(L to R): Max Verstappen, Red Bull; Charles Leclerc, Ferrari; Miami International Autodrome, 2022

Verstappen passes and rebuffs Leclerc to win F1’s first Miami Grand Prix

2022 Miami Grand Prix summary

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Max Verstappen passed championship leader Charles Leclerc in the opening laps and withstood a fightback from the Ferrari driver to win F1’s first Miami Grand Prix.

Verstappen overtook the pole-winner on lap nine and managed to keep ahead of the Ferrari for the remainder of the race, despite a late Safety Car bunching the leaders up in the closing stages.

Carlos Sainz Jnr finished third after fending off a late challenge from Sergio Perez after the last restart.

Before the field had even taken off on the formation lap, trouble struck Aston Martin as both Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel failed to make it to grid. The team later explained that a fuel temperature problem was affecting both cars ahead of the race, with the pair having to start from the pit lane instead.

When the lights went out, Leclerc got a good start and took the lead into turn one, while Verstappen challenged Sainz for second around the outside. Sainz held firm, but being on the outside but Verstappen to the inside for turn two and the Red Bull took second place. Sainz settled into third, with Sergio Perez retaining fourth position ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

Race start, Miami International Autodrome, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Miami Grand Prix in pictures
Fernando Alonso gained four places at the start to take seventh, passing Lewis Hamilton by making wheel-to-wheel contact with the Mercedes at turn two. However, a mistake at turn six on lap three allowed Hamilton to tuck into the Alpine’s slipstream, before passing him on on the approach to turn 11. Hamilton then chased down sixth placed Pierre Gasly, passing him on lap six.

Zhou Guanyu was called into the pit lane and into retirement at the end of lap seven, the rookie Alfa Romeo driver’s first retirement of his career.

Leclerc was unable to pull away from Verstappen behind in the early laps, the Red Bull driver eventually able to get within DRS range of the Ferrari. At the end of lap eight, Verstappen got a far superior exit from the turn 17 hairpin and with the benefit of slipstream and DRS, pulled alongside the leader on the pit straight and took the lead into the first corner at the start of lap nine.

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Verstappen pulled out of DRS range of Leclerc, before a lock up under braking for turn 17 cost the Ferrari a second in his pursuit of the Red Bull out front. Perez tried to catch Sainz to challenge for third, but began to complain over team radio about a “loss of power” down the straights, falling to over eight seconds behind the second Ferrari.

The gap between Verstappen and Leclerc was almost five seconds when Ferrari called Leclerc in for his stop at the end of lap 24. A 3.2 second stop still allowed him to rejoin ahead of Bottas’s Alfa Romeo in fourth place. Verstappen was called in two laps later, surrendering the lead to Sainz but rejoining just ahead of his team mate and even further ahead of Leclerc than before the Ferrari had pitted.

Next it was the turn for Sainz and Perez to pit at the end of lap 27. A delay on the right-front wheel cost Sainz close to four seconds, but he retained his third place ahead of Perez out of the pit lane.

Verstappen pulled away out front, extending his lead to eight seconds. Then, on lap 41, Pierre Gasly ran wide at turn eight and made contact with Lando Norris as the McLaren tried to pass the AlphaTauri onto the straight. Norris was sent spinning, his right-rear tyre coming off his wheel.

With the McLaren stricken on the straight, the Virtual Safety Car was deployed. George Russell and Esteban Ocon, who were still on the hard tyres they had started the race on, pulled into the pits to switch onto new tyres. The Virtual Safety Car was upgraded to a full Safety Car, to allow the debris to be cleared from the straight, with Leclerc now right behind Verstappen.

The race restarted at the start of lap 47, Verstappen led away from Leclerc but Sainz came under intense pressure from Perez for third. Perez tried to pass the Ferrari, but Sainz managed to successfully fend off the Red Bull.

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Lewis Hamilton pressured Valtteri Bottas for fifth, but was himself under pressure from Russell on fresh medium tyres. A mistake out of turn 17 for Bottas allowed both Mercedes through, before Russell passed his team mate through turn 12 to take fifth place. However, Russell was asked to hand the position back due to worries he was outside of track limits. He duly did so, but later repassed his team mate legally into turn 11.

