Of course, the world champion from Holland has something against it. But before chasing Leclerc from 9:30 p.m. today, he’ll first play against his own team. Background: his only 15 practice laps on Friday for technical reasons. “A maximum of four or five of them could be used,” Verstappen grumbled in the press conference after qualifying. “I’m still learning the track. We’re making life difficult for ourselves with our problems. I’m surprised I was able to fight for pole at all. We can be so much better if we have a clean weekend.”
“We have quite a different car than Ferrari,” explains Horner. “They have more downforce, so they are better in the corners. But we’re much faster on the straights and the DRS is pretty powerful here too. So there are a few opportunities to overtake.”
Leclerc’s only option is to flee forward: “We have to drive out so much distance in the curves,” he forges his battle plan, “that they can’t even attack us on the straights.”
The start could play an important role. If Sainz can remain as a buffer between the World Cup rivals, the Monegasque could work out.
But that will be difficult. The Spaniard starts from the dirty side. Verstappen doesn’t care. He puts his finger in Red Bull’s own wound again: “I have no idea how the grip is on the right or left of the grid. I could never practice a start. That pretty much sums up my weekend so far.”
One thing is certain: no matter how the race in Miami ends – the battle between the different systems will continue in the next races. Because even competitors like McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl have to admit: “Red Bull and Ferrari are in a league of their own at the moment.”