Verstappen ignores hype ahead of Miami Grand Prix | Sunday Observer

Verstappen ignores hype ahead of Miami Grand Prix

8 May, 2022
 Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen

MIAMI: World champion Max Verstappen took time to relax with a game of baseball while seeking to ignore all the hype and razzmatazz this weekend when he bids to trim Charles Leclerc’s lead with a third win of the season at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix.

Fresh from his victory at the Emilia Romagna GP where Verstappen led Sergio Perez home in a resounding Red Bull one-two, the 24-year-old Dutchman arrived in Florida trailing leader Leclerc of Ferrari by 27 points.

Both drivers know there is a long way to go in the title race after four races and will be aware that their long-awaited Formula One duel has captured the imagination ahead of today’s much-anticipated contest.

Round five of the new era battle between a younger generation of racers takes place at the self-styled Miami International Autodrome, a fast street track built at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. The stadium is, by rich irony, home to the NFL’s Miami Dolphins whose name serves to remind F1’s bruised drivers of the pain generated by their new ground effect cars this season as they bump up and down at high speeds on the straights.

“It is an exciting new challenge and a step into the unknown,” said Toto Wolff, team boss of champions Mercedes whose cars have suffered extreme proposing this year.

“The track looks demanding, with a real mix of low and high-speed corners and it’s set to be a spectacular showcase for the sport to a growing US fan-base. We’re set for a fantastic event.”

The race will be the first of two in America this year, adding to the successful United States Grand Prix held in Austin, Texas, and pre-event hype has drawn suggestions that it will be F1’s answer to the Super Bowl, complete with A-list celebrities and vast crowded hospitality areas.

A third American race in Las Vegas is scheduled to join the calendar next year. (Agencies)