Perez dived to the inside of Sainz at turn one to briefly take third place, before Sainz managed to cut back on the exit and reclaim the position. Despite the assault, Sainz was able to keep the Red Bull at bay.

There were multiple incidents over the final laps, with Kevin Magnussen colliding with Lance Stroll while battling at turn 11, before Mick Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel clashed at turn one, causing enough damage to force the Aston Martin into retirement and Schumacher to pit for a new front wing.

Leclerc pushed hard to try and attack Verstappen for the lead of the race, but Verstappen had enough pace in hand to keep the Ferrari at a safe distance and check off the remaining laps to take the chequered flag and his second successive victory, as well as the bonus point for fastest lap.

Leclerc took second place, with Sainz holding on to the final podium place in third. Perez finished fourth, with Russell taking fifth for Mercedes, ahead of team mate Hamilton.

Valtteri Bottas claimed seventh for Alfa Romeo, ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Alpine, which finished ahead of Esteban Ocon on track, but dropped behind his team mate after Alonso had a five second time penalty for earlier contact with Pierre Gasly. Alex Albon claimed the final point with tenth.

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2022 Miami Grand Prix reaction

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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60 comments on “Verstappen passes and rebuffs Leclerc to win F1’s first Miami Grand Prix”

  1. The venue is quite generic and definitely doesn’t deserve a regular place in the calendar. TV director was totally off today and that cringefest at the end with police motorcycles was just…indescribable. Why can’t we go to some classic American circuit instead of these artificial bores – even COTA is a pastiche of four different circuits and hardly has a spirit on its own. Just give us some Nürburgring and Mugello instead of these made-up sensations.

    1. Agreed. Give us Laguna Seca!

      1. They have such lovely race tracks and they throw us these “show tracks”. Las Vegas is going to be even more horrible and cringe worthy.

      2. SHR Modding
        9th May 2022, 0:06

        laguna seca? that’s gonna be a borefest!

        1. Road America could be fun!

    2. @pironitheprovocateur:
      Good point on the tv director. Annoying close up shots when a move could happen but now we couldn’t see :-S
      I don’t disagree on the other points either. I’m slightly milder though..

      1. I think close up shots of drunk bros in snap-backs in the stands is very American. It’s a staple of sports broadcasting here. I can watch a bundesliga or epl game and if you told me the fans were just painted cardboard and the cheering recorded it would have to consider the possibility.

        1. The cheering *is* recorded because football crowds have a tenancy to chant racist abusive hatemongering things at very high volume.

    3. some racing fan
      8th May 2022, 23:23

      Because all the best venues we have here simply do not have the facilities to host an F1 race. It would cost millions for venues like Road America, Watkins Glen, Sebring, Daytona, Road Atlanta, Sonoma, Laguna Seca, VIR and others to be upgraded to host races. And on top of that all of those circuits are in the middle of nowhere bar Daytona and Sonoma.

      Laguna Seca would cost the least to upgrade because it already has its modern facilities from the MotoGP races there some years back. But in its present form it is too short for an F1 race- it would need to be lengthened a little bit. That’s certainly possible.

      1. Laguna seca would be like Monaco for f1 cars. Road America would be great but way too dangerous on the back side and I’m not sure the landscape makes necessary changes possible.

        1. some racing fan
          9th May 2022, 5:45

          The nature of Laguna Seca is actually quite similar to Brands Hatch, in that both tracks are undulating driver’s cirrcuit that both have a lot of mid-speed corners that are tightly bunched together. Laguna Seca would need to be lengthened to at least 2.5 miles, which they could do by utilizing the part of the old circuit that is no longer used (but is still there) and then create a hairpin that doubles back to the current circuit. But Laguna Seca is seriously one of the most visually spectacular circuits in the world. It’s buried in these hills that is surrounded by this beautiful mountain range, that provides this jaw-dropping backdrop on the backside of the circuit, you know the part between Turn 6 and the Corkscrew.

          You’re absolutely right about Road America. I went there last year for the IMSA race there and discovered something unfortunate about the Kink: although the Carousel has decent run-off area, the Kink has very little grass run-off and then a solid concrete wall, and behind that- trees. And then worse: within those trees, a functioning railroad a mere 50 feet from the concrete wall was there, in the space where run-off has to be. So in addition to cutting down trees, which is already very difficult the railroad would either have to be moved or dug underground. So hundreds of millions would be required to do all that, plus all the other safety and pit facilities required.

