Charles Leclerc tipped to beat Max Verstappen in Miami if Ferrari give clear message

Hamilton 'excited and nervous' for first ever F1 race in Miami

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Charles Leclerc has been told that he can beat Max Verstappen in Miami on Sunday if he drives with confidence ahead of the clash in America.

Leclerc is this year’s best driver so far, having recorded two first-placed finishes and a second in his first three outings. That form dipped slightly with a sixth-placed finish after he spun out in the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix two weeks ago, although he remains 27 points clear of Verstappen at the top of the standings.

With Verstappen set to challenge for the title once again, Leclerc would be forgiven for being nervous about the Dutchman’s presence. But racing legend Juan Pablo Montoya has claimed that Leclerc will find it easy to stay ahead of the pack if he “doesn’t worry” about being aggressive in his driving.

“If I was a betting person, I would probably put my money on Max,” Montoya said to VegasInsider. “I think Charles [Leclerc], with the crash, unless the team went to him and said ‘just keep pushing, don’t worry about it’.

“If they said that to him, he could still win the race. But my money would be on Max this week. Especially with the Miami weather.”

The weather is set to be sunny in qualifying and practice, although showers are expected to be present on Sunday. And Montoya claimed the Monegasque star would win if it turns out to be sunny.

“I think the biggest winner from a wet track would be Max [Verstappen],” Montoya said. “Max would have a big advantage. He seems to be very strong and comfortable in the wet.”

“If it’s dry, I would probably put my money on Ferrari. It will be interesting to see what Charles [Leclerc] does after the mistake last week.

“If he keeps committing and everything works great, or if he goes down a notch on performance, just be cautious and not make a mistake. If you do that, then you’ll put yourself in a bad situation, because you take performance away.“

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