Formula 1 heads to the western hemisphere for the first time in 2022 for the inaugural Miami Grand Prix on Sunday at 3:30pm Eastern on ABC. Miami becomes the 11th American city to host a grand prix and excitement is high amongst the drivers to get to test out the new track that is situated around Hard Rock Stadium, the home of the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes, in Miami Gardens.
Last Time Out
For the second race in a row we saw a driver completely dominate the weekend. This time it was Max Verstappen who shined brightest at Imola. Verstappen not only completed the grand slam, just as Charles Leclerc did the race before in Australia, Verstappen also won the sprint race as well. It was the fourth time in F1 history we had back-to-back grand slams and the first time it had been done by different drivers. Verstappen was never challenged on Sunday and cruised to a pretty easy win and even got to rub salt in the wound that has been this season for Lewis Hamilton by lapping the driver he fought so aggressively for the championship last year.
It was a rotten week for Ferrari. Carlos Sainz was wrecked out of the race on the first lap by Daniel Ricciardo making it the second race in a row where Sainz was out within the first couple of laps. The team opted to pit Leclerc late in hopes of wrestling the fastest lap point and maybe second place, but Red Bull pitted both Verstappen and Sergio Perez and Leclerc got too aggressive chasing Perez and spun out. He was able to rescue sixth place after his spin out moved him to ninth, but his lead in the championship shrunk and it seems as if we have a proper title chase on our hands once again.
Miami International Autodrome
3.363 miles, 19 corners, anticipated average speed of 223 km/h
The first thing that stands out about this track is the EXTREMELY long straightaway coming out of turn 16. That much straight surface is going to have the cars flying . Combined that with three DRS zones and this should be an extremely fast track which should favor Red Bull because they’ve had the fastest car when it comes to straight line speed. That said, a couple of the drivers who were able to try out the Miami track in the simulator said the final turn can be quite tight. That corner along with the stretch of track from turn 11 to turn 16 should be critical to the race.
Pierre Gasly had a positive review of the track telling motorsport.com, “I’ve tried it and I must say it looks pretty awesome. I really liked the layout. Quite a lot of high-speed content, quite challenging, unusual type of corners, extremely long corners, very long straights.”
This should be a Red Bull week. So much of the track is straight or mostly straight that Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez should have an advantage over their rivals at Ferrari. Verstappen is the favorite right now at FanDuel Sportsbook at -105. I think the betting market is vastly underrating Perez in this race. At FanDuel he has the same odds as Sainz to win the race and is a much longer shot to win the pole which makes no sense. I’m not a fan of betting without being able to see the cars on track, but Perez has been extremely fast this year and won the race at Baku last year when Verstappen had a tyre issue and that circuit’s layout has some similarity to Miami’s so I went ahead and fired on Perez to win qualification at +1600 (it’s now +1400 and still betable). Do I think he’ll outqualify his teammate Verstappen? Not necessarily, but there’s a ton of value here in my opinion.
Other bets I’m considering but want to see the cars on track first:
Verstappen fastest lap and win the race +225 (Caesars): IF this is a Red Bull week that means Verstappen should win this race and with him trying to make up ground on Leclerc in the driver’s championship standings I’m pretty confident Red Bull will push for him to have the fastest lap ahead of Perez. You gotta love F1 team politics.
Red Bull Double Podium Finish +150 (DraftKings): I don’t need to say more about Red Bull.
Top 6 Finish
Pierre Gasly +550 (DK)
Yuki Tsunoda +1300 (FD)
I won’t bet these before qualifying, but the Alpha Tauri cars have the Red Bull engine and both drivers have had a chance to explore this circuit in the simulator. If one, or both, can make Q3 on Sunday I’ll probably like this look a lot.
George Russell > Lewis Hamilton H2H line TBD
Just putting this on the radar because it seems like books don’t fully respect the fact that Russell just has a flat out better handle on the new car than Hamilton does. In Free Practice 1, DraftKings has Hamilton -175 head to head with Russell who is +125 and at this point it seems like books are still respecting Hamilton’s legacy which right now doesn’t match what he’s putting out on the track.