Brazilian GP 2023

NOVEMBER 5, 2023

Race Notes - Verstappen wins Brazil ahead of Norris

Max Verstappen, Brazilian GP 2023
© Red Bull

By Mark Karp

Max Verstappen won the Brazilian Grand Prix in his Red Bull-Honda, ahead of the McLaren-Mercedes of Lando Norris, 8.277 seconds behind. Fernando Alonso, in the Aston Martin-Mercedes, in a last lap battle with Sergio Perez, finished in third, 34.155 seconds behind the winner.

Sergio Perez finished fourth, 34.208 seconds behind.

The win is Verstappen’s 52nd career win, and 17th for the 2023 season.

Lance Stroll (40.845s) in the second Aston Martin finished fifth, followed by Carlos Sainz (50.188s) in the Ferrari in sixth, Pierre Gasly (56.093s) in the Alpine-Renault was seventh, Lewis Hamilton (1m02.859s) in the Mercedes GP was eighth, Yuki Tsunoda (1m09.880s) in the AlphaTauri-Honda was ninth, and Esteban Ocon (1 lap) in the second Alpine took the final point in tenth.

There were clouds in the sky as we approached the start, and it is expected to be dry and warm for the start. Verstappen is on pole with Leclerc alongside on row 1, team mates Stroll and Alonso on row 2, Hamilton and Norris on row 3, Sainz and Russell on row 2, and Perez and Piastri rounding out the top ten.

All drivers starting on soft tyres, except for Sargeant on medium tyres.

At the appointed time the field came around to the grid, Leclerc crashing on the formation lap at turn 7, saying on the radio that he lost the hydraulics.

The field continued around to the grid, the lights went out and the race started with Verstappen taking the lead with Norris up to second then Hamilton following. Alonso gets ahead of Stroll, but both Aston Martin’s getting a slow stop.

Magnussen and Albon crashing before the first corner. The safety car is out.

Ricciardo’s rear wing is damaged by debris.

The red flag is flown, and the race is stopped to clean up the track.

Piastri’s car is being repaired after hitting a tyre.

In the pits the order is Verstappen, Norris, Hamilton, Alonso, Stroll, Russell, Perez, Sainz, Ocon, Tsunoda in tenth, Gasly, Bottas, Zhou, Sargeant. Hulkenberg, Piastri, and Ricciardo in 17th.

The teams are working on the cars, and are about to change tyres.

The stewards announce a restart at 14:31 local time.

Piastri and Ricciardo’s cars are franticly being worked on in the garages.

The drivers get back in their cars in the pit lane.

After a 25m delay, the drivers take to the track and come around for another standing start. Piastri and Ricciardo will start from the pit lane.

On lap 4, the lights go out and the race begins once again with Verstappen taking the lead ahead of Norris. Alonso passes Hamilton for third, followed by Russell, Perez, Stroll, Sainz, Gasly and Ocon.

Norris follows closely behind Verstappen.

On lap 6, Norris sets fast lap at 1m14.940s.

On lap 8 Norris is challenging Verstappen under DRS but isn’t able to get ahead.

At lap 10 Verstappen is leading Norris by 2.0 seconds, followed by Alonso (3.4s), Hamilton (6.4s), Russell (7.4s), Perez (8.1s), Stroll (8.3s), Sainz (9.1s), Gasly (9.6s), and Ocon (11.1s) in tenth.

On lap 11 Bottas passes Hulkenberg for 12th.

Tsunoda passes Ocon for tenth.

On lap 13 Perez passes Russell for fifth into the first corner.

Ocon pits, then Zhou pits.

Mercedes tells Russell that they need to get the soft tyres through this first stint.

On lap 18 Sargeant pits. Perez passes Hamilton for fourth place.

On lap 19 Hamilton pits for medium tyres and rejoins 11th.

Russell pits the next lap for medium tyres and rejoins 11th.

Ham tells the team, "I’ve got a problem with the right front."

On lap 21 Perez pits for medium tyres and rejoins in tenth.

On lap 23 Stroll pits for medium tyres and rejoins tenth.

