The F1 circus makes its way to the Miami GP this weekend, a race that is highly anticipated by fans and drivers alike. The 2022 F1 championship has gotten off to a pretty decent start with both Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc fighting it out for top honors at the moment. Having said that, there's plenty of action up and down the grid with a very competitive midfield keeping things interesting as well.
That's not what we are here for, however. We're not here to talk about how good the 2022 season has been. Or who is bringing what upgrades. Or who is where in the championship standings. We are here for some good old-school fun and as we sit down, rack our brains and make some bold predictions for the Miami GP. So, without further ado, let's jump straight to it.
#1 It's going to be chaotic
Yes, you read that one right. The Miami GP is going to be chaotic as hell. Why? Well, let's break it down for you. First, it's a brand new track with no racing ever conducted on it, this alone makes things unpredictable. Add to it another variable of rain on Friday and Sunday which would curtail the running for the teams and throw a giant wedge into their preparations.
Once that is out of the way, add the 2022 F1 cars created with an entirely new set of regulations and what you have is ultimately a race that is going to be unpredictable. Now, in the end, sprinkle scattered showers during the race, and what you have is a race that is going to be full of chaos and catch many teams off-guard, that's fun! Isn't it?
#2 Max Verstappen wins the race
Okay, now picking a driver that has won two of the first four races of the season is not the boldest prediction of them all now, is it? If fans have noticed this season, Max Verstappen has not gone two races without suffering a DNF. He had a DNF in Bahrain, then a win in Saudi Arabia, then another DNF in Australia before dominating Imola.
Based on the form that Verstappen has shown this season, he has not scored in every alternate race. The Miami GP is the alternate race for him. Despite this, we're taking a leap of faith and hoping that Red Bull has sorted out the reliability issues faced by the team earlier this season.
Now with that assumption out of the way, let's just take a look at the conditions in play. First of all, long straights work in favor of Red Bull, regardless of what the conditions are. Having said that, even though we are expecting a chaotic race with rain to make things interesting, the Dutchman is the most versatile driver on this grid to make it work. Hence, that's our pick: Max Verstappen is winning the Miami GP!
#3 Carlos Sainz melts again under pressure
Things aren't looking that good for Carlos Sainz this season, right? The Spanish driver is 48 points behind teammate Charles Leclerc at the moment. And mind you, he has not looked quicker than Leclerc at any stage in any of those 5 races.
Heading to the Miami GP, the Spaniard is under a lot of pressure — the pressure of not only losing out on the Championship but also falling into the dreaded role of being the second Ferrari driver. A role that is so hard, it almost acts like a career-ender for drivers. Just ask Rubens Barrichello and Felipe Massa what kind of things they had to do to improve the chances of their teammates in the championship. Sainz, just like Ferrari, will surely be keeping an eye on the dynamics within the team when it comes to this.
That is probably one of the reasons why the Spaniard appears to be facing some sort of pressure to perform and he has suffered multiple incidents in the last two races. At the Miami GP, with the pressure heightened even more, we feel Sainz is going to have another bad race where because of one thing or the other, he ends up finishing behind Leclerc.
#4 McLaren beats Mercedes this weekend... Again!
Now, this was one prediction we made last weekend that turned out to be as true as a prediction could. Mercedes struggled with almost catastrophic levels of porpoising in Imola on the straights and suffered majorly with an inability to generate temperature in the wet conditions. Both those factors worked like a charm for McLaren as Lando Norris picked up his first podium of the season.
Looking at the track layout and the weather forecast for the Miami GP, it's fair to say that two factors are going to be crucial over the weekend: ability to generate temperature in the tires and aerodynamic efficiency in a straight line. As we all saw in Imola, those two areas are where Mercedes seem to struggle the most.
Toto Wolff may have come out and claimed that the team will be bringing a few upgrades this weekend to the Miami GP. As they like to say, however, the proof is in the pudding! At the moment, the Brackley-based outfit has not shown any signs of resurgence. Hence, this race weekend yet again, we are picking McLaren to beat Mercedes in the Miami GP.
#5 Sebastian Vettel scores points in the Miami GP
Many may think that predicting Sebastian Vettel, a driver who scored points in the last race, to score points again in the Miami GP is not a bold prediction. Let's get a few things straight for anyone who thinks so.
That Aston Martin is the 9th fastest car on the grid. The very fact that Vettel, or even Lance Stroll for that matter, was able to score points with that car should be applauded. Vettel almost drove out of his skin throughout the Imola GP weekend to achieve that result.
Coming back to the Miami GP, we are expecting a chaotic race to greet us fans. This could be a race with rain at some point and, in essence, could see teams and drivers stumbling over each other due to strategic or setup errors. That's where an experienced driver that excels in wet weather conditions is going to excel. So while others trip over themselves, we predict Vettel to secure his second points-scoring finish of the season.