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From South Beach Sunshine to Sunday's Fightback in Miami

Behind the scenes at one of the most anticipated events on the calendar

Miami has fast become one of the most anticipated events on the Formula One calendar. As per the inaugural race last year, there was glitz, glamour, bold partner activations, and of course, celebrities and sporting legends out in force.

But amongst all the off-track buzz, there was also plenty of interest on track. With a chaotic Qualifying session providing a mixed-up grid, Sunday's race was laden with strategic intrigue.

Our contribution to that was in part due to the challenges we faced on Saturday, where Lewis was eliminated in Q2. He found himself in 13th on the grid, while George was fortunate to be sixth, after the late red flag caused by Charles Leclerc's Ferrari.

"It's the story of our car," said Toto after the race. "We had a good FP1 session on Friday, but a difficult FP2 and then Saturday. We then found a solid baseline on Sunday."

But a solid baseline isn't what we want: we race to win, and we want to be challenging at the front. To do so, we need a faster race car on Sunday, of course. But also, a quick car on Saturday to secure a strong grid position.

Nevertheless, our pace on race day was much better than in Qualifying and we therefore looked more competitive. We battled the Ferraris, with George ending up finishing ahead of both in a strong fourth place.

"We were relieved at the pace on Sunday," said Andrew Shovlin (Shov), our Trackside Engineering Director. "On a single lap we were struggling but given the lack of long running that's possible on race weekends these days, it was nice to see the car was working well in the race and we were able to get back into good points scoring positions after the difficult Saturday we had."

George put in some impressive overtakes during the pit stop phase, having stopped for hard tyres and emerged in a group of cars yet to box. This was aided by teamwork from Lewis who, whilst running a different strategy, enabled George to pass with the minimum of disruption to both their races.

We've got a really good relationship and we only want what is best for the Team.

George Russell

"Thanks to Lewis for letting me by," said George. "We've got a really good relationship and we only want what is best for the Team. That's what we are working towards."

It was an impressive performance from George to finish not far off the final podium place, especially given the challenges we're having with the W14. "It was a pretty fun race," he said. "For sure, we have work to do, but fourth was the maximum we could have achieved. The results so far this season show the car is unpredictable. This was our most difficult weekend in terms of overall performance but suddenly the car was more in its usual window for the race."

For George, we opted for a medium-hard tyre strategy. One favoured by most runners. As Shov explains: "The reason many drivers chose not to start on the hard tyre is that you can get awkward safety cars where you can't then take the medium to the finish. So, it's pretty normal to take the tyre with the longest range on that second stint in a one-stop race. It's all about balancing the risk."

With Lewis starting down in 13th though, there was an opportunity to balance higher risk with higher reward. The Team therefore went with the hard-medium strategy for car 44. "When you are racing from behind, having the medium tyre later in the race puts you on the faster compound when the fuel is low. You can push more and have a bigger delta to overtake," commented Shov.

A bold strategy move therefore but one that required perfect execution from behind the wheel. Reflecting on Lewis' charging drive through the field, Toto commented: "He had a mega performance. When you start P13 with a car that's not easy to drive, and then you have to plow through the field, it's difficult. At the end he had real pace and overtaking a Ferrari to finish sixth is very good. He did a great job."

It was a slow opening to the race for Lewis, as he was stuck in the DRS train of the cars ahead. This made it very difficult to make up ground, but he eventually cleared some of the slower cars and was able to start showing the improved race pace of the car. His race really came to life after pitting for the medium tyre and from there, he was able to pick off car after car, rising up the order to an eventual sixth place.

"I always try and turn the negatives into positives. Saturday wasn't a good day, but we worked hard and I think 13th to sixth is pretty decent," Lewis said. "We just need to work on getting a better qualifying so I can do more with it on Sunday.

"It was great to have pace, see the cars up ahead, see the progress and know we are going to be battling. The first 20 laps were difficult but after that I was able to start chipping away and I really enjoyed some of the overtakes."

It was great to have pace, see the cars up ahead, see the progress and know we are going to be battling.

Lewis Hamilton

As with some of the other races on the F1 calendar, there was also a big focus on the off-track activities in Miami, with exciting partner activations taking place.

Early in the week, the new vibrant pink IWC Team Watch dropped just in time for Miami and there was an extra-special event on Wednesday to mark the occasion: Lewis going head-to-head with Hollywood actor Simu Liu in a basketball event at the Jungle Plaza in Miami's Design District.

They each captained a team of celebrities and athletes, including actor James Marsden and former NFL player Antrel Rolle, where they went up against each other in a series of challenges. Team Simu emerged victorious in the end, but we think the real winner was the new IWC watch. Which you may well have spotted across the race weekend!

Miami week was also the launch of the Team's new streetwear collaboration with our partner Tommy Hilfiger and New York brand Awake NY. Lewis, George and Mick all wore items from the collection over the Miami GP weekend and brought an incredible aesthetic to our Team Store.

On Thursday we also welcomed around 150 children from the local area, bringing them up-close and personal with the Team. They got some impressive insight into the world of F1 and a select few also got the chance to meet Lewis.