          Road America’s location is not nearly as isolated as say, Watkins Glen. Road America is 15 minutes from the town of Sheboygan, and an hour from Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s largest city; and 2 1/2 hours from Chicago. Whereas Watkins Glen is 4 1/2 to 5 hours from New York City and Philadelphia, and 2 1/2 hours from Buffalo and Niagara Falls.

      2. Racetracks are generally in the middle of nowhere – available land (usually on more interesting, undulating terrain), less restrictions due to noise disturbance, etc. Yet we travel to them, because they’re fit-for-purpose environments that give us fighting chance of having quality racing.

        Didn’t it cost millions to develop the carpark at Miami?

    4. I luv chciken
      9th May 2022, 0:39

      I yelled at the tv director on Friday, on Saturday, and was resigned to watch the cruddy production today. We thought Monaco was bad with their own Tv crew, This was the elite F1 group, and man did they suck. Just because you have all these gimmicks, you aren’t required to use them all. Sometimes less is more.
      And now, isn’t it time for SKY and F1 tv to stop pretending Mercedes, Russell, and Hamilton, are worth this attention. This is a global feed. Enough of Lewis ate here, Lewis swam here, Lewis played golf with Brady. Give us F1 stories, not pablum.
      And if I hear Russell one more time say that we just have to unlock the equation, I think that I’m gonna puke.
      One more point, as a fan of F1 and racing in general, do I really want more useless tattle, from the Williams sisters, two guys who were just hangers on on the grid. Mistaking some giant for Patrick Mahomes, come on Brundle, either get a new produce, or do some homework. Too much work to be in touch with, Liberty, to find out who gets passes? I hate to mention it, but Bernie would never have let that happen, He knew every single person strolling the grid, and asked why those who were supposed to be there didn’t show up.

    5. Watkins Glen is also a nice American track but very far from cities but beter asfalt would be much beter for racing i think they used cheap stuff which was breaking while driving over it.

    6. Leave it to FLA to inject cops into an F1 weekend. Truly vomit inducing.

  2. That safety car saved the race really & gave an enjoyable end to the race. Getting pretty tired of this race director though, this season especially missing big moves & showing too many replays in the wrong places. All the American parts of this weekend have been utterly cringey, over the top & awkward. I’m all for visiting new places, travelling the world is a huge part of F1. But this level of Americanness is just bad, Texas get’s it much more ‘right’.

    1. That safety car saved the race really & gave an enjoyable end to the race

      While you’re not wrong, careful how much praise you give to a late safety car, as the next logical step is the most American of inventions… the “competition caution”!
      The race director was already really bad during the W Series races, so I didn’t hold out much improvement for the F1 race.
      I get the feeling that camera positioning was either not planned properly, or affected by the late completion of the circuit. The amount of times a high shot couldn’t actually see the cars due to the adjacent furniture was ridiculous.

  3. Max considering how much little running he did was just mega, Charles was there but Max had too much pace on reserve not to forget the horrendous strategy of Ferrari, even Christian was surprised.

    1. They should have left Sainz out longer. I guess they are playing for the wcc but the potential for either a VSC/SC or just holding up verstappen was there.

      1. Seeing Max pace i don’t think Sainz could stop Max.

  4. Ferrari’s straight-line speed & tyre wear were decisive.
    One full SC neutralization, although I was prepared for more.
    Still, quite a few incidents, especially post-SC.

    1. @jerejj The tire wear is directly related to the straight-line deficit since you have to stress the tires in the corners to make up the difference.

      1. @jerejj: @cobray:
        The flip side of that tire wear is that Leclerc could mount a serious attack for 5 laps after the SC, due to quicker tire warmup.. It did give us some nice action filled laps in an otherwise done race.

      2. @cobray @baasbas Good & valid points.

  5. “However, Russell was asked to hand the position back due to worries he was outside of track limit”

    Lol, really?

