Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2023

Verstappen beats Norris again to win Brazilian GP as Alonso denies Perez podium

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by

Max Verstappen led almost every lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix to take his 17th grand prix victory of the season ahead of Lando Norris and Fernando Alonso.

The world champion held off Norris at the restart after an early red flag stoppage and controlled the majority of the race to win by over eight seconds from Norris behind. Alonso claimed the final podium position in third after winning a long-running battle with Sergio Perez on the final lap by just five hundredths of a second.

Before the race began, the entire field left the grid for the formation lap on soft tyres, except for Logan Sargeant towards the back of the field. But while the field were making their way through Ferradura before the start, second-placed Charles Leclerc suddenly lost hydraulics in his Ferrari, sending him spinning into the outside barriers.

Leclerc managed to get his car in motion again but his problem was terminal and he was forced to park his car and become the first retirement before the race had even started. The start was not delayed with the Ferrari being cleared and the race began.

Restart, Interlagos, 2023
Poll: Vote for your 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix Driver of the Weekend
However, on the run to turn one, a clash between the two Haas drivers of Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg and the Williams of Alexander Albon sent Magnussen and Albon into the outside tyre barrier. The Safety Car was deployed as both were out on the spot, with Hulkenberg damaged along with the cars of Daniel Ricciardo and Oscar Piastri due to debris caused by the collision.

With repairs to the barriers needed, the race was red-flagged on the second lap. After a delay of 25 minutes, Verstappen led the field away to line up on the grid for the restart. Norris followed him in second place after jumping several of his rivals at the initial start, with Lewis Hamilton third and the two Aston Martins of Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll fourth and fifth.

At the restart, Verstappen got away well and comfortably held the lead into turn one with Norris keeping second place. Hamilton held third until Alonso dived by the Mercedes into Descida do Lago to take third place. Norris remained within DRS range of the leader when the system was activated at the start of lap five and the pair pulled away from Alonso behind.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Norris challenged Verstappen with DRS into the Senna Esses and Descida do Lago on lap eight but Verstappen held him off. Verstappen pulled away through the middle sector to be out of DRS range from Norris by the end of the lap and earn some respite. Verstappen soon extended his advantage to just over two seconds, where it stabilised.

Behind, Perez gained fifth place from Russell into the Senna Esses on lap 15 to split the two Mercedes. A handful of laps later, Perez to overtake Hamilton to gain fourth in similar fashion. In response, Mercedes pitted both their drivers for medium tyres, with Perez stopping a lap later for the same. When Perez rejoined, he did so behind Hamilton. However, Perez was not behind the Mercedes for long as he passed him on lap 24 to move back ahead.

Alonso pitted from third place for mediums, with the two leaders ahead, Verstappen and Norris, pitting together on the same lap for mediums. They emerged back on track with Verstappen still in the lead, five seconds ahead of Norris who himself held five seconds over Alonso in third. Mercedes struggled for pace on the mediums, with both Hamilton and Russell being passed by Stroll and Carlos Sainz Jnr to fall to seventh and eighth, respectively.

Verstappen maintained his lead through the middle stint between five to six seconds over Norris as they both pulled away from Alonso behind. Perez was pursuing Alonso until he pitted for soft tyres at the end of lap 46. Aston Martin responded the next lap to bring in Alonso, allowing him to rejoin ahead of the Red Bull.

Verstappen pitted for soft tyres, handing the lead to Norris. Red Bull suspected Norris would remain out until the finish, until Norris eventually made a second stop to switch back to softs, giving the lead back to Verstappen.

Norris gradually closed on Verstappen in the later laps but not by enough to ever become a danger to the leader. Verstappen finished the 71st and final lap to claim his 17th grand prix win of the season, with Norris finishing eight seconds behind.

But the drama was in the battle for third with Alonso and Perez, who were fighting hard over the final laps. Perez got ahead on the penultimate lap, with Alonso repassing on the final lap. On the run to the line, the two ran side-by-side, with Alonso only just reaching the line to take third by half a tenth.

Stroll claimed his best finish since the Australian Grand Prix with fifth, with Sainz bringing his Ferrari home in sixth. Pierre Gasly took seventh for Alpine ahead of Hamilton in eighth. Yuki Tsunoda and Esteban Ocon completed the top ten, with Russell being brought in to retire in the final third of the race due to dangerously high power unit temperatures.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 Brazilian Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix articles

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

41 comments on “Verstappen beats Norris again to win Brazilian GP as Alonso denies Perez podium”

  1. An unfortunate racing incident between Albon & Haas duo, but yet another unnecessarily excessive red-flagging over something safely manageable under SC neutralization.
    So what if the SC period is something between 5-10 laps, still more than enough left for green-flag running.
    Good thing Leclerc could at least move the car beyond a hole to avoid another formation lap, although Ricciardo & Piastri not getting back on the lead lap was baffling.
    Great drive by Alonso, although Mercedes’ strategies were weird.

