Ferrari were left speechless in Florida despite finishing second and third at the Miami International Autodrome.
Both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr had no answer to Max Verstappen’s pace, as the Dutchman claimed victory at the inaugural race in Miami.
Ferrari locked-out the front row in qualifying after demonstrating strong lap-times on Saturday, however, on Sunday they suffered against Red Bull’s superior straight-line speed.
Verstappen made light work of both Sainz and Leclerc in the early stages of the grand prix.
The Dutchman started in third, but past Sainz and up to second only a couple of corners into the race.
The reigning world champion was quickly onto the back of Leclerc, and then just as quickly pasted the championship leader.
Leclerc was able to stick with Verstappen through the corners, as soon as they got onto a straight though neither Ferrari driver could stick with the RB18.
Former racer turned pundit Martin Brundle explained in his Sky Sports F1 column why it’s imperative they sort their straight-line speed issue.
“Once again, Charles Leclerc and his Ferrari were the fastest combo on the track to secure pole position, but also once again, Ferrari had no answer to Red Bull’s prodigious straight-line speed, with or without the DRS rear wing open,” Brundle wrote,
“Unless they fix that with less high-speed drag then these will be Red Bull’s World Championships.”
Leclerc did manage to close the gap to Verstappen late on, after a late Safety Car bunched up the pack.
The Monegasque driver put the Dutchman under some pressure, however, as soon as they made their way onto a straight the Dutchman was out of reach.
“It was another very impressive and mature drive from both Verstappen and Leclerc, but the Ferrari drivers simply can’t breeze back past any more like Leclerc did to Verstappen in Bahrain,” the former driver said,
“This gives Max and teammate Sergio Perez the comfort zone of looking after their tyres and playing the longer game, knowing they can pounce down a relatively risk-free straight later on.”
Whilst Leclerc struggled to keep up with his title rival, Sainz managed to bring home an important podium position.
His third-place at Miami comes after failing to finish the last two races, having crashed out of both.
“Carlos Sainz had a very important weekend for his confidence as the Ferrari pair were on the podium together for the third time in five races so far this season,” Brundle explained,
“He hadn’t completed a lap in the previous two races and had another sizeable shunt in practice. He kept his head and did well to hold off Perez, who was on fresh Medium compound tyres, albeit carrying an engine gremlin.”
Ferrari over the years have become well-known for their questionable strategies, so far this season though the Scuderia have on the whole been much slicker with their decision making.
Brundle questioned though whether the famous Italian team should’ve gambled and pitted either of their drivers under the VSC, giving them the tyre advantage over Verstappen.
“Ferrari must surely wish they had pitted at least one of their cars under the inevitable VSC and full Safety Car, when a limping Pierre Gasly came together with a passing Lando Norris in a relatively narrow part of the track,” he said,
“Verstappen had just passed the line when the Virtual Safety Car was declared.”