    1. @bluechris It did seem self-defeating from Mercedes. As soon as they restarted on very different tyres (Hamilton should have made the call to pit earlier himself) there was no way Russell wasn’t going to pass. So why reel him back just to have to do the same again when he could have feasibly closed the gap more on those ahead? Did they really think FIA were going to penalize Russell with no other team complaining?

      1. @david-br – Those are the current rules Teams have to solve this themselfs if not penaulties would follow even inner teams. It was smart and he could pass easy anyway.

        1. And even in the past there’s been penalties even for same team crashes, so just because it doesn’t involve other teams doesn’t mean the stewards aren’t gonna intervene.

      2. There are precedents for the race director penalising drivers who did overtake their team mates in similar circumstances and without another team protesting.

  6. Quite a good race, not the most inspiring circuit, but hey, we’re going to Barcelona next. Yay.
    The more the Miami organisers tried to engage with their audience, the more the people here seemed to turn their backs on the race. The Miami audience and the RaceFans audience definitely don’t align.
    Yes it was pastiche and very American over the top here and there, but what’s wrong with having other people having a go at putting their version of F1 forward on the calendar? It seemed to be an event people wanted to be at, which isn’t everything, but we’ve seen much worse in the US (and outside of the US too).
    The race itself was decent by reasonable standards (quite some fights on track, including an overtake for the lead, a safety car and a sprint to the end), I feel there’s too many people just waiting to slam the race down for “I don’t like the hype”.

    1. It’s not about disliking the hype, it’s quite substantiated fear that this will become a standard for F1 races in the future. 35 races a year and we’ll get to race in London, New York and Disneylands all over the world. Take your family, there’s hot dogs and oh, some cars. You don’t have to mind them. It’s form over substance and although F1 got commercialized a long time ago, this already feels like a circus.

      1. José Lopes da Silva
        8th May 2022, 23:13

        Have you been at the circuit?
        Because if you didn’t and watched online or TV, why do you care about the circus? It’s the track and the cars that matter – and the TV director, for sure, obviously.

      2. @pironitheprovocateur:
        Yes, this. And despite all the moaning about the fake marina, it wasn’t thát bad imho. It was not like they tried to make it look real. It was a gimmick. But it was made to look like a gimmick. I don’t mind that side stuff too much because it is stuff on the side… But when they mess up crash safety (Ocon)… and the much talked about track surface… it starts to look like the attention to the side stuff is actually taking away attention to the stuff that matters :-S

      3. it’s quite substantiated fear that this will become a standard for F1 races in the future

        Though I can see where your fear comes from I’m not too afraid of it. If you look at Miami event, but take out the cardboard set dressing many Americans (apparently) like, you’ll get something like Zandvoort.
        Yes Zandvoort has a more natural location and more history, but they had set up an entire festival around the race too (it fell a bit flat due to covid restrictions). A more European take on the same concept.
        In terms of fan engagement I saw (on TV that is) people on the grandstands who seemingly really wanted to be there. They were supporting specific teams and drivers and weren’t just in Miami to make business deals whilst standing with their back to the track. In those ways, to me, Miami is really a different story from UAE, Qatar, Sochi, etc.

    2. SHR Modding
      9th May 2022, 0:01

      The Miami audience and the RaceFans audience definitely don’t align

      hah you can say that again

      1. The end goal is for the race to be like the Super Bowl: The people willing and able to go are super rich and they want to see celebrities and be seen with them, or they got tickets from the investment bank for whom they are prized clients.

        It’s not the true fans’ utopia. But f1 is a sport that has pointedly traded on glitz and glamor for a long time. It seems a bit late to complain it lacks revolutionary consciousness. It may be that the this particular display of wealth and exclusivity is too arriviste for some.

  7. Apart from the first sector, this track is dull. Maybe the surface played a big role, but let’s see next year when the track grips up and allows the drivers to push harder. I think Leclerc panicked and pushed his tyres too hard at the start. Let’s see at Spain how Ferrari respond to this. Maybe Spain should suit them better, but expect a lot of updates to the cars.

  8. Lame post race interview, horrible podium arrangement. Absolute boring race.. USa USA usa

  9. Verstappen aced this race. Awesome.

    Leclerc will be wondering how Sainz kept Perez behind Witt fresher tyres. Perez will be wondering the same!

