F1 Grand Prix Mexico 2023 | Report
From October 27th to 29th, the Mexican Grand Prix took place at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
Report on the Qualifying of the Mexico GP 2023
In Q1, only drivers from different teams dropped out. Logan Sargeant couldn't set a time in the session. Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen, and Lance Stroll formed the sixteenth to eighteenth positions (in that order). The big surprise, however, was the retirement of Lando Norris. In one of his quick laps, he made a mistake, causing the car to slide, and the British driver lost a lot of time. Subsequently, Norris had to reduce speed in his final fast lap due to a yellow flag in sector one. This was because Fernando Alonso had spun in turn three, which meant that many drivers, including Norris, couldn't improve their times.
Track limits and the use of 'tow'
Q2 brought, much like Q1, a lot of excitement. The AlphaTauri teammates closely collaborated by providing a 'tow,' enabling Ricciardo to finish in the top five once again, just as in Q1. Yuki Tsunoda sacrificed his own laps for this and couldn't set an official time. The Mercedes drivers also performed very well, with Hamilton taking first place and Russell third. Thanks to an impressive lap by Alexander Albon, it seemed he would finish in ninth place, securing a spot in Q3. However, his time was invalidated due to track limit violations, narrowly allowing Carlos Sainz to progress to Q3 in tenth place. As a result, Alexander Albon ended up in fourteenth place and missed out on Q3. Besides Tsunoda and Albon, Pierre Gasly, Nico Hulkenberg, and Fernando Alonso also failed to make it to Q3.
An exciting conclusion to the qualifying session
In Q3, the differences were very small. The top six were within three-tenths of each other. The top three were even within one-tenth of each other. The Ferrari drivers came out on top, forming the front row. With a difference of +0.067 seconds, Charles Leclerc secured the pole position. Max Verstappen qualified third, and the home driver Sergio Perez qualified fifth. The biggest surprise was that Daniel Ricciardo qualified fourth with his AlphaTauri car, and all this without a 'tow' from his teammate!
Check the full results of the Mexico GP qualifying
Mexican Grand Prix 2023 report
A spectaculair start
The start of the Mexican GP is always spectacular. The long straight provides a significant role for the slipstream, and there is speculation that the third and fourth positions have an advantage heading into turn one. Max Verstappen had a superb start, allowing him to immediately maneuver between the Ferraris and then hold the inside line for turn one. Perez also had a fantastic start, enabling him to go side by side with the Dutchman and Charles Leclerc as they braked into turn one from the outside. The three drivers entered turn one together, which turned into a disaster for the Mexican and his fans. His right rear wheel made contact with the left front wheel of the Monegasque, causing the car to go airborne and straight off the track. Following the incident, Perez immediately headed to the pit lane, where the damage was deemed too extensive to repair. Charles Leclerc also sustained damage to his left front wing in the collision, which later resulted in a virtual safety car as parts of the Monegasque's front wing were scattered on the track.
The battle of Daniel Ricciardo and the first pit stops
Daniel Ricciardo managed to hold the fourth position for a long time, but in the 11th lap, he was overtaken by Lewis Hamilton. Shortly after, many pit stops followed, and most drivers switched from the medium to the hard tires. Drivers like Alexander Albon, who started on the hard tires, stayed out longer because, logically, they could ideally switch tires later. The Ferraris, which began on the medium compound, opted for a long initial stint, which allowed Lewis Hamilton to undercut Carlos Sainz. Charles Leclerc managed to stay ahead of Hamilton by just a few seconds. Lando Norris had a strong stint and claimed the ninth position in the 29th lap.
A huge crash and a red flag
In turn nine, Kevin Magnussen lost control of his Haas car, leading to a high-speed crash. It was an unusual crash as it seemed like a part broke off from the rear of the car when he attacked the kerb. It was later revealed that the left suspension had broken in turn nine, presumably due to a heat issue, according to team principal Guenther Steiner. The crash resulted in a safety car period, followed by a brief red flag. This naturally led to a restart, with the drivers beginning from scratch once again. Max Verstappen had yet another fantastic start, allowing him to easily maintain the first position. Lando Norris found himself between two cars as they approached turn 1, requiring him to back off to narrowly avoid an incident. It was a close call.
Drama for AlphaTauri
In lap 40, Lewis Hamilton overtook his predecessor Charles Leclerc, securing the second position. At the last moment, the Briton positioned his car on the inside of the Monegasque towards turn one, touching the grass but still persevering. This persistent move was one of, or perhaps the most beautiful overtaking maneuvers of the Mexican GP.
For several laps, a fierce battle raged between Yuki Tsunoda and Oscar Piastri for the seventh place. The Japanese driver kept narrowly missing his predecessor, resulting in slight contact between the two. It was an extra challenge for Tsunoda to overtake the Australian since his team had previously instructed him to brake earlier due to issues. The Japanese driver didn't comply with this directive and attempted to pass the Australian on the outside as they approached turn one in lap 49. However, he turned in too early, making contact with the McLaren car and causing himself to spin. Yuki Tsunoda was furious and dropped from the eighth position to the sixteenth. This cost AlphaTauri valuable points that they desperately needed in the constructor's championship. The FIA later deemed this incident a 'racing incident' and issued no penalties.
A great comeback by Lando Norris & the conclusion of the Mexican GP
Lando Norris delivered a fantastic Grand Prix performance. After being in the tenth position in lap 49, he ultimately secured the fifth place thanks to several impressive overtakes. His teammate, Oscar Piastri, allowed the Brit to easily pass him on the straight, ensuring that he didn't lose much time in the process. This outstanding performance earned Norris the 'Driver of the Day' title. Daniel Ricciardo finished seventh, gaining six crucial points in the battle for the seventh position in the Constructors' Championship. As a result, AlphaTauri climbed from the tenth to the eighth place in the standings. Alexander Albon secured two crucial points with his eighth-place finish, further solidifying Williams' hold on the seventh position in the Constructors' Championship.
In the final laps, Fernando Alonso, Lance Stroll, and Logan Sargeant retired from the race. Lance Stroll, in particular, was highly frustrated as he spun due to contact with Valtteri Bottas during an overtaking attempt. Later, the FIA held the Finn responsible and imposed a five-second time penalty along with two penalty points on his super license. Finally, in the last lap of the race, Lewis Hamilton achieved the fastest lap, earning an extra point.
Check out the full results of the 2023 Mexican Grand Prix.