The launch of the 2022 Formula One Miami Grand Prix was quite eventful with drivers protesting against the FIA, A-list celebrities filling the crowd, and a set of dramatic final laps.
The live coverage on ESPN had an average of 2.6 million American viewers on Sunday, the highest audience for a live F1 race broadcast on American television which then peaked at 2.9 million views at some point during the race. According to the race’s official Instagram page, 242,955 people were at the Grand Prix over three days, with an all-time high of 85,280 on race day.
Hamilton and Vettel Protest Against FIA’s New Clothing and Jewelry Regulations
At the start of the Miami GP weekend, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) announced new clothing and jewelry regulations. “The International Sporting Code states that drivers must wear “long underwear” as well as other fire-resistant clothing that are homologated to FIA standards. It also states that wearing jewelry during competition “in the form of body piercing or metal neck chains” is prohibited,” read the FIA statement.
Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton appeared at the media interaction conference wearing three watches and several pieces of jewelry to protest the FIA’s new restrictions.
“I feel like it’s almost like a step backwards if you think of the steps we’re taking as a sport…I’ve been in the sport for 16 years… In the car, I only ever have my earrings on, and my nose ring, which I can’t even remove. So, it seems unnecessary for us to get into this spat,” Hamilton said at a press conference on Friday.
Four-time world champion and current Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel also disagrees with the new FIA regulations. He made a visual statement by wearing underpants on the outside of his race suit as a way to also protest against the FIA.
“I feel it’s targeted in a particular way towards Lewis,” Vettel said. “Obviously, if the car does catch fire, it will be unpleasant. But on the other hand, to some degree, it’s personal freedom, and we’re old enough to make our choices outside the car as well as inside the car.”
A diversity of celebrities stormed the Miami GP. Varying from actors, singers, rappers, athletes, DJs, media personalities, and more, the race weekend slew insane numbers of attraction from fans all over the world.
George Lucas, Hailee Steinfeld, Michael Jordan, Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Paris Hilton, David Beckham, Maluma, Tom Brady, Shawn Mendes, Serena and Venus Williams were just some of the celebrities spotted strolling around the paddock during the weekend.
The former first lady, Michelle Obama, was spotted hugging Hamilton while she was wearing wide-framed sunglasses and a team headset to keep a low profile
Ferrari’s leading driver Charles Leclerc took home pole position at the Saturday qualifying session. Hollywood actor Michael Douglas presented Leclerc with the pole position Pirelli tyre recognition.
Bad Bunny, who released a new album over the weekend, was seen with Mexican Red Bull driver Sergio Pérez as he gave him a tour of the Grand Prix. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was also spotted with Bad Bunny. The Puerto Rican artist mentioned Verstappen in one of his brand new songs, “Andrea.” In the song, Bad Bunny sings “la vida va como Verstappen en Fórmula Uno,” and during the race, Verstappen displayed Bad Bunny’s album cover in the rear wing of his car. Then, Bad Bunny was photographed signing Verstappen’s Red Bull car.
The Electrifying Closing Laps of the Race
The concluding laps of the debut Miami GP consisted of Verstappen and Leclerc battling for victory and Perez chasing Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz for the third position.
On lap 41, the crowd gasped when Mclaren’s Lando Norris and Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly encountered a bizarre crash. Gasly had gone wide on turn 7 and had returned to the track when Norris was approaching. The two drivers then collided and Norris drastically spun and lost his car’s right-rear tyre.
Moments later, Vettel and Haas’ Mick Schumacher were disputing for ninth place, with Schumacher on the verge of securing his first ever F1career points. It all went south as the two German drivers crashed in turn 1.
Due to the contact, Vettel retired from the race immediately, and Schumacher had to pit for a new nose and finished in 15th place.
Leclerc was unable to overtake Verstappen and Perez nearly stole Sainz’s third place but was unsuccessful as he locked up during his overtaking chance.
The inaugural of the Miami GP checkered flagged with Verstappen on P1, Leclerc on P2, and Sainz on P3, making it Verstappen’s thrid victory of the season.