Alonso accuses Hamilton of driving ‘like a bull’ as Verstappen wins Miami Grand Prix sprint

Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso after the sprint race

Fernando Alonso was not happy after a collision with Lewis Hamilton during the sprint race – Reuters/Marco Bello

By Philip Duncan

Max Verstappen won the sprint race in Miami as Fernando Alonso accused Lewis Hamilton of “arriving like a bull” as they collided at the first corner.

Verstappen controlled the 19-lap race – which was interrupted by an opening-lap safety car after Hamilton was involved in a coming together with Alonso – to claim a dominant win.

Charles Leclerc finished second for Ferrari with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez third. RB’s Daniel Ricciardo started and finished an impressive fourth with Hamilton originally finishing eighth following a ding-dong battle with Kevin Magnussen.

However, Hamilton was penalised for speeding in the pit lane, dropping him to 16th.

Pole-sitter Verstappen held off Leclerc on the short run down to the opening bend at the Hard Rock Stadium to lay down the foundations for a victory which sees him extend his championship lead over Perez from 25 points to 27.

But the action unfolded behind Verstappen with Hamilton taking centre stage.

The seven-time world champion, starting from a lowly 12th, enjoyed a strong getaway in his Mercedes before slinging his machine down the inside of an unsuspecting Alonso, four places ahead of him on the grid.

Hamilton bumped into Alonso’s Aston Martin who then collided with team-mate Lance Stroll. Lando Norris was minding his own business on the outside of the opening right-hander only for Stroll – sent out of control by Alonso – to hit the British driver’s McLaren.

Stewards retrieve the car of McLaren's Lando Norris during the sprint race in Miami

Stewards retrieve the car of Lando Norris during the sprint race in Miami – Reuters/Marco Bello

Stroll and Norris both retired with damage while Alonso had to limp back to the pits with a puncture. “Whoa,” said Alonso, 43, over the radio. “Hamilton arrived like a bull.”

Hamilton was on the intercom, too. “There was a gap on the inside so I went for it,” he said, protesting his innocence.

The stewards noted the first-corner flashpoint but they took no further action allowing Hamilton to continue in ninth spot.

Out came the safety car and when the race resumed on the fourth lap of 19, Verstappen made no mistake to blast away from Leclerc and retain his lead.

The attention returned to Hamilton as he attempted to clear the Haas of Magnussen. However, the Dane was not prepared to let Hamilton by without a fight, using all of his machinery, and then some, to prevent the Briton from swooping by.

However, the stewards took a dim view of Magnussen’s aggressive defence and hit him with a 10-second penalty, but the fight continued.

“He just drove into me,” said Hamilton, and on lap 15 he then accused Magnussen of pushing him off the track at the chicane allowing RB’s Yuki Tsunoda to make his way ahead.

A lap later, Tsunoda and Hamilton cleared Magnussen and Hamilton then found a way past the Japanese driver which looked to have earned him the final point.

But the Mercedes driver was penalised for driving too fast in the pit lane under safety car conditions, dropping him way down the order. Hamilton’s team-mate George Russell finished 12th.

Verstappen wins sprint: As it happened…

06:45 PM BST

Qualifying come up

We will be back in a bit for qualifying for Sunday’s race, which kicks off at 9pm BST.

06:42 PM BST

Zizou in Miami

Zinedine Zidane with Charles Leclerc after the race

Zinedine Zidane (left) in Miami – Mario Renzi/Getty Images

06:39 PM BST

How the sprint race started

06:34 PM BST

Miami having fun in the sun

06:32 PM BST

Lewis reflects on sprint race

06:28 PM BST

Russell a little disgruntled

06:23 PM BST

Sixth place for Piastri

06:21 PM BST

Daniel Ricciardo a happy man

06:16 PM BST

Ricciardo finishes fourth

06:11 PM BST

Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg speaking to Sky Sports

06:09 PM BST

Toto Wolff speaking to Sky Sports

“I don’t think you can expect a lot in a Sprint race. There was not lots of overtaking. You can see a quick car on the straight like Ricciardo is able to hold back the train and end up where he started.

“I think the penalty for pit-lane speeding, these things can happen… these errors. In that respect I think the pace of the car was not so bad today, from the limited amount we were able to see there.

“Setup wise, clearly we need to change direction for qualy. We weren’t working the mediums at all (in Sprint Qualifying). Literally zero grip, and then you get all the snaps and you have no performance anymore. It’s no excuse. We’ve seen it with other teams, McLaren in Q3 on the softs and suddenly going backwards. They remain a little bit of a trick, but it’s the same for everyone.”

