Miami Grand Prix: F1 debut in ‘Super Bowl’ race as Charles Leclerc v Max Verstappen title fight heats up

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Join us for the inaugural Miami GP on Sunday May 8 on Sky Sports F1.

Join us for the inaugural Miami GP on Sunday May 8 on Sky Sports F1.

A fierce battle at the front, world champions looking for revival and an all-new Grand Prix comparable to the Super Bowl… get ready for an unforgettable weekend as Formula 1 heads to the United States for the first Miami GP!

The fifth round of the 2022 season sprinkled stardust across the United States this weekend as the iconic city of Miami, Florida hosts its first ever F1 race at a Miami Gardens street track which is expected to vibrate.

It’s the first of two US races this year and all the action will be live on Sky Sports F1, with later starts.

Qualifying is live on Saturday at 9 p.m. while the Sunday race begins at 8:30 p.m. There’s also the welcome debut of the W Series on Sky Sports in Miami, as a new season of the all-women’s championship kicks off.

The layout of the F1 circuit for the Miami Grand Prix

The layout of the F1 circuit for the Miami Grand Prix

The first four rounds of F1, meanwhile, saw great racing, shocks and drama aplenty, with Charles Leclerc and Ferrari the current championship leaders, although Max Verstappen and Red Bull are gaining ground.

Next stop, the USA. F1… Welcome to Miami.

The championship photo before the debut in Miami

Verstappen’s dominance over the Emilia-Romagna GP weekend saw him back in contention for the championship after two DNFs in the opening three races. Verstappen is now 28 points behind Charles Leclerc, who conversely finished outside the top two for the first time this year at Imola and ended his race with a podium-costing crash.

Further back, there is plenty of intrigue at Mercedes for this weekend.

Driver standings (top seven) after four races

Driver Team Points
1) Charles Leclerc Ferrari 86
2) Max Verstappen Red Bull 59
3) Sergio Perez Red Bull 54
4) George Russell mercedes 49
5) Carlos Sainz Ferrari 38
6) Lando Norris McLaren 35
7) Lewis Hamilton mercedes 28

Mercedes have yet to resolve their issues over their W13 car with George Russell and a rather clumsy Lewis Hamilton currently sitting fourth and seventh in the standings, and the seven-time world champion is already adamant he is out. of the 2022 title fight.

Mercedes, however, has upgrades planned for Miami, and they should be the biggest yet.

Manufacturers standings (top four) after four races

Team Points
1) Ferrari 124
2) Red Bull 113
3) Mercedes 77
4) McLaren 46

The Ultimate Guide to the Miami GP “Super Bowl”

So F1 has never raced in Miami before?
No, although there has been much speculation in recent years that US F1 owners Liberty Media wanted to bring more “destination cities” to the sport.

Initially, the plan was to hold a race in downtown Miami, but attention later shifted to the Miami Gardens area. There were plenty of hoops to jump through – and local residents still aren’t enthralled – but F1 now has its race in Miami, which becomes the 11th US venue to host an F1 event.

How is the track?
The purpose-built street circuit surrounds Hard Rock Stadium – home of the city’s NFL team, the Miami Dolphins – and has 19 corners, a mix of high and low speeds to complement the long straights where the speeds of tip are set at around 200 mph. It has been compared to Jeddah’s Corniche Circuit and Melbourne’s Albert Park with its ambiance.

“I think this circuit is a good mix of high speed and very slow speed which we haven’t really seen so far this year,” said Sky Sports F1’s Anthony Davidson.

“The chicanes at Turns 14 and 15 give us some of the slowest speeds we’ll see cars this year – with the possible exception of the Monaco hairpin.”

    Preparations have accelerated around Miami's Hard Rock Stadium in recent months

Preparations have accelerated around Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium in recent months

What about the event as a whole?
Vibrant and starry. F1 has seen a huge boom in the US in recent years – helped by the Netflix series Drive to Survive – and there has been unprecedented interest in the event from fans, while celebrities and movie stars sport should also attend. They have invested a lot in their big events in America, it’s fair to say.

“It’s going to be great,” McLaren’s US boss Zak Brown said. “I’ve been here six years and I’ve never seen a demand or buzz for a Grand Prix like I saw for Miami.

“It rivals the Super Bowl when it comes to ‘are you going to the Miami run? “.

“I’ve been in F1 for 20 years and I used to go to Grands Prix but I’ve never seen anything like it.

The best of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix action at Imola.

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The best of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix action at Imola.

The best of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix action at Imola.

A Super Bowl comparison is apt given the stadium at the heart of the Miami GP track.

Lewis Hamilton added: “Growing up knowing how amazing this sport is and seeing that there was still a certain disconnect between the United States and the rest of the world in terms of the passion for this sport, it’s really amazing. to see that we have cracked and there is a growing love in the United States.

“There are huge sports fans there. And I mean, Miami is going to be an experience for all of us, for the racing community, for those who are the fans watching, the fans who are going to fly in this area, I may have never been there before. The United States has a lot to offer in this space, so it’s super exciting.

Formula 1 race director Niels Wittich has tested negative for Covid-19 after testing positive for the virus the previous week.

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Formula 1 race director Niels Wittich has tested negative for Covid-19 after testing positive for the virus the previous week.

Formula 1 race director Niels Wittich has tested negative for Covid-19 after testing positive for the virus the previous week.

Who will wear the tracksuit?

Without knowing if Mercedes’ updates will work as expected, prepare to see Ferrari and Red Bull go head-to-head once again…although a faster car is, as always this year, hard to predict.

Red Bull was quicker in Jeddah, although Ferrari was comfortably quicker in Melbourne. But does Red Bull’s Imola form make them favourites?

“I’m interested to see which cars perform best in low-speed corners,” Davidson said.

“But then we have the known amount of corners similar to Jeddah or Melbourne at medium speed where we saw Red Bull and Ferrari being very fast.

“On top of that we have these incredibly long straights, and we all know Red Bull are in their element on those parts of the track, especially when using DRS.”

The full program live on Sky Sports F1

Friday, May 6
4 p.m.: Drivers’ press conference
7:00 p.m.: Miami GP Practice One (session starts at 7:30 p.m.)
8:45 p.m.: The F1 Motor Show
10:15 p.m.: Miami GP Practice Two (session starts at 10:30 p.m.)*

Saturday May 7
2 p.m.: Series W qualifying
5:45 p.m.: Miami GP Practice Three (session starts at 6 p.m.)
7:10 p.m.: First W Series race**
8:15 p.m .: preparation for qualifying for the Miami GP
9 p.m.: Qualifying for the Miami GP*
10:45 p.m.: Ted’s qualification notebook*

Sunday May 8
3:20 p.m.: 2nd race of the W series
7 p.m.: Grand Prix Sunday: preparation for the Miami GP
8:30 p.m.: THE MIAMI GRAND PRIX*
10:30 p.m.: Checkered flag: Reaction from the Miami GP*
11:30 p.m.: Ted’s notebook*

* Simulcast on Sky Sports Main Event (simulcast of qualifying and race preparation from 8.30pm and 7.30pm respectively)
** Simultaneous broadcast on Sky Showcase

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