Miami Grand Prix weather forecast tipped to decide Max Verstappen v Charles Leclerc fight

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The battle between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen at the Miami Grand Prix could be decided by the weather – according to former F1 star Juan Pablo Montoya. It’s the Ferrari man who currently leads the F1 standings 86 points, having won races in Bahrain and Australia. Red Bull driver Verstappen lies 27 points behind him, having not finished in either of those Grands Prix, but took the chequered flag in Saudi Arabia and Imola.

The build-up to the inaugural race in Florida has been dominated by other matters though, with local residents attempting to get the event cancelled, citing noise pollution. To the relief of F1 bosses, a court judge ultimately dismissed their case.

Then came the prospect of chaos when both FIA race directors, Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich, tested positive for Covid-19, raising the prospect of neither making it to the US. To compound matters, F1 fans have also ridiculed the fabricated ‘marina’ that race organisers have erected trackside.

Regardless, Montoya, who won seven F1 races during his time with McLaren and Williams, thinks the outcome could be dictated by conditions. Despite tipping the new track to be ‘smooth’, he thinks the prospect of interchangeable weather conditions could wreak havoc for the front-runners.

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“One of the things that could be a struggle is the weather,” he told Vegasinsider.com. “You don’t get a lot of rain, but you get really heavy showers for five minutes. It’s not just a light drizzle, it’s ‘full wet floor and full humidity’. In a lot of places, you can see the front coming. Not here. It’s just ‘Pop, gets everything wet and goes away’.

“The weather could be a massive twist for the race. Might miss the track. Might get part of the track wet. That’s going to be quite interesting. They will have spotters and radars and everything to let the teams know where the rain is coming from, but it’s very hard to predict.”

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According to the Met Office, drivers may well have to deal with the sort of chaos that the Colombian has envisaged. On both Saturday and Sunday, temperatures are tipped to get as high as 40 degrees centigrade – but there is also a possibility of showers to go with it.

Lewis Hamilton meanwhile, may just be hoping for a chaotic race to help open up the field. The Mercedes man will go into the Miami race with just 28 points from four races thus far, but didn’t seem concerned on Wednesday as he played golf with NFL star Tom Brady.

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