(Motorsport-Total.com) – The new Formula 1 track in Miami lived up to the hype surrounding the Grand Prix, at least in the first free training session around Hard Rock Stadium, where the Miami Dolphins usually play football. Not just because of a high-speed departure by Carlos Sainz, which ended easily. But also because of several other scenes that were evidence of the difficulty of the route.
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The track in Miami is tough and caused many incidents
Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) drove the best time of 1: 31.098 minutes, followed by George Russell (Mercedes / +0.071) and Max Verstappen (+0.179). Lewis Hamilton finished eighth, 0.858 seconds left.
The front and rear wings are new (and lighter) on the Mercedes, and although the Miami track is extremely uneven, the W13 lay as still on the tarmac as it has ever been in the 2022 Formula 1 season. In contrast, Ferrari (only low-downforce rear wing) and Red Bull (nothing new since Imola) have not gone up in the development race.
“I do not think we are going to take a big step,” said Andrew Shovlin, Mercedes’ head of local operations team. “Where we are now, it looks much better than in previous races. One of the big problems here seems to be overheating of the tires. We have had problems getting the tires up to temperature. Maybe it will help us here. “
On the subject:
Result 1. free training
F1 live ticker: voices and reactions
F1 Live Stream: Analysis from 02:30 CEST
The route in Miami “has it all”, was the first verdict from “Sky” expert Ralf Schumacher. Especially the narrow and winding combination of corners 14-16 tempts motorists to make mistakes, while the bravest passage is probably corner 6-8, ie the passage in front of the fake marina mocked on Twitter & Co., which is actually not one.
Bottas’ crash causes a red flag
It was exactly there that Valtteri Bottas (17th / Alfa Romeo) caused the weekend’s first crash after 35 minutes on his 14th lap. At the end of the basket, which kept closing towards his back, the fin slid into the barriers – and took it upon himself: “Sorry, boys,” he sent out remorsefully. First analysis by Formula 1 expert Jenson Button: “He braked too late.”
The track in Miami is “technically difficult”, Ralf Schumacher analyzed after the first training session. His conclusion: “Possible overtaking maneuvers, tires will be difficult, and so will the temperatures. From that point of view, the track has pretty much everything you need. And yes, there are a lot of spectators there too. Perfect!”
The result does not mean much yet
The result must be taken with a grain of salt so early in the weekend because the drivers and teams are far from reaching their limits on the new track. Still, Sainz finished in sixth place despite his spin with 20 minutes left, which he was lucky not to crash into the wall; behind Sergio Perez (Red Bull) and Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), but ahead of Alexander Albon (Williams).
The asphalt strip, which was to be partially patched during the night from Thursday to Friday, offered the drivers a little grip at the start of the weekend. And 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 small misunderstandings between the drivers
Mick Schumacher (19./Haas) once stood in the way of Daniel Ricciardo (10./McLaren) – one of several scenes that race control will study after the session. Another time, it was Schumacher who got in Sainz’s way. And Russell was amazed when Esteban Ocon (15./Alpin) ran out of the pit in front of him so he had to slam on the brake.
After all, “It’s an interesting track,” said Red Bull team manager Christian Horner. “A bit like a mix of Jeddah and Azerbaijan. I think a key will be to control the high tire temperatures.”
McLaren team manager Andreas Seidl says something similar in an interview with ‘Sky’: “It’s not easy to get a game together. The track has more bumps than expected, so we have to see to what extent we have to change the set-up, just around to get more stability into the car and then also to get the lap time down. “