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  • Miami GP: Five Weird And Wonderful Moments From The Track'S F Debut

Miami GP: Five weird and wonderful moments from the track's F1 debut

Formula 1's debut in Miami always promised to be an unforgettable occasion and so it proved - although less the race itself, more the before and after.

Max Verstappen won the first ever Miami Grand Prix, his third victory of the season, and closed the gap on his title rival Charles Leclerc to 19 points.

Leclerc finished second ahead of his Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz, but that's just for the race record books, there was a lot more going on off the track.

Planet Sport digs out five things that made the Miami Grand Prix stand out for all the right, and quite possibly wrong, reasons.

The Miami International Autodrome

Let's start with the actual location. Even when the race was originally announced, there were fears that a track circling the Hard Rock Stadium would resemble driving around a parking lot.

That analogy never quite went away during the race weekend and even Lewis Hamilton uttered the dreaded words "B&Q car park".

Probably a tad harsh, but there were definitely shades of the Winter Olympic complex at Sochi which was tarred with the same brush.
The racing was not the most thrilling we have ever seen, yet there were definitely parts of the track to like. The opening sequence of corners made for an exciting start in which eventual winner Max Verstappen got past Carlos Sainz to take second place.
And while not popular with the drivers, the slow chicane that led under a main road with a downhill left-hander towards the long back straight provided quite a challenge and was easy on the eye.
Tweaks can surely be made, but with another nine years on the Miami contract there is plenty of time to get it right.

The fake marina/beach club

It wouldn't be Miami without a beach theme and with the venue being a few miles inland, the organisers therefore had to improvise.
Thus appeared the fake marina…and when we say fake, we mean fake. Fake as in no water! Real boats were 'docked' on what was essentially an expanse of plywood covered in sea blue tarpaulin.
And the beach club, complete with luxury cabanas? Now that did have real water in its pool, and less authentic mermaids, but it never really looked particularly busy. Probably understandably given admission passes cost thousands of dollars.
But it looked a lot of fun and was typically Miami - and not the type of thing we are likely to see in the Royal Park of Monza any time soon.

Martin Brundle's gridwalk

After his experience with Megan Thee Stallion that went viral at last year's United States Grand Prix, Brundle's 10 minutes or so of Miami spontaneity was eagerly awaited - and it did not let us down.
Rather than being celebrated for just a single incident, this time it was, dare we say it, continuous car crash TV as the 62-year-old mingled with and elbowed out of the way various 'celebrities' he - and we - had little prior knowledge of.
The grid was so crowded Brundle literally could not see any driver and as he struggled to find anyone meaningful to interview, you sensed he had been stung by the last time he collared a 'random person' who turned out to be a grey marketing man interested only in mentioning a famous beer brand as often as possible.
Several moments stood out: he misidentified NFL star Patrick Mahomes and interviewed the wrong person; he had no clue who a successful Instagrammer/influencer was (nor did we); he got a few more words out of Venus Williams than on a previous occasion; and even David Beckham stopped for a very brief chat (at Brundle's second attempt).
And all while the Sky man wore a suitably, and uncharacteristically, distasteful shirt. Not quite 80s heart throb Don Johnson a la Miami Vice, but it does appear Brundle's popularity as a result of his gridwalk endeavours is taking on a life of its own.

The post-race interviews

Now, we don't want to be killjoys, but the choice of parc ferme interviewers at Grands Prix does not always sit comfortably.

Some ex-drivers are better than others and we've even had celebrities and Royal Family members offering various levels of competency in the role
In Miami, it was Willy T Ribbs, who had an F1 test in 1986 and was the first African-American to compete in the Indianapolis 500.
A terrific personality, Willy T, but certainly one with a unique approach to interviewing.
He referred to Sainz as "baby", added a typically American middle name of "Chuck" to Charles Leclerc and then appeared more keen to discuss boxing than F1 while talking to Verstappen.
All three drivers seemed bemused. Not great for journalists hoping for some swift insight about the race, but entertaining for the fans - and that's F1 in America, folks.

Verstappen's police escort to the podium

A short climb up some steps for the trophy ceremony? Oh no, not in Miami. Not when you can ride on a golf buggy flanked by two police outriders with sirens wailing and blue lights flashing.

While Leclerc and Sainz chatted patiently in the cooldown room, Verstappen, accompanied by a couple of Red Bull colleagues, was driven to join them along an interior access road of the stadium as Christian Horner, his wife Geri Halliwell and Helmut Marko were forced to one side.

It was, of course, all completely unnecessary, but that's not the point in Miami, is it?
And we have not even discussed the special pastel car liveries, team clothing and quirky helmet designs - Ace Ventura for Daniel Ricciardo, a basketball for Lando Norris - adopted by the teams and drivers.
Yes, the first Miami Grand Prix was certainly weird and wonderful.
We can barely dare to imagine what the first Las Vegas Grand Prix has in store next year.

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