    1. No, as usual your opinion about red flags is incorrect. They were quite correct to red flag the race, look how long it took to clear the cars when they had a telehandler on track at turn 1. You can’t run through the pits for 20 laps, which is roughly how long it took to confirm the barriers were safe.
      At least this way more laps were run under green.

      1. But the point is that maximizing laps in racing conditions shouldn’t be the priority, which is clearly still the case, not to mention this or the many other cases from 2020 onwards weren’t even as extreme as something like Kubica’s shunt in the 2007 Canadian GP, which was perfectly safely manageable under SC.
        These suspensions just cause unnecessarily excessive delays & lengthy overall race times.

        1. @jerejj and that is why there is now a maximum duration following Canada 2011.
          Maximum green laps is what most want to see, watching cars following the safety car is just dull and a waste of viewing time.
          Plus, I was watching on Sky+ so I just fast forward through until the restart

        2. But the point is that maximizing laps in racing conditions shouldn’t be the priority

          Why not? It’s a racing series. So long as they stick to the time limit it’s much better to have racing than laps. It’s always a trade off. Nobody wants the FIA to red flag for every incident, but when there’s a good chance it’ll take quite a while to get the track cleared for racing it’s a good option to have.

          1. Cars running behind a SC is not racing.

            The benefit of the SC is that the luck factor is less than a red flag, where people get a completely free pit stop and free repairs, but it is at the expense of racing.

      2. Ref flag absolutely the right call I don’t think that’s even up for discussion. So much debris, no point in running behind the safety car for 10/15 laps, reducing the race laps for no reason.
        Everything is perfectly manageable when you are sitting on the sofa lol

    2. I think the red flag has been used excessively in the past couple of years, but this is not one of those instances.

      Too much debris, on (after) the main straight, forcing cars through the pitlane– that’s not even a race. No, much like Kimi’s accident at Silverstone several years ago, a red flag was absolutely the right call. If anything, Race Control waited too long to call it.

      1. Jonathan Parkin
        6th November 2023, 4:53

        I remember in the olden days if they had to red flag a race after a Turn 1 pileup they had to do it on Lap 2 by the earliest. Any later and we were into aggregate time

        By doing it on Lap 1 or Lap 2 it became a fresh race over 71 laps and the clock reset to zero

  2. Mercedes looked the worst it has been all season. Did they go crazy on the setup? Both Hamilton and Russell had nothing this race.

    1. It was embarrasing. If they carry on with this sort of form in the next two races Norris could still grab 3rd in WDC.

      Before Silverstone I wrote that last year Mercedes were somehow decent in the second half of the season and that they might not replicate that this year. It has proven correct. For half season they were outmatched by Aston Martin (Alonso) in the first half only to be outclassed by Mclaren (Norris) in the latter.

      If they cannot bounce next year, I doubt they will in few other seasons as well.

      1. How much longer will Mercedes want to see their image eroding at such great cost??

        1. It’s not that bad, they’re still 2nd in the WCC. They seemingly just got their set up a bit wrong. Last year Red Bull didn’t connect all the dots and it helped Mercedes win. It’s always a risk in these sprint weekends.

      2. @Kotrba

        They probably stopped development of the car and are putting as many funds as possible into next season. With a completely different concept for W14, any effort put into this car is wasted money, while they need every last coin, even those from the sofa, to catch up.

    2. Maybe it had to be with raising the ride-hide to prevent another possible Dsq.

      Russell mentioned on Friday that with the sprint race, they wanted to be cautious.

      Note aside, this has been hands down the worst camera director person…not sure how that person got the job in the first place.

      1. Ah you might be right there.

    3. The stint on the mediums was diabolical, they went backwards, it ruined their race.

    4. Car that is difficult to set up. One session to get a set up and model cooling needs before parc ferme. Track that is hard on tire wear.

    5. I think they swapped engines with Bert Mylander.

      My guess is they got the cooling setup wrong on Friday, and they’ve been running the engines under-powered all weekend. Yet another reason why Parc Ferme, especially on Sprint Weekends, needs to die– or at least totally restructured.

      1. no, their rear wing is unnecessarily large because of the way the wind on the top side of the chassis flows across it and pulls in the air from the bottom side of the car. Its not a wing as much as it WAS a Hershey’s kiss pretending to be low drag. It’s a car pretending to be another car, and is unpredictable and hard to place on setup. The W11 had a much better flow over the top side of the chassis, and it’s rear wing was much more compatible towards higher top speeds. But with those ‘rule changes’ and Mercedes deciding to completely change the concept of their car, they kind of lost the plot, its just a shame it took them two seasons to learn something that is kind of basic in the world of engineering. (if it aint broke, don’t fix it).

        1. @pcxmac but isn’t the problem that between the W11 and now, we have an entirely different set of regulations with an entirely different solution that works best? You can’t just say they should’ve stuck to the W11 concept, because that was the optimal solution to the previous regulations.

          Mercedes clearly got it wrong with the W13, tried to persevere with the W14 but quickly had to reassess, and they are now running some kind of Frankencar that’s built for the wrong concept but that they’re trying to fit into another concept by throwing bits on it. It obviously isn’t working, and I am not sure what they are learning from it and whether they shouldn’t have just abandoned the entire car months ago to spend all dev budget on the W15.

