The Monegasque won two of the first three races this season in what was a dreamy start for Ferrari, particularly as rivals Red Bull and Mercedes struggled off the start line. But the cracks started to show after a sixth-place finish in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the only race this season in which Leclerc has failed to finish among the top two.
Red Bull ace and Formula 1 titleholder Verstappen, meanwhile, appears to have found his rhythm and just became the first driver this year to win consecutive races. After triumphing at Imola last month, the Dutchman clinched history in Florida when he won the first race of its kind at the Hard Rock Stadium.
Verstappen made his move early to disrupt Ferrari’s one-two start and successfully held the lead for more than 45 laps after overtaking Leclerc. Despite recent setbacks, however, Ferrari’s poster boy would rather be pursued than assume the role of hunter.
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Verstappen once again used DRS to his advantage to get the jump on Leclerc in Miami, but his Ferrari counterpart wasn’t able to return the favour. The RB18 looked the superior specimen in sweltering temperatures, suggesting Red Bull’s engineers are progressing the car well after some early obstacles this season.
Only once before has Verstappen managed to win three F1 races in a row, a feat he can match with victory at the Spanish Grand Prix come May 22. The lead remains with Leclerc for the time being, but his old karting nemesis is ramping up pressure at the front of the pack.