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Red Bull to stay on top as Hamilton looks to break Mercedes vice - What to expect at the Miami Grand Prix

Red Bull to stay on top as Hamilton looks to break Mercedes vice - What to expect at the Miami Grand Prix

F1 News

Red Bull to stay on top as Hamilton looks to break Mercedes vice - What to expect at the Miami Grand Prix

Red Bull to stay on top as Hamilton looks to break Mercedes vice - What to expect at the Miami Grand Prix

F1 welcomes the Miami Grand Prix to the calendar for round five of what is already turning into a captivating championship season.

Charles Leclerc leads the way at the top of the drivers' standings despite being equal on two victories with reigning champion Max Verstappen, with Red Bull's reliability woes also impacting the constructors' table.

But with a new circuit awaiting this weekend, what can we expect at the Miami International Autodrome?

Red Bull to come out on top

Having not been to Miami before it is near impossible to suggest which team will be advantaged by the layout.

But with the Hard Rock Stadium surroundings effectively morphed into a purpose-built street circuit akin to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, the fact Red Bull took pole through Sergio Perez and the win with Verstappen will be of some comfort pre-event.

With the one-two in Imola giving the Milton Keynes-based team plenty of confidence in its catch-up job against Ferrari, another win here could promote Red Bull back into the position of being favourites for the title.

Hamilton to shrug off struggles

Whether the Mercedes is a good car or not, one would expect Lewis Hamilton to be on par with George Russell at the very least.

Yet the seven-time champion experienced a chastening Emilia Romagna Grand Prix when finishing 13th, a lap down on Verstappen, just two races after being knocked out in Q1 in Saudi Arabia.

Nobody is expecting Mercedes to suddenly win in Miami, but parity between the two drivers will be on the agenda.

The return of second and third practice ahead of qualifying after the Imola sprint may well be the tonic Hamilton needs.

Sainz faces season-defining weekend

The past two races could not have been more painful for Carlos Sainz.

The Spaniard had continued his consistent point-scoring form into the new year with two podiums in the first two races but in Australia, a clumsy spin meant he failed to reach lap three.

In Imola, having crashed in Q2, Sainz failed to reach turn three after contact with Daniel Ricciardo and arrives in Miami knowing only a podium will do to heal his wounds.

It is too early to say a win is needed to keep his championship alive, but finishing fourth behind team-mate Leclerc and both Red Bulls would be painful off the back of two retirements.

This is a real test of Sainz's mental fortitude.

Safety cars to spice up the action?

As with most new circuits, the weekend will be three days of learning for the 20 F1 drivers.

The beauty of the Miami International Autodrome is that it combines the new-age fast and sweeping street layouts with a more conventional tight and twisting sector to provide a stern test for the field.

Safety cars have been prominent in recent times and some have played pivotal parts in the final race result. It is hard to see anything other than more of the same here.

Rain to cause chaos... if it comes

For the second event in a row, rain is forecast for the grand prix on Sunday.

With baking sunshine expected for the first two days, drivers will be guessing the grip levels of the new circuit in the wet as they head into the first braking zone of the very first turn of the race.

With the heat expected to stay high for the race, there is a strong chance of a wet-dry race as well, meaning strategy could be king come the end of the event.

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