Perez is challenging Hamilton, and passes him for seventh in turn 4.

Zhou pits and retires.

At lap 25 Verstappen leads Norris by 3.6 seconds, followed by Alonso (9.3s), Sainz (23.1s), Gasly (25.7s), Tsunoda (29.3s), Perez (36.2s), Hamilton (39.0s), Stroll (39.9s), and Russell (41.1s) in tenth.

Alonso pits from third for medium tyres and rejoins fifth.

The next lap Sainz, Gasly and Tsunoda pit.

On lap 28 Verstappen pits from the lead for medium tyres, Norris follows him in for medium tyres and the rejoin still in first and second.

At lap 30 Verstappen leads Norris by 4.9 seconds, followed by Alonso (10.9s), Perez (13.6s), Stroll (18.4s), Hamilton (20.2s), Russell (21.0s), Sainz (23.9s), Ocon (28.4s), and Bottas (29.5s) in tenth place.

On lap 32 Ocon pits again for soft tyres.

Gasly passes Bottas for ninth.

On lap 34 Hamilton tells the team that he is struggling with his tyres.

Sainz passes Russell for seventh.

Perez is closing on Alonso in third.

Sainz is now chasing Hamilton.

Tsunoda passess Bottas for tenth.

On lap 36 Norris sets fast lap at 1m14.845s. The next lap Verstappen responds and goes faster at 1m14.682s.

Sainz passes Hamilton for sixth place.

At lap 40 Verstappen leads Norris by 5.1 seconds, followed by Alonso (18.3s), Perez (20.2s), Stroll (25.6s), Sainz (30.1s), Hamilton (37.8s), Russell (36.2s), Gasly (37.3s), and Tsunoda (42.3s) in tenth place,

Bottas pits and retires.

On lap 43 Gasly passes Russell for eighth place.

Gasly is reporting a potential brake issue.

On lap 46 Russell pits soft tyros and rejoins 11th.

On lap 47 Perez and Hamilton pit for soft tyres. And the rejoins seventh and ninth. Gasly pits for soft tyres and rejoins tenth.

The next lap Alonso pits from third for soft tyres and rejoins fifth ahead of Perez.

Hamilton passes Ocon for eighth.

On lap 48 Gasly sets fast lap 1m14.521s.

On lap 50 Gasly passes Hamilton for eighth.

Hamilton reports to the team that he is not even gaining under DRS.

On lap 52 Sainz pits for soft tyres and rejoins seventh. Ocon pits. The next lap Stroll pits from third for soft tyres and rejoins sixth.

On lap 54 Ocon sets fast lap at 1m14.206s.

At lap 55 Verstappen leads Norris by 7.5 second, followed by Alonso (44.7s), Perez (45.5s), Tsunoda (53.9s), Stroll (58.4s), Sainz (1m00.5s), Gasly (1,02.5s), Hamilton (1m05.3s), and Russell (1m13.4s) in tenth.

On lap 57 Verstappen pits from the lead for soft tyres and rejoins in second place.

Perez follows closely behind Alonso for third place.

On lap 58 Verstappen sets fast lap at 1m14.044s.

Russell pits and retires.

On lap 59 Norris pits from the lead for soft tyres and rejoins second behind Verstappen.

Perez is challenging Alonso.

On lap 61 Norris sets fast lap at 1m12.486s and trails Verstappen by 11.2 seconds.

At lap 65 Verstappen leads Norris by 9.1 seconds, followed by Alonso (25.2s), Perez (25.6s), Stroll (36.5s), Sainz (42.1s), Gasly (45.9s), Hamilton (51.4s), Tsunoda (1m01.4s), and Ocon (1m12.4s) in tenth.

Perez continues to follow closely behind Alonso.

Sainz in sixth is complaining about issues

On lap 70 Perez passes Alonso for third into the first corner, Alonso tries to fight back, but can’t.

On the final lap Alonso comes back on DRS into turn 4 and takes back third.

On the final lap Verstappen wins ahead Norris and Alonso in third, just inches ahead of Perez.