5 things I’m watching for Sunday’s Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix (3:25 p.m. ET, ABC)

Red Bull 1-2?

The Ferrari duo of Charles LeClerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. took 2 of the 3 spots on the Miami podium a year ago. They enter this weekend’s race on the heels of the best weekend of the season in Baku with LeClerc not only earning the pole, but also grabbing his first podium of the season (3rd). He was a DNF in 2 of the previous 3 races to the year. Sainz was fifth for his second-best result in 2023.

Last year, LeClerc finished runner-up in Miami and Sainz Jr. third. In saying that, do they have anything for the Red Bull’s this weekend.

Red Bull easily went 1-2 last Sunday in Baku and have done so in 3 of the 4 races run this season. In fact, they went 1-4 in Miami in 2022 and if their pace is better, which it is, than Ferrari’s this season then a 1-2 finish is surely going to be legitimate.

Also, the race will likely be won anyways by a Red Bull driver. They’re 4-for-4 this season and have won 14 of the last 15 F1 races in general. On top of that, they’ve won in each of the last eight street courses too.

Will Perez Take Points Lead

In saying that a Red Bull driver will likely win, will that driver be Sergio Perez? The Mexican driver was only fourth last year, but he’s 2-for-2 on street course events this season and has won three straight if you go back to Marina Bay a year ago. If you go back to Monaco last May, Perez has won four of the last six street course events.

That’s why I’m curious if he can top Max Verstappen on Sunday.

Verstappen was runner-up in both street races this year giving him four top two finishes in his last five street course starts. He also has 14 top two finishes in his last 16 starts overall dating back to last season in Austria. Perez has six in the same span.

Entering Miami, Verstappen leads Perez by just six points. With 25 points for the win and 18 for second, that seven-point gap alone could put Perez ahead. However, if Verstappen wins the pole or sets the fastest lap, he could still leave Miami in the points lead ahead of Perez by just a point or two as well.

McLaren Upgrade

McLaren made an update to their cars for Baku and they said it made some minimal gains. However, they expect it to fully show this weekend in Miami. The question is, will it?

It’s been a tough start to the season for them. Lando Norris sits ninth in points (-83) while rookie Oscar Piastri is 11th (-89). They’re fifth in the constructors’ standings, a wide margin behind fourth placed Ferrari (-48), but only six points ahead of Alpine and seven in front of Haas. Alfa Romero is only eight points behind too.

That’s why the margin McLaren is looking for is so slim and if a bad weekend occurs, they could slip further back.

They didn’t score any points in Miami last year with Ricciardo finishing 13th and Norris a DNF. After two straight DNF’s to start 2023 off with for Norris, he has since finished sixth and ninth respectively. Piastri was DNF, 15th, eighth and 11th respectively.

Can Alonso Maintain?

What a start to the season that it’s been for Fernando Alonso. A third-place finish in each of the first three races and fourth last week in Baku has him third in points (-33) entering Miami. The question now is, how long can he maintain this?

He was 11th here last year while Aston Martin went P10-P17. They’ve obviously upgraded immensely this year, so how far can they stay up there?

We know the Red Bull Racing duo will be tough to beat. The Ferrari’s have come along too. That’s four spots just right there. Does Alonso fall in the middle of the Ferrari mix or is he left fighting off the Mercedes duo for fifth?

Lewis Hamilton is 12 points behind Alonso in the standings and has finished fifth, fifth second and sixth respectively. He was sixth in this race a year ago.

Sainz and LeClerc should vie for a podium. They enter (-26) and (-32) behind Alonso. George Russell is also -32 and has three top eight finishes in four races run this season and was fifth last year in Miami.

Where does Alonso play into this mix?


Miami could be a place to where we see some attrition. After a physical race weekend in Baku last week, they come across the globe to the United States this week and are doing so in the South Florida heat. Then, it’s a week off but traveling overseas for a three-race stretch is back-to-back-to-back weeks of Italy (May 21), Monaco (May 28) and Spain (June 4). Then, another off week before coming back over here to North America for Montreal (June 18).

That’s six races in an eight-week span that sees the teams fly across the Atlantic four times. Come Montreal on June 18, how weary will these teams be?

Top Stat

3 of the 4 races run this season have been won from the pole, however, 5 of the last 8 street course events were won from a starter on the second row too.


Saudi Arabia: Max Verstappen (started 4th)

Miami: Max Verstappen (started 3rd)

Monaco: Sergio Perez (started 3rd)

Baku: Max Verstappen (started 3rd)

Montreal: Max Verstappen (started 1st)

Marina Bay: Sergio Perez (started 2nd)


Saudia Arabia: Sergio Perez (started 1st)

Baku: Sergio Perez (started 3rd)

6 of the last 7 races in general were won from the pole with 9 of the last 10 from the front row at that.

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