In a break from convention, the grid’s 20 drivers were individually introduced to the crowd by American rapper LL Cool J as will.i.am conducted an orchestra.
The pre-race presentation in Miami will presumably only be shown at a select number of races this year, perhaps eight.
However, Grand Prix Drivers Association director Russell remarked, “It is distracting.” I came to compete; I’m not here to watch; I have a car to drive, and I intend to take first place.
Half an hour in the sun, in full dungarees, on the grid. I can’t think of another sport where the competitors spend 30 minutes before doing their business out in the open, with the cameras trained on them.
I understand that we are in the entertainment industry and that our intentions are pure regarding the sport. As for us, we can adapt. We’ll just have to go with the flow, I guess.
While Max Verstappen won the race from tenth on the grid, Russell drove superbly to finish fourth and increase his championship lead to 14 points over Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez.
Lewis Hamilton, Russell’s Mercedes teammate, began 13th but made up a lot of ground to finish sixth.
Mercedes is bringing a new update to the next race on May 21 in Imola, which the team hopes will help them move up the standings.
But Hamilton noted, “It’s not like I have a second upgrade coming, which is what I need.”
However, it is something, and it moves us forward in the correct way.