With a big gap to Valtteri Bottas behind in fifth, the top four all had an opportunity to pit without losing too many places.
Red Bull decided to pit Sergio Perez for new medium tires while the top three stayed out on their worn hard tires.
Fortunately for the leading trio, Perez’s ongoing engine issues meant he was unable to make the most of the fresh rubber.
Speaking after the race, Binotto explained why Ferrari didn’t pit either driver for new tires.
“The reason is that we believed that in terms of warm-up,” Binotto explained. “A used tire would have been stronger than a new one and that we would have suffered more warm-up issues on a new hard which were the ones we had available in the garage, so we decided simply to stay out because we believed that was the best chance for us to have a good warm-up and try to attack on the first laps, which is what happened.
“I think that the best opportunity for Charles has been on the very first laps after the Safety Car. He didn’t overtake but certainly was close at that stage and for Carlos as well, on Checo with the new tires.”
On the other hand, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner felt that Ferrari missed a trick by not stopping either of their drivers.
“No mistakes, Ferrari let us off the hook slightly when it went from a Virtual Safety Car to a full Safety Car, Max had already passed the pit entry, whereas Ferrari would’ve had a free stop,” Horner said.
“They didn’t take it with either of their cars. We’re grateful for that, because I think if they had put Soft tires on, that would’ve been P3 today.”
Red Bull deserved to win F1 Miami GP – Leclerc
Despite starting from pole position, Leclerc lost the lead of the race after just nine laps as he was overtaken by Verstappen into Turn 1.
Leclerc was running seven seconds behind Verstappen before the Safety Car after the Dutchman extended his significantly advantage on the medium tire.
The pair were closer at pace on the hard tires with Leclerc managing to pressure his title rival after the Safety Car came in.
Reflecting on his latest duel with Verstappen, Leclerc said: “I took a bit too much kerb. I think the lap before it was Max who took it quite hard and helped me to get close. As we were saying in the press conference, with those cars, they are so big that five centimeters can make a huge difference there and especially the way the kerb is done.
“It’s a very tricky part of the track and on that particular lap I overdid it but I didn’t lose that much compared to my previous laps so I was surprised. It was a big hit but I managed it quite well.