    Sainz was unlucky again in the pits.

    Russell did an awesome job and also got lucky.

    Hamilton bottled the start, then overtook 3 cars on merit with no tyre advantage. A lot of good work to finish where he started…

    Bottas… did well to keep Hamilton behind…. Till he lost it. Still a top result for Alfa.

    Alpine just aren’t quick enough to compete at the pointy end. Maybe the 5th fastest team.

    Albon – is the points thief! Once again he put the Williams up where it shouldn’t be.

    Ricciardo… was anonymous until the end, when he made big progress to get no points.

    Norris will be furious about the contact with Gasly. He deserved better.

  10. Moana Pasifika
    9th May 2022, 0:21

    I had F1TV on, and selected Lewis Hamilton’s drivercam – and of course it comes with the radio etc, while also watching the main race feed on another device.
    I think Lewis threw away a potential 4th or even 3rd place. I also think we’re at the point where Mercedes will need to accept that George is their lead driver, whether they like it or not.
    When the VSC was deployed, Bono was on the radio to Lewis pretty much instantly. “Incident up ahead, how are your tyres?” or words to that effect. The subsequent comms from Lewis were, for me, quite surprising. I had naively imagined he would jump at the chance to grab a set of soft tyres, or worst-case some mediums, for the remaining 15 or so laps…he was very well placed as he was coming up to the pit entry when the VSC was deployed, and in any event the SC came out for another couple of laps.
    The gap to the next car was what, 18 seconds? So there was ample time to pit, exit, and still be in with a great chance when the SC departed.
    But Lewis wasn’t sure. He kept arguing with Bono as to what to do, Bono asked him to come in on THREE different occasions during the SC period, James (strategist) even got on the blower too, but in the end Lewis told his garage to make the decision and not saddle him with it. So Bono made the call – staying out.
    That was a huge surprise for me. Lewis was extremely conservative – claiming at one point in the exchange with Bono, “I don’t want to lose a position to George at the restart”, despite having been told that George had pitted and was right behind him. With 15 or so laps to go, surely Lewis knew he was going to be sitting duck for George at the restart?
    Anyhow, my 2 cents…the audio body language on Lewis’ radio wasn’t that of a man who is hungry for another title, or even just another win. At least not in this race, let’s wait for Austin.

    1. I feel Hamilton isn’t very confident about the Mercedes Strategists. He always seems to be second guessing them. They have made some very bad errors recently (Hungary last year and many others). Maybe years of a Top 2 car has made them a bit slow to react.
      Also Hamilton himself has become more conservative over the years or maybe he lacks that extra intelligence required to make those quick but calculated calls.

    2. You have to make a call based on the VSC of that moment you can’t predict a SC. The team has all the tools to make the best prediction for that moment but with hindsight it was the wrong decision.

    3. Thanks for filling in that insight on the decision to pit or not there Moana, it makes it feel a bit cringe when we then did get to hear Hamilton complaining about the strategy not having been kind to him when he had it in his own control to change that.

      I agree with you that Hamilton somehow seems far more downbeat than the car really deserves, in contrast to Russel who just seems to take what he can get right now and doing a great job at it.

    4. I feel this is a natural or logical result from having such a great car for a decade. There was no need for these considerations and decisions in the past. So he is and they are a bit rusty since the last 10 years they didn’t practice cleaver racing savviness. Similar to what could be seen with Lewis wheel to wheel skills, last year. His sometimes somewhat clumsy battling with Max also was a result of him not needing to do that for a long time. The rest of the field have been battling strategy wise and on the track for years so they tend to be better at it. Notwithstanding Lewis level at all, you just don’t grow in what you don’t practice. I am sure he’ll bounce back, just had it too easy for a long time.

    5. A win for hamilton this year, if this is the performance level, would have more value than 95% of his career wins most likely, not sure it’s gonna happen but curious, and indeed, he doesn’t seem hungry in team radios like these.

  11. Firstly I want to say that I am not American. But I feel it is unfair knocking the American way. Part of the attraction of venues all over the world is exposure the the culture, this is the American way, you see this to some degree at all major American sports events, they were always going to do it. For me its all good and interesting to see. I’m sure the kinks will be ironed out for the next one.

