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5 things that made 2024 Miami Grand Prix worth watching

A successful weekend for the McLaren drivers, including in F1 Academy

Another start to forget for Sergio Perez. PHOTO FROM FORMULA 1

Formula 1 returned to the sunny state of Florida for the 2024 Miami Grand Prix in yet another sprint weekend that proved anything could happen.

In its third year in the sport, the action surrounding Hard Rock Stadium felt like a fever dream, mainly because the podium didn’t play the Dutch national anthem.

As the bollard was a marker for the hilly corner, it being missing raised the difficulty for drivers. PHOTOS FROM FORMULA 1

1. Max is not on top. We thought this weekend would be another sweep for Max Verstappen (Red Bull) after the Dutchman dominated the sprint race and qualifying sessions the day prior. Starting on pole, he zoomed into the front missing his teammate Sergio Perez, who overshot the first turn.

What flipped his pace was a miscalculation at Turn 15 on Lap 21, hitting and dragging a bollard until the back straight, resulting in a virtual safety car. In the end, Max finished in P2 alongside a drama-free Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) in P3.

Esteban Ocon probably learned from his last teammate rivalry to not bin both cars. PHOTOS FROM FORMULA 1

2. The rest were a delightful surprise. It all started when Daniel Ricciardo (VCARB) surprised the grid with his best result during the sprint, starting and finishing in an impressive P4. However, after qualifying in P18 for the main race and finishing in P15, the Honey Badger returned to the backmarkers while his teammate Yuki Tsunoda took P7.

Alpine almost had a moment on the first lap with Esteban Ocon barely squeezing Pierre Gasly into the wall of Turn 16. Thankfully, both drivers left the corner unscathed and crossed the line in P10 and P12, respectively, at last gaining the team’s first point of the season.

An American team taking out an American driver. How poetic. PHOTOS FROM FORMULA 1

3. KMag took out the home-state hero. On Lap 28, Kevin Magnussen (Haas) had a tight moment with Logan Sargeant (Williams) going into Turn 3. The Floridian local in his FW46 wasn’t given enough room, and he rubbed the Dane’s VF-24, resulting in Sargeant retiring in his home race.

Magnussen received a 10-second penalty for his action, but didn’t serve it properly in the latter stages during the safety car period, compounding in an additional 20 seconds in his race duration. He finished in P19.

When Carlos Sainz requested actions toward his battle with Oscar Piastri, he sure didn't expect a penalty for himself. PHOTOS FROM FORMULA 1

4. Sainz tussled with Piastri. After the safety car exited the track, things were heating up when Oscar Piastri (McLaren) lunged on the inside of Turn 11, spooking Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) to leave the track.

The Spaniard believed that the Aussie caused him to leave the track unjustly, but the stewards disagreed.

On Lap 39, the heat got into Sainz where he lost the rear end on Turn 17 and clipped the tail of his SF-24 onto Piastri’s front wing, earning a five-second penalty for causing a collision.

In the end, Carlos finished in P5, while Oscar was in P13 (setting the fastest lap of the race).

Lando Norris finally gets to do his signature champagne celebration as a winner. PHOTOS FROM FORMULA 1

5. Lando is finally a Grand Prix winner. McLaren had a strong race weekend with 10 new upgrades to the MCL38. Piastri and Lando Norris had a stellar race performance with the Brit taking full advantage of the safety car outing that earned him an extraordinary lead from Max.

The Internet had subtly jabbed at the 24-year-old after taking to the podium 15 times in either second or third place and choking in the lead like at the 2021 Russian GP, the latter being the origins of the nickname Lando “No-Wins.” After five seasons in the sport, Norris can finally say he is an F1 Grand Prix winner.

Will Lando shine again, or will Max take back the crown? After its cancellation last year, F1 will return to the Emilia Romagna region of Italy on May 19 (9pm, Philippine time).

Bianca Bustamante proves that Filipinos can drive. PHOTOS FROM MCLAREN AND F1 ACADEMY

BONUS: Bustamante steps onto the podium. While we don’t normally include F1 Academy coverage in our race reports, this weekend was too good not to miss for Filipina driver Bianca Bustamante (ART).

In the first race, the McLaren junior driver couldn’t start her car, leaving her behind the pack, but she managed a P9 finish. For the second race, she ended in a much better position of P2, her best position with the papaya teambetween Abby Pulling (Rodin) in first and Doriane Pin (Prema) in third.

If you want to continue following her and many others in F1 Academy, the next race for the all-women racing league will be at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, coinciding with the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix on June 22-23.

Justin Young

Justin loves cars of all forms. Molded by motoring TV shows and Internet car culture, he sees the world from a different perspective that not many get to see every day.