F1 Miami Grand Prix 2023: can King of the Streets Sergio Perez do it again and will Ferrari’s upgrades help?

Max Verstappen will hope for second victory at Miami Grand Prix despite rise of Sergio Perez

After an underwhelming outing in Azerbaijan last weekend, the drivers have now arrived in Florida ahead of the second-ever Miami Grand Prix.

The historic setting of the Baku street circuit will be swapped for a fake Marina surrounding the Hard Rock Stadium and the glitz and glamour of America are all set to descend to watch Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton battle it out.

Last year’s inaugural event was heavily anticipated with everyone wanting a piece of the action but the race itself fell flat with Max Verstappen winning one of his 15 victories of the 2022 season.

After the results we have seen this year, it doesn’t exactly feel like the new streets of Miami will provide much more excitement at the top of the field, but there is still plenty to watch out for as America prepares for their first of three races in this 2023 Formula 1 season…

Can Ferrari and McLaren build on Baku?

It seems unfair to suggest that Charles Leclerc should be excited about his third place finish. Of course, this time last year the Monegasque was still fighting for the title and higher hopes had been dreamed off when Ferrari welcomed Fred Vasseur to the party.

However, in the context of F1’s Red Bull dominance era, Leclerc’s recovery from a poor start to the season to where we are now gives much for the Prancing Horses to fight for.

McLaren have also begun to show signs of life from their season-opening catastrophes. 11th place may not be where Oscar Piastri had hoped for in Baku but after a week of being violently ill, to finish at all was somewhat miraculous and will give Zak Brown a new lease of belief as he leads the Papaya army in his first home race of 2023.

Both teams will also be able to take advantage of their new upgrades with McLaren debuting their changes last weekend. It seems incredulous to suggest these upgrades will provide first and second place for Leclerc, Carlos Sainz, Lando Norris or Piastri, but it should allow for a greater level of competition.

Max Verstappen and American Football star Tua Tagovailoa Max Verstappen and American Football star Tua Tagovailoa
Max Verstappen and American Football star Tua Tagovailoa

‘King of the Streets’

Sergio Perez secured his sixth Grand Prix win in Azerbaijan last weekend, confirming his status as ‘King of the Streets’. The Mexican sits just six points behind his teammate in the drivers’ standings and if his crown is anything to go by, this weekend could see Checo with yet another street circuit win.

Verstappen was Miami’s inaugural victor last year, of course, but we are seeing much more fight between the two Red Bulls this year with Perez looking like a viable challenger for his Dutch teammate.

Perez believes that if it were not for the break issue in Australia and having to start in the pitlane he would actually be on top of the drivers standings. This confidence will serve the 33-year-old well if he is to see victory on Sunday - and what better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than winning another Grand Prix just two days later?.

What changes have been made?

Well, for starters, this year will see actual water in the Marina - how novel. From a racing perspective, however, the most notable point is that the track has been relaid. Last year’s Miami Grand Prix was hit with multiple criticisms due to the roads being uneven.

Teething troubles are always expected at a new event but the 20 drivers will hope this new track will be far more even than what they had to endure in 2022.

This year’s Miami could also be one of the most humid races. The competitors were completely drained after completing the 57 laps last year due to the clammy conditions and while the likes of Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and George Russell are all some of the fittest athletes on the planet, the race could be a battle of endurance and mental capacity as opposed to racing ability.

The race will take place on Sunday 7 May 2023 with ‘lights out and away we go’ scheduled for 8.30pm BST.