06:01 PM BST

Haas’ Kevin Magnussen speaking to Sky Sports

“All the penalties were well deserved – no doubt about it. But I had to play the game again.

“I was in a very good position behind Nico [Hulkenberg, his Haas team-mate] there. In the beginning of the race I gained a lot of positions and was up in P8. I was protecting well from Lewis because I had the DRS from Nico and I had good pace. Then Nico cut the chicane and I lost the DRS. Nico could have given that back to give me the DRS to protect because then we would have easily been P7 and P8.

“Instead I was really vulnerable to Lewis. Started fighting with him like crazy and I had to just create the gap like I did in Jeddah. I started using these stupid tactics which I don’t like doing, but the end of the day I did my job as a team player and Nico scored his points because I got that gap for him so Lewis and Tsunoda couldn’t catch him. Not the way I like to go racing at all but it was what I had to do today.”

05:57 PM BST

Full classification

  1. Max Verstappen

  2. Charles Leclerc

  3. Sergio Perez

  4. Daniel Ricciardo

  5. Carlos Sainz

  6. Oscar Piastri

  7. Nico Hulkenberg

  8. Yuki Tsunoda

  9. Pierre Gasly

  10. Logan Sargeant

  11. Zhou Guanyu

  12. George Russell

  13. Alex Albon

  14. Valtteri Bottas

  15. Esteban Ocon

  16. Lewis Hamilton

  17. Fernando Alonso

  18. Kevin Magnussen

Lance Stroll
Lando Norris

05:55 PM BST

Third place Sergio Perez

“It was really hard to get through Daniel at the beginning. Once I got through I was three seconds from Charles and given the short duration of the race it was pretty tricky. I was getting within two seconds but then it was quite hard to get a little bit closer.

“Anyway, let’s look forward for the rest of the weekend. The fans are amazing. It’s really nice to be here with all of them and I really hope I can give them a great race this weekend.”

05:52 PM BST

Second place Charles Leclerc

“I had quite a good start and then I was in the inside of Turn One and obviously I didn’t want to take too many risks because we’ve also got qualifying later on. If you crash in Sprint you probably don’t participate later on! So I tried there, we both braked very, very late with Max, but eventually he got to keep the position.

“I was pushing very hard but in the first few laps they had a bit more pace. But then we had a similar degradation and so tomorrow, it’s a long race so qualifying will be important to be starting as much in front as possible. Then hopefully we can put them under pressure with strategy.”

05:49 PM BST

Sprint winner Max Verstappen

“My engagement wasn’t good at the start so I had to squeeze him (Leclerc) a bit. Luckily everything worked out in turn 1. Then we had the Safety Car to calm things down a little bit, but after that, steadily we could increase the gap a little bit, but it wasn’t entirely perfect. So we still have a bit of work to do.

“At least now with the new format we can still finetune the car a little bit, so we hopefully we can improve it a little bit for later in qualifying and especially for tomorrow in the race. But a win is good. I’m happy with that and it gives us a good few points to look at to improve on.”

05:49 PM BST

The top three

Let us hear from the top three drivers; Verstappen, Leclerc and Perez…

05:42 PM BST

Top 8 in the points positions

  1. Verstappen 8pts

  2. Leclerc 7pts

  3. Perez 6pts

  4. Ricciardo 5pts

  5. Sainz 4pts

  6. Piastri 3pts

  7. Hulkenberg 2pts

  8. Tsunoda 1pt

05:42 PM BST

Hamilton slapped with penalty

Hamilton was under investigation for a pitlane infringement and he has now received a drive-through penalty, which takes him out of the points as it equates to a 20-second penalty as he cannot serve the drive-through penalty after the race. It seems strange that the stewards did not punish a few drivers at the start for crashing Norris out of the race yet handed out numerous penalties during the rest of the sprint.

05:38 PM BST

Three penalties for Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen has just received a five-second penalty, which means he has received three penalties in the sprint totaling 25 seconds.

05:37 PM BST

Ricciardo fourth

Daniel Ricciardo holds onto fourth place, two tenths of a second ahead of Carlos Sainz. Oscar Piastri comes home half a second behind Sainz. Nico Hulkenberg comes home in seventh. On the last lap Lewis Hamilton managed to get past Yuki Tsunoda for eighth.

05:35 PM BST

Verstappen wins sprint

Max Verstappen comes across the line to win the sprint. Charles Leclerc comes home in second followed by Sergio Perez.

05:34 PM BST

Lap 19 of 19

Ricciardo is holding onto fourth at the moment. We are onto the final lap and it looks like Verstappen is going to secure the sprint win.

