Leclerc's mistake and other takeaways from Miami GP's only practice

Max Verstappen setting the fastest time in the Miami Grand Prix's only practice session is no big surprise in Formula 1 in 2024 – but the world champion has not had an easy ride.

Verstappen reached the top with his final flying lap of the session on the softest Pirelli tire compound (C4), and there were three other drivers within two-tenths of Red Bull's pace at the end.

The RB20 didn't look comfortable as Verstappen tried to extract pace from it over a single lap. It locked the front axle under braking and lost the rear in high-speed sections.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, F1, Miami GP

The track was hot, rising to 54°C, with an ambient temperature of 29°C. The tires suffered and didn't last very well on a track that also requires controlling fender level to maintain straight-line speed.

Verstappen should have more pace in hand. His fastest lap was not clean and it was the second attempt with the same set of tires so he failed to extract maximum grip.

Oscar Piastri, second fastest, will perhaps be the most satisfied driver after FP1.

Oscar Piastri, McLaren, F1, Miami GP

McLaren CEO Zak Brown described Piastri's car as using only 50% of the substantial package of upgraded parts the team brought to this race.

His teammate Lando Norris has the full set of parts on his car and only finished 16th in FP1 – but he didn't set a time on the softer tire.

Norris' best lap was set on the hardest tire and was two tenths behind the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, who had set the pace on that compound.

Sainz then finished third overall on the soft tires, completing a strong session for the Ferrari driver who will not remain with the team for 2025.

On the other hand, Charles Leclerc – who East remaining – was the slowest of all after getting stuck on track on his fourth lap of the session and requiring a red flag stop to recover the car.

Leclerc hit the inside curb at Turn 16 and buckled his Ferrari, which was then unable to select reverse as he tried to get back in the right direction.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, F1, Miami GP

This will be a big blow to Leclerc's chances at a sprint weekend given that he now heads into sprint qualifying with virtually no feel of the circuit or tires.

The Mercedes drivers were cramped on the medium compound at the start of the session, while the Red Bulls focused on long stints on this tire, but George Russell took a margin of two tenths over Lewis Hamilton at the end on the soft tire setting the fourth time in the general classification.

Lance Stroll finished fifth for Aston Martin (Fernando Alonso did not use the soft tires) and Sergio Perez finished sixth in the second Red Bull. Pérez would undoubtedly have been faster without the heavy traffic in the first sector during his only lap on soft tires.

Both Alpines moved into the top 10 after what appeared to be a relatively smooth session.

Esteban Ocon was fifth among the early runners on hard tires – only the Red Bulls, Mercedes and Zhou Guanyu's Sauber did not use this tire at the start of FP1 – and there was only a tenth between Ocon and Pierre Gasly as a soft tire. the laps were thick and fast at the end.

The Alpines were sandwiched between the RBs of Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo, who both posted their best times on the medium compound in the final minutes.

Miami GP practice results

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