Max Verstappen secured yet another victory in Brazil, whilst Fernando Alonso put together a brilliant drive to secure a podium finish.
Fernando Alonso has been front and centre of F1 headlines in Brazil. From far-fetched Red Bull speculation to contact with Ocon in the Sprint qualifying, the Spaniard has been on everyone’s lips. However, the only talking point from today will be his masterful performance for Aston Martin – securing a phenomenal 8th podium of 2023.
Alonso made a crucial overtake on Hamilton at the red-flag restart, putting him in third place early in the Grand Prix. He kept this position for almost all of the 72 laps in Brazi, creating a significant gap to the Mercedes and lone Ferrari behind. After fending off Perez on the medium tyres, both drivers stopped for soft tyres – setting the stage for a phenomenal battle going into the final race.
Perez managed to overtake Alonso at the start of the penultimate lap. Having defended perfectly for so long, it seemed the podium would be cruelly snatched away from the Double World Champion. He had other plans, though, staying within DRS and pouncing on the Red Bull driver at the final lap. Only 0.052 separated the two drivers across the line – concluding one of the best battles of the season.
Lando Norris finished comfortably ahead for McLaren, demonstrating fantastic pace in the MCL60. The Woking-based team are clearly Red Bull’s closest challengers and head into next season with a solid baseline.
Ferrari and Mercedes disappoint
The same cannot be said for Ferrari, whose weaknesses were exposed over the race distance. Reliability issues struck for Charles Leclerc, who couldn’t finish the formation lap. Carlos Sainz, meanwhile, lacked the pace to make an impression. Mercedes were similarly poor. The W14’s limitations were clear within a few laps, both in terms of raw performance and – as seen in the Saturday Sprint – tyre management.
This represents a blip for Mercedes. Generally speaking, the Silver Arrows have been consistent podium challengers in the last few months. Further down the order, Yuki Tsunoda secured more important points for AlphaTauri. The Italian-based outfit continues to close the gap on Williams, entering Las Vegas with plenty of momentum.
Pierre Gasly finished in a valuable P7 for Alpine, managing to overtake the underperforming Mercedes. It was another reasonable weekend for the French outfit, who are often there to capitalise on the misfortunes of others.
Alfa Romeo will be disappointed to suffer a double-retirement. Pace was also an issue for the Swiss-based outfit, an increasingly common theme in recent events. Haas and Williams experienced similarly poor weekends and will hope to regroup before F1 arrives in Las Vegas.