lap 5, Russell would overtake Tsunoda for 9th after the Japanese driver was ultimately unable to attack Hamilton. Albon would make his only planned pit stop on Lap 10, going onto a set of new hards. Tsunoda and Zhou would extend their stints on their starting mediums as others had their pit stops, with Zhou moving up to a highest of 12th

The Virtual Safety Car would come out for a short period on Lap 23 after race leader Max Verstappen hit the bollard at T15 and threw its debris on the track. As other drivers took advantage of the short VSC period, Tsunoda would shuffle up the positions to 8th whilst Zhou would move up into the points in 10th. After the VSC, they would both continue shuffling further into the points, with Tsunoda and Zhou reaching 7th and 8th respectively before the Safety Car was deployed at the start of Lap 29 for Sargeant and Magnussen’s crash. 

Tsunoda and Zhou would both come in for their only pit stops of the Grand Prix under the Safety Car, with Tsunoda putting on a set of new hards and Zhou putting on a set of new softs. Tsunoda would emerge back into the race in 7th, with Zhou rejoining in 14th and Albon cycling his way up to 13th. The restart at the end of Lap 32 would see Tsunoda once again battle with Hamilton, this time in defence against the Mercedes driver. Hamilton would ultimately get past the Japanese driver on the next lap heading through T11.

On Lap 40, Tsunoda would move back up to 7th as Oscar Piastri pitted for a new front wing and fell down the order. It would also move Zhou up to 14th before he was overtaken by Lance Stroll on Lap 48. Elsewhere, Albon would heavily lock-up and go deep at T11 as he was defending against Ricciardo on Lap 54, dropping him to his final finishing position of 19th. He would pit at the end of the lap of a set of new softs. On the final lap, Piastri would overtake Zhou into T17 for 14th, dropping the Kick Sauber driver to his final finishing position of 15th

Tsunoda would equal his best finish of the season in Miami | Credit: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Tsunoda would finish the Miami Grand Prix in 7th, moving himself up into the top ten of the World Drivers’ Championship and further solidifying RB’s 6th place in the World Constructors’ Championship. Commenting after the race, Tsunoda said he was “very happy, what a great job by the team! It’s been an incredible week in which we scored in both races. We kind of expected we would have a good performance here but the most important thing is that we achieved it. As a team, we stuck to our plan and didn’t make any mistakes today.”

“As for me, overall, I’m happy with my driving even though I made a mistake at the start. I reset myself and kept going, and especially in the last stint where I was just driving by myself, I was pushing and able to achieve similar lap times to the cars in front. The team developed a great car and I appreciate them a lot. The amount of push from the factory is incredible and in the end, we were able to score well-deserved points. We were able to progress quickly from the start of the season, so I’m looking forward to the future. Everyone is doing a fantastic job and we’ll definitely keep pushing!”

Formula One Drivers’ Championship Top 10

  1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 136
  2. Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) – 103
  3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 98
  4. Lando Norris (McLaren) – 83
  5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) – 83
  6. Oscar Piastri (McLaren) – 41
  7. George Russell (Mercedes) – 37
  8. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) – 33
  9. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 27
  10. Yuki Tsunoda (RB) – 14

Formula One Constructors’ Championship Top 5

  1. Red Bull Racing – 239
  2. Scuderia Ferrari – 187
  3. McLaren – 124
  4. Mercedes-AMG – 64
  5. Aston Martin – 42

Next up, the 2024 Formula One World Championship starts its European leg with the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at the iconic Imola Circuit.

Header image credit: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

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