Race Report: Verstappen wins Sao Paulo GP in Brazil

AUTóDROMO JOSé CARLOS PACE, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 05: Lando Norris, McLaren, 2nd position, the Red Bull trophy delegate, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, and Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team, 3rd position, on the podium during the Brazilian GP at Autódromo José Carlos Pace on Sunday November 05, 2023 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Andy Hone / LAT Images)

Max Verstappen took the win in the Formula 1 Sao Paulo Grand Prix in Brazil but the real action was behind him as Fernando Alonso put on a masterclass in driving to come home 3rd just behind Lando Norris.

Despite the truncated qualifying on Friday, the race turned out to be more realistic than many believed with Aston Martin returning to form. Fernando did a masterful job of holding off and re-passing Sergio Perez for a podium position.

Max and Lando did an equally great job of coming home in P! And P2 respectively.

Win

A win for Red Bull with Max in P1 and Sergio in P4. Sure, Sergio got duped by Alonso for the podium but finishing P4 helped consolidate his lead over Lewis Hamilton in the diver’s Championship. Don’t let anyone tell you they care about 2nd through 10th because Mercedes sacrificed George Russell in the hopes of keeping Hamilton’s P2 challenge alive.

A big win for Aston Martin with Fernando Alonso in P3 and Lance Stroll, who equally had a very good race, in P5. Aston has struggled mightily of late so to see them bounce back with pace that I thought may have been flattered on Friday due to truncated running in Qualifying was terrific to see. The team needed this result and Alonso put on a masterclass even handing Perez a bit of a lolly while setting him up to pounce on the last lap. If you watch nothing else in this race, watch Alonso who was simply sublime.

A big win for McLaren in their race against Aston and Mercedes in the constructor’s championship. Lando Norris had a great race to P2 and was quick all weekend. Unfortunate for Oscar Piastri and the car damage he suffered after being mugged by a tire carcass on the opening lap.

A good dual-points finish for Alpine with Pierre Gasly looking racy in P7 and Esteban Ocon on a 3-stopper in P10.

Yuki Tsuboda F-Bombed his way up to P9 which was good give n Daniel Ricciardo was mugged by a Haas in the opening lap.

Fail

A fail for Alfa Romeo which a dual DNF. Miserable weekend for them and Zho Guanyu had plenty of Soft compound tires to make a race of it.

A fail for Ferrari with a hydraulic failure on Charles Leclerc on formation lap and a P6 for Carlos Sainz. They felt positive heading in to the race but just didn’t have the pace to get Carlos higher in the order.

A fail for Mercedes who struggled with pace all day but equally odd was their sacrificing George Russell like chum in the water in order to keep a slower Lewis Hamilton in front. If I was George, I’d be thinking seriously about my future at Mercedes. Toto is all in with Lewis and I’ll be interested to hear why the team chose to keep a faster Russell behind Lewis.

WTH

Another sandwich affair with both Haas F1 cars involved in taking Alex Albon and Kevin Magnussen out of the race.

Ugh…I was hoping Logan Sergeant could get one more position to finish in the points but a P11 is a good run for him.

Pirelli Report:

For the start, 19 drivers had chosen the Soft with seven of them going for a new set of C4. Sargeant was the only driver to start on the Medium. For the restart, after the first lap accident, which involved Albon, Magnussen, Piastri, Ricciardo and Hulkenberg, two drivers decided to change their approach to the race: Piastri went from Soft to Medium while Sargeant went in the opposite direction.

Of the 17 drivers who lined up for the second start, only Ocon made three stops, using three sets of C4 and one of C3. Everyone else went for the two-stop, with 15 drivers following the sequence C4-C3-C4, while Piastri used two sets of Soft after his first stint on the Medium.

Norris did the longest stint on the Medium (32 laps), and Piastri extended a Soft stint the most, going for 28 laps.

One interesting fact: the red flag on lap 3 actually allowed two drivers – Sargeant and Hulkenberg – to complete the entire race using only the Soft compound.

Sao Paulo GP Results:

PosNameCarLapsLaps LedTotal TimeFastest LapPitstopsPts
1Max VerstappenRed Bull7101h56m48.894s1m13.422s033
2Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes710+8.277s1m12.486s026
3Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-Mercedes710+34.155s1m14.442s015
4Sergio PérezRed Bull710+34.208s1m14.124s018
5Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes710+40.845s1m14.007s010
6Carlos SainzFerrari710+50.188s1m14.406s09
7Pierre GaslyAlpine-Renault710+56.093s1m14.521s06
8Lewis HamiltonMercedes710+2.859s1m14.739s06
9Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT710+9.880s1m14.231s05
10Esteban OconAlpine-Renault700+0.000s1m14.206s01
11Logan SargeantWilliams-Mercedes700+0.000s1m15.738s00
12Nico HülkenbergHaas-Ferrari700+0.000s1m15.036s00
13Daniel RicciardoAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT700+0.000s1m13.866s00
14Oscar PiastriMcLaren-Mercedes690+0.000s1m14.310s00
George RussellMercedes570DNF1m14.934s05
Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-Ferrari390DNF1m15.731s00
Guanyu ZhouAlfa Romeo-Ferrari220DNF1m16.232s00
Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari00DNF0s00
Alex AlbonWilliams-Mercedes00DNF0s00
Charles LeclercFerrari00Invalid date0s04
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Xean Drury

I’m not sure why Ricciardo and Piastry had to re-start the race a lap down. Any insight on this?

Fabio

Merc and Charles was my fault.
I just put Charles in my fantasy team and had the two Mercs in 2nd and 3rd position this weekend.
So yeah, I’ll take the blame for their performance.