05:31 PM BST

Lap 17 of 19- Top 10

  1. Verstappen

  2. Leclerc

  3. Perez

  4. Ricciardo

  5. Sainz

  6. Piastri

  7. Hulkenberg

  8. Tsunoda

  9. Hamilton

  10. Magnussen

05:31 PM BST

Lap 16 of 19- another penalty for Magnussen

The Dane already had one 10-second penalty, but you can now make that two. It is all going to pieces for the Haas driver.

05:29 PM BST

Lap 15 of 19- Magnussen dropping

Tsunoda has got past Magnussen as has Hamilton. Magnussen is down into 10th and has a 10-second penalty.

05:27 PM BST

Lap 14 of 19- ding-dong battle for eighth

Magnussen and Hamilton are having a real fight for the final point in the sprint. Magnussen has been given a black and white flag for track infringements, which means if he does it again he will receive another penalty.

Into turn 11 Hamilton tries to go on the outside as he tries to overtake Magnussen. The Dane holds position on the inside but they both go deep. That allows Tsunoda to get past Hamilton into ninth.

05:24 PM BST

Lap 11 of 19- Hamilton battling Magnussen

Into turn 11 Hamilton tries to go on the outside to get past Magnussen, but the Dane holds on. Hamilton tries the switch-back but Magnussen just about holds on. The two drives make contact. But Magnussen has just been slapped with a 10-second penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage.

Hamilton is now under investigation for a pitlane incident.

05:21 PM BST

Lap 10 of 19- Ricciardo holding onto fourth

Ricciardo has lost the DRS behind Perez and he is under huge pressure from both Sainz and Piastri.

Further back towards the bottom of the top ten Hamilton is behind both Haas drivers.

05:18 PM BST

Lap 8 of 19- Top 10

  1. Verstappen

  2. Leclerc

  3. Perez

  4. Ricciardo

  5. Sainz

  6. Piastri

  7. Hulkenberg

  8. Magnussen

  9. Hamilton

  10. Tsunoda

05:14 PM BST

Lap 5 of 19- Perez passes Ricciardo

With DRS activated, Perez sends it down the inside of turn 11 and takes third from Ricciardo.

05:11 PM BST

Lap 4 of 19- green flag

We are back racing. Before the safety car came out Ricciardo got ahead of Perez and into third place.

05:10 PM BST

Lap 3 of 19- SC conditions

The stewards have decided no further action necessary, which seems absurd considering some of the reckless driving from Hamilton and the Astons. Stroll is out of the race after picking up damage in the incident. Alonso has come in for a change of front wings. The safety car is coming in at the end of this lap.

05:09 PM BST

Lap 2 of 19- SC conditions

The drives are coming through the pitlane to avoid any debris into turn one. Norris was minding his own business on the outside of turn one, giving huge space to everyone else. Hamilton came recklessly flying up the inside and made contact with Alonso. The two Astons touched and then Stroll collided into Norris.

05:06 PM BST

Lap 1 of 19- Norris out as safety car comes out

The safety car has been brought out as Norris’s car is stationary at turn one. The incident is caused by Hamilton and the two Aston Martins, who then whack into Norris.

05:05 PM BST

Lights out

We are under way in the sprint in Miami. Leclerc tries to down the inside of Verstappen but the Dutchman holds on to first place. There are yellow flags waving at turn one as Norris looks like he is out of the race.

05:00 PM BST

Formation lap

The drives are making their way around the track on the formation lap and we are just moments away from lights out in the sprint.

There are 19 laps in this sprint, with no mandatory pit-stops and a free choice of tyres. Points are available from first down to eighth.

Everyone is on the medium tyres, except RB’s Yuki Tsunoda and Williams’ Logan Sargeant, who are on the softs near the back of the grid. Sargeant’s teammate Alex Albon starts from the pitlane.

04:56 PM BST

Lando Norris, starting ninth in the sprint, speaking to Sky

“The car was very good yesterday. We kind of just lost it a bit on the soft tyre in SQ3. I think we know why and we’ll try to resurrect it for qualy later today.

“But I think the pace on the medium was strong and hopefully that shows again today.”

04:49 PM BST

Penalty for Ocon

As a result of that pitlane incident, Esteban Ocon has been slapped with a 10-second penalty. Ocon starts 13th in the sprint.

04:47 PM BST

Starting grid for the sprint

Here is the starting top ten for the sprint:

  1. Max Verstappen

  2. Charles Leclerc

  3. Sergio Perez

  4. Daniel Ricciardo

  5. Carlos Sainz

  6. Oscar Piastri

  7. Lance Stroll

  8. Fernando Alonso

  9. Lando Norris

  10. Nico Hulkenberg

Mercedes duo George Russell and Lewis Hamilton start 11th and 12th respectively.

