Max Verstappen has won the Miami GP from ninth place on the grid, thanks to an inspired tyre strategy. The Red Bull driver combined hard and medium compounds to his advantage, managing to keep the hard tyres in good shape for a lengthy first stint while the front-runners suffered with graining on their medium tyres. The gamble paid off, but Verstappen admits it had an element of risk. “I was happy to take that gamble and do it the other way around,” he said. “I just felt like maybe it gave me a better opportunity to get through the field initially.”
The idea behind Verstappen‘s strategy came following a discussion with his engineer, Gianpiero Lambiase. Verstappen said they wondered about it on Saturday and, after raising it with Red Bull, found that, in terms of race time, “it was very close between doing a medium/hard or hard/medium, so it didn’t really matter.”
Verstappen‘s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez said he never considered using the hard tyre as his starting option, as it would have been too much of a risk from up front. “Starting on the hard is much more like a gamble that can go right or wrong with safety cars,” Perez said. “Once we did a few laps on [the medium tyre], we realised that it was quite a poor tyre.” Following the race, Perez said that he was unsure if the harder compound would have produced a win for him, as he could not predict how the tyre would perform.