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2023 Brazilian Grand Prix Takeaways

By Hank Blaine

Max Verstappen claims his second Brazilian Grand Prix title and 17th season victory. There was plenty of action from the get-go. The grid faced an early red flag after colliding with Haas driver Kevin Magnussen and Williams’ Alex Albon. There were more DNFs listed since the early interruptions. Meanwhile, Lando Norris records his fifth podium in six races, while Fernando Alonso proved why he is still on top of his game.

Before preparing for the returning Las Vegas Grand Prix two weeks from now, let’s go over the top Formula 1 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix storylines below.

A Look Back at the 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix

Alonso takes down the Minister of Defense

Norris had a slow start in Brazil. However, he managed to challenge 2023 World Champion Max Verstappen and pulled off quite possibly his best drive of the season. The McLaren wheelman gained positions off the line before the red flags came out. He positioned himself ahead of the front row before the restart–a place he should have held in the first place.

It was the ideal finish for him, as it meant Norris could pressure Verstappen throughout the afternoon. We would have loved it if he could close the gap further, but this could be an early sign of a future rivalry brewing.

Norris said: “I’m very happy with today and with all weekend honestly, the pace has been very strong. To again, be coming into race weekend which we weren’t expecting to be performing quite at this level, I think is a very good surprise for all of us.”

The 23-year-old had plenty of pace in his improved MCL60. It becomes more and more evident as we come to the latter stages of the 2023 calendar. Norris finished P2 in both races and created some tension between him and Hamilton in the standings. The seven-time World Champion is now just 32 points ahead with Lando looking like the better driver in the last few weeks.

Lando on the podium with two World Champions

It’s safe to say that Fernando Alonso is a crowd favorite this season. The 42-year-old continues to drive at a high level, and that remains evident following the 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix. The two-time World Champion is the most experienced Formula 1 driver on the grid now, not to mention the oldest.

Although Alonso dropped form after the first few races of the calendar, Aston Martin was Red Bull’s closest challenger before the summer. The recent updates in Austin last month put them back on the map. The AMR23 was easily the third-quickest car when looking at the pace alone. Place a quality driver behind the wheel and it’s easily a recipe for success.

Alonso’s performance in Brazil was nothing short of incredible. His defense on the final podium position against Perez is up there with some of the best defensive driving in history. It also helps that Lance Stroll was in form and finished P5 that day–qualifying a season-best third and finishing just six seconds behind his teammate. The photo finish between the Spaniard and the Mexican is the closest this season. Only 0.053 seconds sat between the veteran drivers as Alonso snatched the final podium place from Checo in the last lap.

Max being Max

Three-time champion Max Verstappen proves why he is the best driver on the grid right now. It’s fair to say that he used his mirrors more often than usual with Lando Norris right beyond him. However, one detail that many often overlook when it comes to the 26-year-old is his laser-like focus.

He’s not only winning but doing it with such consistency that he is likely to break a record every time he suits up. The race around the Autódromo José Carlos Pace marks his second on the track and betters Alberto Ascari’s win rate. As of this writing, the Belgian-Dutch wheelman records a 75% win rate previously held by the Italian driver in the 1950s.

Verstappen’s advantage over the second-best driver, Lando Norris, remained significant until he crossed the line. Even if Norris executed his moves early into the race, the chances of McLaren keeping the lead were still slim. Despite Max having to work harder than usual, he stood strong in front of the pack for a 17th win this season.

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