04:38 PM BST

No serious damage for Leclerc

Charles Leclerc will be relieved that the contact with Esteban Ocon has not caused any serious damage, but it does seem like there is a little bit of damage to the rim and wheel. Ferrari are anxiously checking to see if there is any more areas for concern, including the diffuser.

04:35 PM BST

Incident in the pitlane

As the drivers are making their way out to the grid, there has been contact between Charles Leclerc and Esteban Ocon in the pitlane. Leclerc was going down the pitlane and Ocon for some reason was released by Alpine into Leclerc’s path. Unsurprisingly Alpine are under investigation for an unsafe release. Ferrari have told Leclerc that there is no damage that they can see but Ocon has damaged his front wing as he collided into Leclerc’s rear wheel. Alpine have a spare front wing which the mechanics have brought onto the grid, but it has to be exactly the same if there is to be no penalty.

04:31 PM BST

The difference between pole and second

04:27 PM BST

Sky’s Jenson Button on McLaren’s upgrades

“When you look at the previous updates that they’ve had, the correlation has been really good. They put it on the track, and it does as it says on the tin, which is quite unusual in a Formula 1 team, because it’s difficult.

“We saw their pace in SQ2 and it was mighty. I think they’re in a really good place. Once they get it all together and work out which bits work and which bits don’t from the upgrade, they could be close to fighting with Red Bull.

“I know that everyone is going to say, ‘well, you’re just saying that because you want to see a fight.’ Yeah, I do want to see a fight, but this is real.”

04:22 PM BST

Sky crew discuss Mercedes’ woes

04:16 PM BST

Changes to the grid

There have been a couple of changes to the grid for the sprint. Valtteri Bottas has received a three-place grid penalty for impeding Oscar Piastri going into turn one, so he drops from 16th to 19th. Williams’ Alex Albon will start from the pitlane after making some set-up changes, which breaches parc-ferme rules.

04:10 PM BST

Drivers arriving

04:06 PM BST

Max’s sprint pole lap

03:40 PM BST


It is a busy Saturday in Miami as we have both the sprint race and qualifying for Sunday’s race all on the same day. First up, we have the sprint at 5pm BST, with qualifying for it taking place yesterday. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen will start the sprint on pole after qualifying just over a tenth of a second ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez will start third with RB’s Daniel Ricciardo securing a very surprising fourth place.

It was a disappointing SQ3 for McLaren, who showed great pace in the first two sprint qualifying sessions as Lando Norris topped both SQ1 and SQ2. Norris looked destined to challenge Verstappen for sprint pole but, after a poor opening sector, he finished up in ninth. His his final two sectors in SQ3 were the fastest, but the damage was done by his poor first sector. Norris’ time in SQ2 would have seen him take pole but his time in SQ3 was nine tenths slower than his SQ2 time. Norris was annoyed with the mistakes he made on that lap in SQ3.

“I just pushed too hard, simple as that,” Norris said. “The car was feeling very good. Just silly, to be honest – a couple of mistakes in Turn One and then a big spiral from there. A shame because the team have done a good job. The upgrades are working, happy with everything but not with one thing.”

McLaren have brought a raft of upgrades this weekend and, after showing great pace in the opening two sprint qualifying sessions, they will be disappointed with where they will be starting the sprint. Norris has all of the upgrades on his car whereas his teammate Oscar Piastri, who will the sprint in sixth, has half of the upgrades. Piastri will have all of the upgrades on his car in Imola next time out. Pole-sitter Verstappen admitted after sprint qualifying that he was surprised to be on pole for today’s sprint.

“To be honest, it felt really terrible. Maybe that last session was just incredibly difficult to get the tyres to work. I didn’t really improve a lot on the soft but somehow we were first. Practice felt really nice, it felt like the car was in a really good window but in qualifying it didn’t feel like that any more. I was really not happy.

Max Verstappen walking in the paddock in Miami

Max Verstappen (pictured) starts on pole in the Miami sprint – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

“In Q3 I saw I was only going 0.2secs faster and I was sliding around, no grip and they told me it was P1 and I thought it must be a joke but we’ll take it.”

Mercedes have a huge amount of work to do as both George Russell (11th) and Lewis Hamilton (12th) were knocked out in SQ2. After the sprint, we will have qualifying for Sunday’s race, which will take place at 9pm BST.

Strap yourselves in for a bumper Saturday in Miami.

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