If you had to wait for a turning point to find the end of Carlos Sainz’s bad luck, perhaps it was that: the spin at maximum speed that he suffered between turns four and five, very fast, and that ended with a scare without more when the slightest brush with the walls would have annoyed anyone on Friday. One second with shortness of breath and that’s it, keep running. The Miami GP started with friction for some (like Verstappen) and crashes for others, like Bottas, who forced the first red flag of the weekend when he crashed the Alfa Romeo against the protections. The track is new for everyone and hardly allows mistakes, because outside the asphalt loopholes there are concrete and tec-pro barriers.
The fastest in the morning was Leclerc followed by a surprising Russell with the Mercedes, that seems to have solved, in part, the ‘porpoising’ problems that hampered its potential in the first races. Hamilton was ahead for much of the session, as was Sainz, who finished sixth behind Verstappen, Pérez and Gasly, and ahead of Albon and Lewis. Ocon’s Alpine did not stand out for its times, with Alonso 12th and Ocon, 15th.
But a first contact with this circuit, so fast and in such demanding weather conditions (30ºC, humidity and sun) is not enough to conclude how the weekend will unfold. In theory, the straights favor Red Bull, but Ferrari has brought a new, more efficient, less conservative rear wing that will allow them to stand out at top speed while slightly sacrificing performance and grip in slow corners. The RB18 does not bring news. Mercedes has tweaked the front and rear wings. There is no time to lose.