  12. Well first of all congratulations to Verstappen and Redbull for a classy win, Ferarri just did not have the pace despite Leclerc’s best efforts. Looks like Redbull has the aero package to beat at the moment giving overall the best compromise. I hope Ferrari can bring some improvements soon.
    It’s hard to feel sorry for a 7 times WDC but Hamilton must be hurting being stuck with a pig of a car. It looks like Russell is getting a handle on it a bit quicker.
    Another shocker for McLaren. I know I had high hopes for them this season but it looks a bit dismal at the moment. Ricciardo had another poor weekend and Norris…ah well.
    Bring on Spain :))

    1. Honestly I see no basis to say hamilton at peak is any better than alonso at peak, yet he has 3,5 more titles?? Now we’re seeing what hamilton can do with a mediocre car, in fact dare I say this car is better than many of the mclarens alonso drove.

    2. 3,5x I meant

  13. George and safety cars, you got to make your own luck. Superb drive by Max today

  14. Masterclass from Max. Totally under control, no mistakes under pressure… even in the last few laps, the win never seemed to really be in contention.

  15. Great pass on Sainz at the start and a great pass on Leclerc later on. Max brings excitement. Deserved driver of the day.

  16. Samuel (@samuelbeach1)
    9th May 2022, 9:05

    The race wasn’t the best but neither was it terrible. The safety car certainly livened things up as is often the case. The main issue for me was the race direction yet again. It made the race seem duller than it actually was. The amount of times FOM used overhead and helicopter cameras during overtakes completely ruined the excitement of the on-track action for me. They seemed more interested in constantly panning around the track to “show off” the Miami GP rather than focus on the racing. There were plenty of lulls in the race where they could have done this instead. There were also far too many replays whilst action was still happening on track and I was shouting at my TV when I could see on the timing screen that Russell and Hamilton were switching places and when Vettel and Schumacher had their tangle. That, allied to the obligatory “here’s a celebrity at a Grand Prix” and “let’s have a look at what a great time the paddock club members are having” really made it frustrating to watch. I understand that the job of articulating a race on TV is difficult especially when you have multiple story lines to follow but it seemed during this race that the racing was secondary to the promotion of it which is sad. Whilst I might not like it, I get the need to hype up the sport which under Ecclestone didn’t really have the freedom to do so but when it comes at the expense of showing the actual racing I’m afraid it’s gone too far.

    1. The same random cuts to celebrities, drivers family / friends, ill timed cutaways to paddock numpties or pit crew reactions happened decades before the Liberty era. Bad broadcast directors have been mainstay with F1, enough for even the commentators to complain on air quite frequently.

    2. This is true, they missed many overtakes, that likely were just boring drs ones, but still, at least show the racing happening.

    3. And yes, hamilton-russell repassed a few times when there was the give position back issue and ofc they missed it.

  17. The start from 3th to 2nd was crucial for the victory. It looked like an easy win but the pace of the Ferrari and Red Bull are evenly matched if you compare the lap times. I think Max made the difference. Did Ferrari play safe or did they miss the opportunity to pit during the VSC? They made a clear radio call to Leclerc to stay out. Sainz still doesn’t have the pace it is clear that like Perez he is going to play second driver this season. Feel sorry for him still haven’t won a race despite being a Ferrari driver. Also feel a bit sorry for Mick still no points.

    1. I don’t think so, verstappen gained a lot over the course of the race, the only reason leclerc was attacking him in the end was the VSC.

    2. And sainz can definitely win a race with this car, but he needs something to happen to verstappen and leclerc, they’re simply faster drivers in similar cars. I think so far the best chance for sainz could’ve been monaco 2021, he was on course to beat leclerc’s time, although there was also the verstappen’s threat, in quali, and if starting on pole he had good chances of winning.

  18. F1TV has brought the John Watson and Ben Edwards team back in the commentators’ box. They had been doing nice job in the mind 90s on Eurosport and I liked a lot their work yesterday. I hope they keep them. Sam Collins can grow a lot around these guys.

    In the beginning of the season I felt disappointed that the Sky coverage has disappeared, but the team yesterday was much better and it felt like a relief. I only miss a bit Martin Brundle.

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