The Miami Grand Prix, in F1’s debut, was oh so Miami

Fans are on the field and its fencing after Sunday's Grand Prix in Miami.
Fans are on the field and its fencing after Sunday’s Grand Prix in Miami. (Thomas Simonetti / The Washington Post)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The city with the worst drivers in the nation on Sunday welcomed the circuit with the most eager drivers in the world, and it all felt great Miamiwhat about Miami an adjective as much as a noun.

Formula 1, cosmo and glam right down to the little Lavazza espresso cups in some of the team lounges, had come to Miami, which pretty much likes to absorb cosmo and glam in the blood. Celebrities found it a big deal – Michael Jordan, Tom Brady et al. – and what happened on Venus and Serena Williams felt so Miami.

Dan Marino handed out the trophies on a podium just above the Dan Marino statue, and he gave winner Max Verstappen a Dolphins helmet with a Dan Marino signature.

The Miami International Autodrome appeared over six months about half an hour inland along Don Shula Drive and under Hard Rock Stadium, and Miami became the 11th American kind to host a Formula 1 event. It’s the first year since 1984 that the United States will hold majority Formula 1 bashes – including Austin – and in the fourth year since the Netflix series “Drive to Survive” hooked many of the former unhooked. The area around a football stadium with Dolphins and Hurricanes and college playoff matches was suddenly filled with the futuristic sound of the cars always sounding futuristic, no matter how futuristic we get.

For eccentricity, there were the real yachts in the famous fake marina that did not cause flooding because it was fake. Like many other things in Miami, going from hoarse to glorious over time counts. For legitimacy, the winners of the first four races – Verstappen and Charles Leclerc – finished top two in the fifth.

“I think it was an incredible atmosphere,” said Verstappen of the Netherlands, the defending world champion who scored his third victory among the five races to bolster his second place overall. “It was really incredibly well organized. … I think in terms of track that we can improve a few areas. ”

“The organization was fantastic, lots of people, good weather,” said Leclerc, the Monacan, who finished in second place but overall stands first in the position. He liked to see some signs of increased interest in the sport.

“The fall was particularly full,” said Carlos Sainz of Spain, who finished third.

“In fact,” said Verstappen, “the helmet we had in the race we needed in the fold.”

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In 57 laps around 19 turns right at the Florida Turnpike, motorists roughly tried to refrain from letting others pass, and even though it’s part of the game, it has rarely reflected a host city so appropriately. Among the very Miami aspects, the temperature was 87 degrees with 63 percent humidity feeling closer to 110 percent, the two of them – heat, humidity – playing some games with the tires. The asphalt boiled. It happened during the big summer clouds of spring, with rain always an opportunity and always a chance for relief.

Absurdly beautiful people threw around, as happens in all things very Miami. Some observers accused fans of being laconic at times, but it would also be Miami. You probably did not live until you saw international journalists standing in line to get a gift of a small souvenir Dolphins helmet. For the most part, the full grandstand looked like it had been there for decades rather than just since yesterday. About 85,000 attended, and afterwards many gathered on the track near the fence to see the podium in thick flocks of Ferrari gear, Red Bull gear, a McLaren foam finger.

At the front, two people who were indispensable to this event tried to pull themselves up on the fence to get a better glimpse. It’s the Miami Alan and Caroline Guevara, and they just got married on November 6, after which they woke up the next day and saw the Mexico Grand Prix. They watch every race no matter the hour. They’ve been to the Austin race. And they held up a banner telling of “Hammer Time,” in honor of Lewis Hamilton, who for some time has greeted them eastbound from Miami Airport with his dominant face on the side of a building for an ad for a clock . (He finished sixth Sunday.)

“We went to Austin last year,” Alan said, “so we have that perspective, and I think so [Miami] was amazing.”

“Attention to detail,” Caroline said. Such as: “They made us feel like we were on a beach.”

The second breed was excellent, Alan said, but perhaps “a little more generic.”

“The music,” Caroline said of Miami. “At all stages, you felt like it was a party. More flavors, more colors, more music, ”which sounded like more Miami.

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Alan believed that while the track should be “a street circuit, [it] still felt like a regular circuit with a lot of open areas and passing zones. ”

Verstappen started in third place and had on the ninth lap passed Sainz and Leclerc to lead forever, although a safety car that finally drove 10 laps from the end caused a bit of a bummer.

Verstappen agreed with a reporter that the race in a way resembled Singapore in nature, but noted that this happened during the day, making a hell of a difference. Problems for some drivers had included the asphalt and the harassment, the latter between turns 14 and 15. The former started fine, Verstappen said, then: “Actually during the race it got worse and worse again.”

“We just have to look at it” for years to come, he said. He also said: “I think we can make some pieces more exciting, especially sector 2.”

As for the harassment, Sainz found it “a corner that is a little unnatural, and a corner that I think can be manipulated to be a little different.” Verstappen said: “I think if I had been in a go-kart, it would be a nice harassment to take, but not in a Formula 1 car that we have,” referring to the scale of the era. He said his head bounced around a lot at the time. Said Leclerc: “I think I’m the only driver on the net who actually liked the harassment.”

Sainz said, “It’s a new number. You’re always going to go through those phases,” and Phase 1 had felt like Miami itself.

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