F1's endeavor to enter the US market begins with the Miami GP this weekend. It will be the first of the two races that will be held in the United States this season, with a third one coming in Las Vegas next year. There is a lot of anticipation around the race and a lot of fanfare. Having said that, let's take a look at what makes the Miami GP a must-watch race in the F1 calendar.
It might rain!!
Yes, you read that one right! The first race in Miami could turn out to be the epitome of unpredictability. The teams are heading into the unknown with a track that has had no prior racing. The teams have no idea how the tires will work on the track. There has been almost no prior running on the track and then to make things worse, there is this added element of rain being a potential spoilsport.
If the rain disrupts on Friday and leaves the teams with next to no running, the factor of variability in performance will increase as well. Teams might have a baseline setup in place, but it's hard to say if it will work. This could lead to unexpected results throughout the weekend. Remember Monza 2008? Can we really count out something like that happening if the running on a brand new track is entirely taken out of the equation? No, we cannot.
The Miami GP track should yield great action throughout the race
There are surely a few similarities between the track in Jeddah, where we had the second race of the season, and the one in Miami. There are long sweeping straights with long DRS zones and plenty of overtaking opportunities wherever you look. There is a very high probability (if we have a dry race) that the track might feature action similar to what we had in Saudi Arabia.
The race could also feature not only some great wheel-to-wheel action throughout the race but also a scenario similar to the battle between Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc where the two drivers in play use the DRS as a tool to keep the other driver behind. All in all, while Imola was not too high on the entertainment quotient, we should be back to that in Miami this weekend.
Charles Leclerc vs Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton vs George Russell
Two crucial, high-quality battles that will be brewing during the Miami GP weekend will be between Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, and Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. Coincidentally, both the battles will be partaken in similarly paced cars.
While the stakes are much higher in the battle between Leclerc and Verstappen as both the drivers are fighting for the biggest honor in F1, the stakes in the battle of the Mercedes drivers are no lesser.
Talking about the championship battle, it has ebbed and flowed so far. Leclerc won the odd races while Verstappen scored a DNF in the first and third races. This was coupled with the Dutchman winning the even races and beating Leclerc in the second and fourth races.
Having said that, this is a race that Verstappen not only needs to win, but his first aim would be to finish the race, especially after the multiple DNFs faced by him this season. The Red Bull driver is still 29 points behind the Ferrari driver and he cannot let Leclerc regain momentum at the Miami GP.
Now, talking about the battle of the Mercedes drivers, Lewis Hamilton has to beat George Russell at the Miami GP. There are no two ways about it! Russell has got the better of him in the last three races and Hamilton's performance in the Imola GP brought out plenty of doubters including Nico Rosberg and Ralf Schumacher. It's common to get questioned about your performance and future once you've crossed the barrier of 35 years of age. There is one way to shut that all up. All that Hamilton has to do is beat Russell at the Miami GP and all the vultures will run away.
Should he be unable do that at the Miami GP, however, things could take a turn for the worse for Hamilton.
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