A disappointing weekend for Mercedes and Ferrari
Max Verstappen's win at the Brazilian Grand Prix extends his remarkable record to 17 wins, placing him one victory away from levelling Sebastian Vettel's total career wins in Formula 1. Now guaranteed a win percentage of at least 77.27%, Verstappen has surpassed Alberto Ascari's 1952 record of 75%.
While Verstappen dominated the race, the São Paulo Grand Prix had its share of memorable moments, including a masterclass from Fernando Alonso.
After an excellent start to the season, with Alonso claiming six podiums in the first eight races, Aston Martin had a concerning decline. However, in a surprising turnaround, they locked out the second row of Sunday’s race.
Alonso then went on to deliver an extraordinary performance. His display of defensive driving allowed him to fend off Sergio Pérez for most of the final stint. Even though Pérez had access to DRS, Alonso utilised a combination of his experience, strategic battery use, and creative lines to secure third place.
Another highlight of the weekend was Lando Norris, who placed his McLaren on pole for Saturday’s sprint race. Starting from seventh on the grid for Sunday’s race, his strong performance led to a second-place finish, an extra point for fastest lap, and a hattrick of Driver of the Day wins.
The weekend proved disappointing for both Ferrari and Mercedes. A shocking DNS for Charles Leclerc due to a loss of hydraulics supply led to Leclerc labelling 2023 as “a season to forget.”
Meanwhile at Mercedes, both cars struggled with a lack of straight-line speed combined with high tyre degradation. The situation worsened when last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix winner George Russell was forced to retire on lap 59 due to his power unit overheating. It’s a discouraging result for the Brackley-based team, particularly with championship points at stake; Lewis Hamilton now lags 32 points behind Pérez, and the resurgence of Aston Martin means Alonso is only 28 points behind Hamilton.
As we look ahead to Las Vegas, all eyes will be on the teams to deliver a performance that matches the electric atmosphere of the world's entertainment capital.