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Verstappen insists there is still ‘work to do’ for qualifying in Miami after winning the Sprint

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MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 04: Sprint winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing

Max Verstappen was pleased to add to his tally of wins in the Sprint at the Miami Grand Prix, though admitted afterwards that the event had been “more difficult” for him than his victory last time out in China.

Having lined up in pole for the 100-kilometre dash, Verstappen defended his position from second-placed Charles Leclerc off the line and from there enjoyed a mostly unchallenged drive to the chequered flag, despite drama unfolding behind when an early Safety Car was called following a multi-car collision into Turn 1.

READ MORE: Verstappen charges to Sprint race win over Leclerc and Perez in Miami

Reflecting on the Sprint after jumping out of the car, the world champion suggested that some improvements were needed on his Red Bull ahead of qualifying later in the day.

“I think my engagement wasn’t good in the start, so I had to squeeze [Leclerc] a bit,” explained Verstappen. “Luckily everything worked out in Turn 1. Then of course we had the Safety Car just 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.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 04: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing

Verstappen defended against Leclerc at the start of the Sprint

“At least now with the new format [where cars can be worked on after the Sprint], we can still fine-tune the car a little bit, so hopefully we can improve it a little bit for later on in qualifying, especially for tomorrow in the race.

“A win is good, I’m happy with that, and it gives us a good few points to look at as well to improve.”

SPRINT START: Verstappen leads while drama behind triggers Safety Car and forces Norris out

Verstappen crossed the line three seconds ahead of Leclerc, a smaller margin than during his Sprint victory two weeks ago at the Chinese Grand Prix where he finished with a 13-second lead over Lewis Hamilton in P2.

The Dutchman acknowledged that he had not found things quite so easy this time around, adding: “China felt really good, the car was really, really nice to drive. Here it was a bit more difficult for me, so there are a few more things to improve.”

2024 Miami GP Sprint: Perez grabs P3 back from Ricciardo

Verstappen’s team mate Sergio Perez, meanwhile, had to settle for P3. The Mexican had tried to find a way past Leclerc on the opening lap of the Sprint before having to back out, while he also lost a position to Daniel Ricciardo.

Despite later retaking third from the RB driver, Perez was still unable to dramatically close the gap to Leclerc in P2 for the remainder of the event.

“It was really hard to get through that in the beginning and, once I got through, I got through it quite quickly,” he commented after the Sprint. “But I was three seconds from Charles and even with the short duration of the race it was pretty tricky.

READ MORE: Verstappen reveals what he said to Newey before confirmation of star designer’s Red Bull exit

“I was getting within two seconds at one point but then it was quite hard to get a little bit closer, so let’s look forward for the rest of the weekend.”

In terms of his prospects for qualifying – which takes place at 1600 local time – Perez remains confident about what he can achieve.

“I think we will be able to be strong, so I definitely look forward to it,” the six-time race winner stated.

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