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Miami GP Recap: Small Steps in the Sunshine State

Small steps. That is what our 2024 journey with W15 is all about right now.

P6 with Lewis - his best Grand Prix result of the season to date - and P8 for George, on paper may not necessarily suggest it, but in Miami we took those steps.

Our race pace in Saturday's Sprint after being out of position in Sprint Quali also provided the team with reasons to be upbeat about the road ahead.

Lessons were learned.

Whereas in China two weeks prior we weren't able to make the most of the new Sprint weekend parc fermé rules, Miami demonstrated a step up between the two sessions on Saturday before the Grand Prix on Sunday.

Lewis spent the final stint locked on to the rear wing of Sergio Perez's Red Bull, keeping the Mexican in his sights all the way to the flag.

Those up ahead were also in view, demonstrating clear progress from much of the opening five races prior.

"It [Sunday] was a good day," said Lewis after the race.

"It was a really great job by the team. I was happy with the set-up; I am glad we finally got that sorted and into the right window.

"To move forward and have some great battles was fun."

Toto also saw the positives. Acknowledgement of where we are will provide the best baseline from which to build from.

"Accepting that this is the pace level at the moment and then just carrying it over into the race is not something to be proud of, but it is a step in the right direction," he said.

That direction was bolstered by the arrival of an update package prior to the Grand Prix weekend, a brilliant effort by our factory to turn around parts that were originally scheduled for the European season in Imola later this month.

Toto added: "The factories have been in top gear in order to bring stuff to the car that we believe can be very helpful.

"Everyone has done a great job."

There were flashes of performance too. Glimpses into the potential W15 carries. A strong FP1 on the Soft tyre and an extremely competitive Q2 effort from Lewis had the car in among the top two rows on the grid.

The sweet spot, when found, brings with it opportunity.

But the car remains on a knife edge, something George was quick to recognise after both cars missed out on the final session of Sprint Qualifying.

"The pace was looking good in FP1, but when we came to Sprint Quali on the Mediums we found ourselves on the wrong side of the cut off," he said.

Come the race, George found himself compromised by antics ahead at the first corner, and from there was chasing his tail. The mid-race Safety Car helped Yuki Tsunoda in the RB to pit and maintain position in front.

On fresher tyres the Japanese driver proved too tough to pass, and George was forced to settle for P8.

"It did not feel competitive the whole race. My race pace has been strong all season and today it was off," he said.

"It is frustrating for everyone. For myself, for Toto, for Lewis, and for the whole team. We are between P5 on a good day and P8 on a bad today. Today was a bad day.

"We are doing everything we can to turn it around."

So where does this leave us? An improved grip on P4 in the Constructors' is not where we want to be right now, but it is where we are right now.

Our aim from day one of 2024 has been to grasp the best possible understanding of W15, and that will continue through Imola and beyond.

But as Toto says, that understanding has become clearer with every passing race, and there has already been significant improvement in areas that were weak back in Bahrain and Saudi in March.

"The car is very strong in high speed," said Toto.

"But the car just does not turn in the low speed, and you need a car that is good in both. It has been a painful learning curve, but the situation is clearer now.

"We understand much better now what is needed to get the car in a better space."

Up ahead, it was pleasing to see our customer friends at McLaren claim victory in the Sunshine State, the second win for Mercedes-Benz Power since the introduction of the new ground-effect cars at the start of 2022, following on from George's triumph in São Paulo that season.

McLaren finished P16 and P19 at the Hard Rock in 2023, a fine indicator of what is possible in F1.

It was a good Sunday. To move forward and have some battles was great fun.


Away from the racing, our weekend lived up to the city of Miami itself. Lively, vibrant, and full of colour. A third successive year of top-class hospitality trackside in our Miami Club was capped off by a live DJ set from Carl Cox on Sunday night, and as ever the rich and famous were in attendance to check out the world of F1.

Kendall Jenner, Ed Sheeran and Camillo Caballo were all treated to a Hot Lap experience with Lewis and George. A trio more used to the limelight than the racing line, and all three were left well and truly dazzled by their experience!

We had time to bring our New York party to Florida as well. After an incredibly exciting and successful launch of our emoji WhatsApp car on the Empire State Building last week, we had some fun with some RC cars in the Miami paddock.

The F1 paddock now returns from across the pond to gear up for the European season, starting with a double-header.

A return to Imola for the first time in two seasons after last year's devastating flooding will be swiftly followed by the iconic Monaco Grand Prix seven days later.

With three quarters of the season left to go, on and off track, there is still so much to fight for.

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