Max is unstoppable, Alonso Steals the Show
Formula 1 fans are always delighted when the Brazilian Grand Prix occurs at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace circuit in Sao Paolo. The Brazilian Grand Prix seems always to provide entertaining races with plenty of overtaking and action on the track, and the 2023 edition was no exception. Both the Driver’s and Constuctor’s Championships already secured by Red Bull meant that teams and drivers would be battling for points to help their respective teams finish as high as possible in the rankings, granting them more cash bonuses that can help their cars for the 2024 season.
There is also the hunt by Mercedes Lewis Hamilton trying to catch up to and surpass Red Bull’s Sergio Perez for the 2nd place in the driver’s standings. These background stories are at the forefront, and adding a Sprint Race to the mix gives fans plenty to cheer about.
Dark clouds and heavy rain added an extreme element of drama heading into the latter stages of the qualifying sessions, keeping drivers and teams on their toes. Verstappen continued to show he was unwilling to ease off the gas and took his 11th pole position, putting him in prime position to win his 17th race of the season. Ferrari was also very pleased with Charles Leclerc landing in P2 and in a position to take a run at Verstappen, even if it would last only a few laps.
Aston Martin was the surprise story of the day, with Lance Stroll qualifying in third place, followed by his legendary teammate Fernando Alonso in fourth place. Aston Martin, who has struggled for the majority of the second half of the season, got a boost of confidence from both their drivers. Hamilton played his part, qualifying in fifth, beating out Perez, who had to settle in 9th place. The stage was set for Sunday’s Main event, but first, the Sprint Race was next on the marquee.
Sprint Shootout and Race
Verstappen was clearly the favorite to grab pole position once again, but he was beaten out by McLaren’s Lando Norris by .061 seconds. Norris grabbed pole position and knew his hands would be full with a fast Red Bull in his mirrors. Perez improved from landing in third place a day earlier, while Hamilton slid to fifth place, making his quest for 2nd place much harder.
The Sprint Race began with Norris unable to resist Verstappen breezing past him into turn 1. Verstappen took the lead in the race and gave it up when the chequered flag waved. Verstappen won yet again, and Norris managed to secure second place. The battle for third place was heated between Perez and Mercedes George Russel, with both drivers exchanging positions until Perez could not be caught again. Perez grabbed crucial points to help buffer his lead over Hamilton, who claimed a pair of points in 7th place. The Sprint Race provided an excellent preview of what was to come, with Alonso and the rest of the field battling for every spot for the whole race.
The sun was shining in Brazil, but Ferrari and Leclerc experienced a nightmare when Leclerc lost hydraulics power, causing him to lose control of his car during the formation lap of the race, sending him into the barriers and out of the race. Leclerc’s luck, it seems, has not followed him in his journey with Ferrari, leaving him dejected as he walked back to the pits.
The start of the race for Verstappen was smooth as he easily kept his lead, but a crash saw William’s Albon and HAAS’ Kevin Magnussen out of the race, triggering a safety car and eventually a red flag.
The race’s second restart was much cleaner, and Verstappen was once again on his way to victory. Norris and Hamilton battled for second place, which opened the door for Alonso to surpass Hamilton for 3rd place. Norris showed some skill trying to pass Verstappen but could not take over the race’s lead. Perez, who started in 9th, had Hamilton in his sights on Lap 18 and quickly passed him for 4th place. Hamilton’s day kept getting worse as he slid down the field and passed the finish line in 8th place, hurting his chances of catching Perez.
Verstappen claimed his 17th race of the season quickly, while Lando Norris finished 2nd place and continues to hunt for his first F1 victory. The battle for third place was one of epic proportions between Alonso and Perez. Alonso, who had the inferior car, needed to dig deep and fought hard against Perez in multiple corners. The veteran duo exchanged places numerous times heading into the race’s final lap. Alonso led Perez into the final straight and finished nose to nose with Laonos claiming third place by .0053 seconds. The photo finish made the crowd frenzy and proved that the Brazilian Grand Prix is always a must-see.
Formula 1 has two races left on the calendar, and Las Vegas returns to the series for the first time since the 80’s. A brand new lavish street circuit awaits fans and teams alike in the city of sin. The La Vegas Grand Prix will take place on Saturday Night under the bright light of the Strip and surely will be a spectacle like no other.
|1||MAX VERSTAPPEN||NETHERLANDS||RED BULL|
|3||FERNANDO ALONSO||SPAIN||ASTON MARTIN|
|4||SERGIO PEREZ||MEXICO||RED BULL|
|5||LANCE STROLL||CANADA||ASTON MARTIN|
|6||CARLOS SAINZ JR||SPAIN||FERRARI|
|9||YUKI TSUNODA||JAPAN||ALPHA TAURI|
|11||LOGAN SARGEANT||UNITED STATES||WILLIAMS|
|13||DANIEL RICCIARDO||AUSTRALIA||ALPHA TAURI|
|RETIRED||GEORGE RUSSEL-LAP 57||BRITAIN||MERCEDES|
|RETIRED||VALTERRI BOTTAS-LAP 39||FINLAND||ALFA ROMEO|
|RETIRED||ZHOU GUANYU-LAP 22||CHINA||ALFA ROMEO|
|RETIRED||KEVIN MAGNUSSEN-LAP 0||DENMARK||HAAS|
|RETIRED||ALEXANDER ALBON-LAP 0||THAILAND||WILLIAMS|
|RETIRED||CHARLES LECLERC-LAP 0||MONACO||FERRARI|