Max Verstappen predicts ‘crazy’ weekend at debut Miami Grand Prix

Max Verstappen is expecting a raucous and carnival-like atmosphere at the Miami Grand Prix. F1 will head to the American southeastern city for the first time this weekend and it marks the first of two races stateside this year before a trip to Austin in October.

The buzz and excitement for the race is palpable, with a great turnout expected in addition to special guest celebrity appearances. The drivers are very excited, especially Verstappen, who is looking to win his second successive race and apply more pressure on Charles Leclerc at the top of the drivers standings.

"I think this weekend is going to be pretty crazy! I'm looking forward to racing in Miami, I've driven the track on the simulator and we've practiced and prepared as much as we can without visiting the track in real life," the Red Bull driver said ahead of Sunday's race. "I love racing in Austin, so it's fun that we get to go to another state and race this year. It's exciting to see Formula 1 getting much bigger in the US.

"F1 and the teams are working hard to promote the sport in the US, and we're having more and more races here, so step by step we are making it more popular. I also think it helps now the cars are finding it easier to follow and overtake each other and more teams are competing for wins.

"I think that's the most important thing for the fans. I hope that it's going to be an exciting weekend, Miami is a really nice city and I think it’s a really interesting location to hold a Grand Prix. I think not only the drivers are excited, but the fans too." Netflix 's Drive to Survive has been a huge hit, especially in the US, with over 4 million viewers watching the newest season across its opening weekend, audience data from Netflix revealed.

Fans consumed 28.01 million hours of the show during the opening weekend, which equated to an average of 4.14 million viewers worldwide so far. Lights will go out in Miami on May 8 and Lewis Hamilton claims to be feeling the nerves already and during an appearance on Good Morning America, the F1 legend explained the magnitude of the event and the sport's growing popularity in the States.

"It has been nerve-wracking because I think it's going to be such a huge event for us," he said. "We obviously have the race in Austin, Texas, which has always been amazing. The first race I had out here was Indianapolis in 2007. With the Netflix series Drive to Survive growing, we have two Grand Prix in the States and another one in Vegas next year, so it's going to be huge.

"I think [F1 has cracked the US market] now. This Netflix show has just brought massive awareness, especially through the pandemic, and now it's booming."

Mercedes, meanwhile, plan to 'experiment' this weekend as they look to make vast improvements following a torrid start to the season. Ahead of the inaugural Miami race, team principal Toto Wolff explained: "Since we returned from Italy, we've learned as much from the weekend as we can and, in parallel, our learning has continued in the wind tunnel and simulations.

"We have found several directions for improving the car, and we will be conducting experiments in Miami to correlate those simulations, and hopefully confirm the development path for the coming races. Both drivers have been working in the simulator ahead of Miami and the factories have been busy producing updates for the next races."

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