Verstappen Beats Norris To Victory In Brazil As Fernando Alonso Fights For Podium
By Yashraj Singh
3 mins read
Published on November 6, 2023
- Max Verstappen won his 17th grand prix of the season in Interlagos, Brazil ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso
- As Leclerc was pulling up to start on the front row alongside Verstappen, his Ferrari SF23 failed on the formation lap ending his race
- Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso fought tooth and nail on the final lap with RedBull’s Sergio Perez to beat the Mexican to the podium by a nail-biting 0.053s.
The Brazilian Grand Prix saw Max Verstappen defending his reign as world champion once again. While Mercedes had dominated around the Autódromo de Interlagos the previous year, this time they faced extreme difficulties with their cars suffering severe rear tire degradation.
The race started with a tragic twist for the Tifosi when Charles Leclerc's Ferrari crashed on the formation lap due to a hydraulics problem. This heartbroken Monagasque grieved his bad luck over team radio as he watched on the sidelines. This allowed McLaren's Lando Norris to rise from sixth on the grid to challenge Verstappen. Norris and Verstappen, who'd been denied a direct battle due to McLaren's qualifying strategy, finally went head to head.
However, there was an immediate safety car off the line due to a hefty crash involving the Haas drivers and Williams’ Alex Albon, ending Magnussen and Albon’s race even before the first corner arrived.
Despite a strong start, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton couldn't sustain his challenge for the top positions. He eventually finished eighth after trying to compete for second place with Norris early in the race.
Aston Martin, which had faced difficulties and a severe lack of pace in recent races, made a significant return to form after reverting to a previous spec aero package, proving they had the third-fastest car after Red Bull and McLaren. Fernando Alonso managed to hold off Sergio Perez by just 0.053s, delivering an exhilarating final lap battle and securing the last podium spot.
Sergio Perez, after a recent challenging period of lacklustre performances, showed a resurgence in form. He managed to stay within striking distance of Verstappen throughout the weekend and finished fourth. Lance Stroll had an excellent measured weekend for Aston Martin, ending his challenge in fifth place.
Mercedes faced significant challenges in this race, with Hamilton ending over a minute behind Verstappen. They couldn't find a solution to their rear tire degradation issues, which had a noticeable impact on their performance. George Russell, who had shown early promise, retired due to an imminent power unit failure due to overheating.
Alpine’s Pierre Gasly put on a strong performance, competing with the Mercedes of Hamilton and Ferrari of Sainz for points throughout the race. He eventually came through at the chequered flag to secure seventh place.
His teammate and French compatriot Esteban Ocon, despite starting further back in the grid due to a disappointing qualifying session, managed to make his way up during the race, claiming the final points-paying position in 10th behind the AlphaTauri of the young Japanese driver Yuki Tsunoda.
Daniel Ricciardo's AlphaTauri suffered a setback during the opening lap mayhem. His car's rear wing was damaged when Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg's car flicked up a loose rear tire from Alex Albon's crashed Williams at the original race start. Oscar Piastri's McLaren was involved in a collision during the initial start. His car was rear-ended by a spinning Haas, resulting in damage.
Verstappen led from the front, skillfully managing the race and maintaining a substantial lead. He crossed the finish line with an 8-second lead over Norris, who took his seventh podium of the season.
This race highlighted Verstappen's continued dominance, while Mercedes grappled with unusual performance issues, and Aston Martin made an impressive comeback after challenging races.
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