Welcome at RacingNews365

Become part of the largest racing community in the United Kingdom. Create your free account now!

  • Share your thoughts and opinions about F1
  • Win fantastic prizes
  • Get access to our premium content
  • Take advantage of more exclusive benefits
Sign in
Mexican Grand Prix 2023

Winners and Losers from 2023 F1 Mexican Grand Prix qualifying

Who has made the list of Winners and Losers from a strange day at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez?

Leclerc Verstappen Sainz Mexico
To news overview © XPBimages

It was far from a conventional qualifying hour for the Mexico City Grand Prix.

Firstly, Fernando Alonso chucking the Aston Martin at the scenery again sort of sums up the dip in form of that team, and then Alex Albon's stunning practice pace evaporated while McLaren's Q1 never really got going for Lando Norris.

Mercedes found itself in something of a muddle that simply was not happening when F1 was its personal plaything with tyre temperatures on out-laps, Daniel Ricciardo stuck an AlphaTauri fourth on the grid, Max Verstappen made a couple of mistakes and the self-proclaimed unfenced Charles Leclerc stuck his SF-23 on pole.

A weird day then - but the biggest Winners and Losers stood out like a sore thumb.

Winner - Charles Leclerc

Yes, pole position is great, especially when you aren't expecting it, and for that, Leclerc and Ferrari get the extra brownie points.

But the fact that you get pole position when you are not expecting it and don't necessarily know why you've performed so well is worrying.

The turnaround at Ferrari in recent races has been strong and the SF-23 is mounting a late charge for second in the Constructors' against Mercedes but the race itself in Mexico will be a completely different story.

Leclerc is wary of the 811m tow down to the apex of Turn 1 he gives the 19 frenemies behind him - and given Max Verstappen used 2021 pole-man Valtteri Bottas as a slingshot from third, if Leclerc is leading by Turn 4, that is a job well done.

What did Leclerc say?

"I'm not sure it's the best place to start here but anyway, that's fine. I'm happy. I'll take that pole position."

Leclerc pole Mexico © XPBimages

Loser - Lando Norris

Just when you think you've got this F1 malarkey cracked, it has a habit of throwing up an unwelcome surprise.

Four straight podiums is the best run of Norris's career - but to make it five from 18th on the grid will be some going for the McLaren.

It attempted Q1 on the Mediums to start with before a fuel system problem forced the abort of the lap.

This pushed Norris onto the Softs, but a mistake on his first attempt cost him the lap, and then on the second, came Alonso's spin, one that almost looked as if you couldn't do it if you tried on a weekend Aston Martin feared Q1 elimination...

Anyway, at least some crumb of comfort for McLaren was Oscar Piastri splitting the two Mercedes in seventh.

What did Norris say?

"There’s a lot of ‘shoulda woulda coulda’ for me at the minute. It is a shame, but points will be our target so we’ll see what we can do.”

			© RN365/Michael Potts
	© RN365/Michael Potts

Winner - Daniel Ricciardo

The Honey Badger is well and truly back.

As the man himself pointed out, this performance in being fourth on the grid - AlphaTauri's best since Pierre Gasly's second in Qatar 2021 - was no fluke.

Ricciardo's been on the pace all weekend and looked a Q3 threat at the very minimum so to split the Red Bulls and be within a couple of tenths of pole is a standout performance.

With one result he's proved the old Ricciardo is back, rearing to go and the broken, exhausted shadow of the driver he was in 2022 has been banished.

Now he must deliver a bucket full of points for AlphaTauri that could earn it millions by moving it up from 10th and last in the Constructors'.

With the car coming good, a fired-up Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda showing form, AlphaTauri is making its charge at exactly the right time.

What did Ricciardo say?

"Actually the last lap when I crossed the line, I was pretty angry because I didn't improve. I was up in the first sector and then we slowly lost it throughout the lap, so I was like: 'I threw that away.' But by the sounds of it, no-one improved at the end with a second set of Softs so maybe the track fell away, so that made me feel a little better.

			© RN365/Michael Potts
	© RN365/Michael Potts

Loser - Alex Albon

Put Albon in the same boat as Norris - just when everything is going swimmingly, Grand Prix racing will find a way to bite.

The extraordinary pace from practice simply vanished in qualifying for Albon, who did manage to squeak into Q3 - but lost the time seconds later for a track limits ping at Turn 2.

He was dumfounded by that call and instead of being inside the top 10, is 14th on a track it is hard to overtake at.

Given Alfa Romeo has both cars inside the top 10 and AlphaTauri's upward curve, it could be a challenge for the team to hold onto seventh in the standings. Days like this won't help.

What did Albon say?

"Technically, I didn't exceed track limits because my four wheels are off the ground, but even the snapshot they have is my rear tyre on the white part of the kerb, so you can't even tell what is the white line or what is the kerb. I don't know how they can make a decision like that."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

F1 2023 Mexican Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


LATEST Verstappen wants Le Mans assault with Alonso