Perez had slashed Verstappen’s championship advantage to just six points with a Sprint and Grand Prix double last time out in Azerbaijan, and a topsy-turvy qualifying session at the Miami International Autodrome gave him a golden opportunity to move to the top of the standings.
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 ten laps remaining, Verstappen comfortably cleared Perez to move into a lead 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.
In addition to a statement victory, Verstappen picked up the fastest lap bonus point to top up his tally and the ‘Driver of the Day’ award, with fans suitably impressed by his charge through the field.
With the Red Bulls again in a league of their own, it was left to Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin to claim the ‘best of the rest spot in third, making it four podium finishes in five races for the new partnership.
George Russell was the lead Mercedes in fourth, thanks partly to teammate Lewis Hamilton moving out of his way on a different strategy earlier in the race, getting the better of Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz in the process.
Sainz was hit with a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pits during his swap of tyres, but there was enough of a gap back to Hamilton and teammate Charles Leclerc to keep fifth position at the chequered flag.
Alpine bounced back from their Baku nightmare with a double points finish, Pierre Gasly leading home teammate Esteban Ocon. At the same time, Haas driver Kevin Magnussen rounded out the points-paying positions after his P4 start.
Yuki Tsunoda missed out on another point in his AlphaTauri, having scored in Australia and Azerbaijan, taking P11 ahead of Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll with some defensive driving to the finish line.
Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas ran inside the points early in the race but dropped back to 13th as the various tyre strategies played out, followed by the Williams of Alex Albon, Haas of Nico Hulkenberg and teammate Zhou Guanyu.
McLaren pair Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri had quiet races en route to 17th and 19th, respectively, having been the only drivers to start on soft tyres. They were split by the other AlphaTauri of Nyck de Vries, with Williams rookie and home favourite Logan Sargeant bringing up the rear after an early pit stop for a new front wing.
In addition to the exciting action on the track, the sell-out crowd was treated to a full day of entertainment at the Miami International Autodrome. There was music from award-winning DJs Tiësto and Cedric Gervais headlining at the Hard Rock Beach Club, and FISHER performed a set to round out the weekend after the podium celebrations. There were also pre-grid performances from bilingual Latin girl group Bella Dose, while the national anthem was sung by chart-topping Puerto Rican singer and songwriter GALE. The pre-race grid ceremonies were a new feature for 2023, with LL COOL J announcing each of the 20 drivers in turn, conducted by will.i.am and attended by the F1 Grid Kids, hailing from the local Miami Gardens community.
Tom Garfinkel, Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium and Managing Partner of Miami Grand Prix:
It has been a fantastic weekend, an incredible race day, and I’m proud of the team who have worked so hard to assemble this year’s event. Thanks to Stephen Ross and the hard work of so many people on our team, we delivered an event that showcased Miami to the world and stayed true to our commitment to improving from Year 1 to Year 2. Our goal is to provide a best-in-class experience for everyone, from the guests enjoying the new Paddock Club to the fans around the Campus soaking up the atmosphere to the teams enjoying their new home on the field of Hard Rock Stadium. We can’t wait to welcome everyone back next year and celebrate another weekend of great racing together.