Drivers battle low grip on resurfaced Miami
By Mat Coch
Saturday 6th May, 2023 - 1:16pm
Drivers have bemoaned a lack of grip around the Miami International Autodrome following the opening day of practice for Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix.
The entire circuit has been resurfaced following last year’s inaugural event following complaints from drivers.
Back then, Fernando Alonso described the racing surface as “not F1 standard”, while Max Verstappen criticised the lack of grip when trying to pass.
The new surface does appear to have been a step forward, though concerns of a processional race persist as the track remains dirty away from the racing line.
“So far, I think the new track surface seems to be better, but we were basically just cleaning the racing line today,” Alonso said following Free Practice 2.
“It seems when you move away from it, it’s very slippery – so that could make overtaking difficult.”
The newly laid surface caught several drivers out, including Nico Hulkenberg, who spun into the wall during Free Practice 1.
The Haas driver is making his first appearance in Miami and confessed to pushing too hard too soon, which left him wide at Turn 3.
“Obviously, it’s new tarmac, it’s a street circuit, it’s dirty,” he reasoned.
“The first run of P1 did felt didn’t feel great but I think we’ve seen a lot of track evolution as the day went on and certainly by the end of P2 things were much better.”
Hulkenberg’s team-mate, Kevin Magnussen, also spun during practice.
While the Dane brushed the barrier at Turn 15, his car was undamaged in his Free Practice 2 pirouette.
George Russell had his own moments, though none as serious as Hulkenberg.
“It’s still not performing like any other any other circuit, so it’s a true outlier here, which is cool in some regards,” the Mercedes driver observed.
“I think it can be really difficult to race because you can’t drive off line and I think you’ve seen a few people, myself included, you put one wheel off and there’s no grip whatsoever.”
A final hour of practice remains, set to begin at 12:30 local time on Saturday (02:30 AEST Sunday) followed by Qualifying at 16:00 (06:00 AEST Sunday).
Conditions could worsen for Sunday with rain forecast, though its chance has eased over earlier predictions.
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