          Then again, I’m not a high-profile F1 engineer so they know much better than I what they are doing and what they are getting out of it.

    6. The only race Mercedes was competitive in was the race they ran their setup illegally low. The car is not good. The R&D group still love the baby they birthed a couple of years ago and are just too in love with it to move on. Mercedes needs to clean house and bring in a new crew that will actually look at the data.

      1. If you make those statements, please show data. Otherwise you keep just repeating your biased view on Mercedes, and will not convince anybody here that you are even remotely correct.

    7. The had the same bad setup as Red Bull had last year. If you went the wrong way then it’s painfull to race with that car as we noticed.

  3. Basically a repetition of the Sprint race.

    How i wish this was the last one.

    1. Sprint: Max, Lando, Sergio, George, Charles, Yuki, Lewis, Carlos, Daniel, Oscar
      Race: Max, Lando, Fernando, Sergio, Lance, Carlos, Pierre, Lewis, Yuki, Esteban

      Except Max and Lando, no position had the same result. No AM in the sprint results at all, third and five in the race. No Alpine in Sprint results, seven and ten in the race.

      Do you even check the scores before commenting?

    2. Everybody is entitled to have an opinion and clearly the sprint race format must be improved… But I don’t understand the level of negativity from some concerning these sprint race…

      This WE, the sprint race was good, full of battle and overtaking. The race was also nice…. All in all a very good WE with quality motorsport, very enjoyable.

  4. Well, I guess tomorrow in the 2023 São Paulo Grand Prix driver ratings ALO won’t score more than 7/10 as he was beaten by his teammate in qualy and had two poor starts…

    …but it’s obviously one of the greatest defenses of the year, in a circuit with overtakes galore and two DRS. And that comeback on the last lap… OMG.

    1. Both cars had poor starts. Had nothing to with the drivers. The starts are 90% the car.

      Speaking of blameless, Ricciardo looked really fast. What bad luck and I instantly knew pitting right away was a huge mistake since a red flag was obviously going to happen. Piastri shouldn’t have been behind DR. His season is unraveling a little bit. Meanwhile, Yuki was quick, but so sloppy that it cost him at least two places.

      1. Yuki made a mistake on one corner only. Also the Alpine with Gasly was flying, I doubt Yuki could have beaten him without the mistake

        1. No. There were three occasions when he had big moments, including the off.

    2. Does Monday driver’s ratings payout points or money?

  5. I think Perez may have signed his own dismissal notice after that performance. He really ought to have sped away after passing Alonso on the penultimate lap. The car is clearly not the problem.

    1. he reacts too much, and doesn’t have his ‘own’ rhythm. You can’t win epically, if you dance to another person’s tune. And unfortunately I think Perez is under too much threat to feel comfortable enough to listen to himself and what he needs to do to run over the competition. Perez should be in the sim twice as long as Max, and he should pretty much become one with what ever RBR are putting out there, until then, he is has very little chance of beating Max. Max is RBR’s #1, and that means Perez has to become better at being Max, then Max.

      1. Checo is not beating Max with any amount of extra simming, the gap in talent is just too big. His focus should be on maximizing the talent he’s got and doing better strategically. For example, not going out last in Q3 when rain is imminent. You don’t need racing talent like Max to pay attention to the weather.

    2. ALO took note of PER’s signature double move (always unpenalized) and anticipated it the second time. ALO just put the pedal down and PER couldn’t do the 2nd move like the prior lap. ALO is a craftsman!

  6. Can anyone explain why the positions of the cars did not revert back to original grid positions as the Redflag came out before 2 laps passed?

    1. Because the rules state that ‘In all cases the order will be taken at the last point at which it was possible to determine the position of all cars. All such cars will then be permitted to resume the sprint session or the race.’ (Article 57.3 of the Sporting regulations)

    2. They were showing that 3 laps were completed which to RIC’s point, how? There was mayhem in the first corner of the first lap. Should have been red flagged when they came around at end of lap 1.

      1. They do generally take a bit of time to evaluate whether a red flag is required, unless it’s an emergency (like Bahrain 2020 or Silverstone last year, which were immediately stopped), so it’s not surprising that we didn’t get the red flag until lap 2 – the reason it showed lap 3 during the stoppage is because Verstappen crossed the S/F line on the way back to the pits after the red flags were shown.

        Personally I think laps completed under the red flag shouldn’t count, so they should have restarted on lap 2, but that’s not the way the rules work at the moment – both the lap where the cars drive back to the pits and the “formation” lap before the restart are both counted towards the race distance.

  7. Good to see Norris try something.

    Overall fairly decent race. Alonso being smart, and Perez not being smart made a foregone conclusion an exciting battle.

    Smallest margin of victory for RB all year long I think without a late SC.

    McLarens leap alone shows how much is possible for 2024 by both Merc and Ferrari. Just be close enough to avoid a clean sweep!

Comments are closed.