Formula 1 did its usual party trick in Miami – a grand prix that couldn’t have any more hype if it tried, and had every celebrity present one could possibly imagine, ultimately turned out to be just that – vacuous and empty.
A nice pass for the lead and a late race safety car steeple chase aside, not a whole lot happened in the actual race.
Then again, it therefore provided as much spectacle off the track as on it – therefore there was much going up and down in the Magic City:
Albon’s magical Williams shirt
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 5, 2022
Albon was being rather wry in above video, also causing a hilarious moment when he suggests Charles Leclerc would have to drive a Williams if he wanted to get his Monegasque mittens on the Williams Miami edition tropical shirt – the Ferrari man can almost be heard to whimper in fear at such a thought.
We’re not sure if the income from Williams’ horror show automobilia pieces have had an effect on its car performance just yet, but Albon’s Sunday afternoon drives are certainly bringing in the points.
The Thai driver once again showed shrewdness behind the wheel, a long run playing into his hands for the third race in a row. After the ‘Miracle of Melbourne’ where Albon started last, did all but one lap on his hard tyres and scored a point, he then managed to haul the Williams from 20th to 11th in Imola and then 18th to ninth in Miami.
Not bad for a driver who seemed to be mentally traumatised by Red Bull, benched for a year, then placed in one of F1’s worst-performing teams.
Brundle’s grid walk
“This grid walk is either going to mildly interesting, or a total car crash,” Martin Brundle said presciently Miami.
MB’s celebrity trawl up and down the start / finish straight was more exciting than three of the five races so far this year (Miami included) – and also might have been his best yet in all his years of broadcasting.
A celebration of celebrity vacuousness in all its glory, Brundle was bemused, befuddled, yet still managed to show acerbic whit whilst not really being rude to anyone.
The F1 and TV veteran couldn’t seem to work out why said celebrities he was speaking too were even there – and neither seemingly could they.
George Russell described his correct Miami strategy a “total fluke” but it took the driving to make it happen. The only driver to finish in the top five in every race this season, he made his hard compound Pirellis last until lap 39 in Miami to rise from 12th to fifth, gazumping team-mate Lewis Hamilton once again in the process.
Russell almost always proved himself to be Toto’s star pupil at Williams, and he’s doing the same again at Mercedes.
Ocon under the radar
Esteban Ocon has very quietly been one of the standout performers this year, but barely anyone seems to have noticed.
After scoring decent points in the first three races, Ocon managed to do it again in Miami. The Alpine didn’t even get to take part in qualifying after a 51G crash in FP3 cracked the AP22’s chassis, also leaving him feeling like he only had “50%” of his normal physical strength.
As others crashed, collided (unlike his team-mate) and broke down around him, a well-executed one-stop for the Ocon brought him up to ninth, which became eighth when his team-mate Alonso was handed a 5sec penalty.
Hamilton vs safety car
Looking ahead towards 2022, seems unlikely Hamilton would be thinking that Bernd Maylander would be his biggest adversary this year, but that’s how the cookie crumbles.
After being stuffed by SC calls in Saudi Arabia and Melbourne, the same happened in Miami – the late race yellow flag meaning that Hamilton had the choice of pitting and losing track position, or staying out and getting mullered by his team-mate anyway, which is exactly what happened.
The one time Hamilton needed a safety car in Imola after being bogged down the field, it never came.
Schumacher sinks himself – and takes Vettel with him
Mick Schumacher looked well suited to the Miami International Autodrome, and finally seemed on course to score his first ever points in F1 before having a bit of a Luke / Anakin Skywalker moment.
The young German contrived to ruin his own race – and his friend and mentor Sebastian Vettel’s – by having a hugely over-optimistic dive up the inside of T1 whilst both were in the points in the closing laps. Vettel had to retire and Schumacher finished last as a result. Dis-Haas–trous (sorry).
Wonder if Vettel will field any questions on the matter during his BBC Question time appearance next week.
From ecstasy to agony for Woking. Lando Norris’s decent starting position was thrown into the fake marina by getting stuck down in 16th after his stop, then totally went under when he collided with a slowing Pierre Gasly.
It was even worse for Daniel Ricciardo – after finishing last in Imola, even in a war of attrition his survival drive only yielded 11th.
At least Norris had the best Miami crash helmet – you can see that and the rest of the field’s here.
And on the subject of that wooden marina
It took 25,000sq ft of vinyl to make F1’s fake marina. FOM might want to review that one if it’s going to hit its net zero target.