Verstappen’s tyre gamble pays off with Miami win

Verstappen's tyre gamble pays off with Miami win

On Sunday, Max Verstappen won the Formula One Miami Grand Prix by outwitting Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez with a tyre management masterpiece.

Verstappen, the reigning double world champion on F1’s powerhouse team, was the favorite coming into Miami, but all signs pointed to his teammate.

Perez was coming off a win in Baku and is a master on street circuits and tyre management, which would be important on the 5.41km temporary track around Miami Dolphins’ Hard Rock Stadium.

Verstappen made the proper decisions from tyre selection to race strategy.

The 25-year-old Dutchman started ninth and was on pole-sitter Perez’s tailpipe before halftime.

Perez, who started on medium tyres, pitted first, giving Verstappen a lengthy run at the front where he pulled everything he could from his hard tyres before stopping for a change with 11 laps left.

The stop briefly gave his Mexican teammate the lead. Verstappen promptly attacked on fresher tyres and passed Perez two laps later.

From then, the Red Bulls cruised to another one-two.

“This is something I wanted already yesterday together with my engineer,” Verstappen stated of his tyre decision. We have strong opinions on that.

Then discuss with the team.

“They said, ‘Okay.’

Since we only had one set, starting on the hard is riskier.

If you get a puncture, your race is harder.

“But I was happy to take that gamble.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner claimed race simulations were against the hard compound but Verstappen and his engineers and strategist wanted to gamble.

Horner thought Max beginning on the hard tyre was riskier.

Our models showed a worse race, but a safety car may improve it.

“So his engineering team wanted to take that chance and he made it work without the safety car.”

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