Max Verstappen struck back in the 2023 title race by beating Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez to victory during Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix, recovering from ninth on the grid and passing the pole-sitter in the closing stages of an intriguing, strategic race.
Verstappen was jeered by fans as he stepped onto the podium post-race; He had overtaken several drivers as he fought from ninth on the grid; The Dutchman is now 14 points clear in the drivers’ championship ahead of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. Max Verstappen responded to fans who booed him after the Miami Grand Prix, by insisting it is “absolutely fine” while he is still winning.
Some boos were reported during the pre-race festivities as well, but the Dutchman argued it is “normal” for fans to dislike winning drivers as he delivered a defiant post-race message to his critics. “If I were driving in the back nobody would be doing anything in terms of reaction,” Verstappen said after the race.
The former world champion after finishing on the podium said, “It is something for me which is absolutely fine as long as I am standing on the top. To me, the most important thing is I take the trophy home and they go back to their houses and they can have a nice evening”.
Verstappen was voted Driver of the Day by television viewers after a performance which included an impressive overtake on both Charles Leclerc and Kevin Magnussen in the same move before he passed George Russell, Pierre Gasly, Carlos Sainz, Fernando Alonso and, ultimately, Perez later in the race.
However, while Perez led the first half of the race on a medium-hard tyre strategy, Verstappen expertly stretched out his initial stint on hards to rise from P9 to P1 – via a series of fine moves – and he emerged just behind his teammate with a fresh set of mediums late on.
With 10 laps remaining, Verstappen comfortably cleared Perez to move into a lead that he would not relinquish, meaning the Mexican had to settle for the runner-up spot and lose some of the ground he had made up in the title race.