McLaren’s surprisingly strong Brazil pace results in Norris’s first fastest lap of 2023

2023 Brazilian GP interactive data

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Lando Norris may not have been quick enough to keep up with Max Verstappen, but his McLaren remains the most competitive threat which has emerged to Red Bull since the season began.

Verstappen was eight seconds to the good at the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix but wasn’t able to pull away from the McLaren as easily as he has left other rivals behind in previous races. Most strikingly, Norris was able to claim the fastest lap – his first of the season – after extending his penultimate stint to make it longer than Verstappen’s.

The McLaren seemed to have a slight performance edge on the Red Bull when their tyres were at their freshest. The team used this advantage to its maximum at the restart, after Norris had unexpectedly risen from sixth to second at the original start.

Norris went back to the grid with a fresh set of soft tyres on his McLaren in the hope of claiming revenge for Verstappen beating him away from the line at the start of the sprint race when their positions were reversed almost 24 hours later.

He didn’t manage it, but on lap seven he did something few other drivers have made Verstappen do this year: Defend his position. All this at a track which just a few weeks ago Norris claimed would expose McLaren’s weaknesses.

As Norris noted after the race, Red Bull’s superior performance towards the end of a stint remains one of their strongest suits. It was this which allowed Sergio Perez to close in on Fernando Alonso with four laps to go in their fight for the final podium position. Only Alonso’s famed tenacity allowed him to exploit the extremely powerful DRS zones at Interlagos to reclaim the position as the final lap began, and hold it to the flag as Perez moved to repass him.

Drivers were unanimous in rejecting the hard tyre, which offered poor grip, during the race, and stuck to the soft tyre as far as possible. No one did more than a single stint on the mediums. Two drivers – Logan Sargeant and Nico Hulkenberg – used the early race interruption to get their medium stint out of the way and ran an ‘all-soft’ strategy from there on.

Sargeant’s hopes of adding a second point to the one he scored at home two weeks ago (which may be jeopardised by Haas’ bid for a review) suffered a blow when his lap times dropped off at the end of the race. This may have been linked to the pain he reported in his left arm after taking the chequered flag. The team confirmed he did not require medical attention afterwards.

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2023 Brazilian Grand Prix lap chart

The positions of each driver on every lap. Click name to highlight, right-click to reset. Toggle drivers using controls below:

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2023 Brazilian Grand Prix race chart

The gaps between each driver on every lap compared to the leader’s average lap time. Very large gaps omitted. Scroll to zoom, drag to pan and right-click to reset. Toggle drivers using controls below:

2023 Brazilian Grand Prix lap times

All the lap times by the drivers (in seconds, very slow laps excluded). Scroll to zoom, drag to pan and toggle drivers using the control below:

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2023 Brazilian Grand Prix fastest laps

Each driver’s fastest lap:

Rank#DriverCarLap timeGapAvg. speed (kph)Lap no.
14Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’12.486214.0161
21Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPT1’13.4220.936211.2868
33Daniel RicciardoAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1’13.8661.380210.0168
418Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’14.0071.521209.6167
511Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPT1’14.1241.638209.2855
631Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’14.2061.720209.0553
722Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1’14.2311.745208.9764
881Oscar PiastriMcLaren-Mercedes1’14.3101.824208.7566
955Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’14.4061.920208.4859
1014Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-Mercedes1’14.4421.956208.3854
1110Pierre GaslyAlpine-Renault1’14.5212.035208.1648
1244Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’14.7392.253207.5559
1363George RussellMercedes1’14.9342.448207.0155
1427Nico HulkenbergHaas-Ferrari1’15.0362.550206.7366
1577Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’15.7313.245204.8420
162Logan SargeantWilliams-Mercedes1’15.7383.252204.8251
1724Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’16.2323.746203.4917

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2023 Brazilian Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

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2023 Brazilian Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

Rank#DriverTeamComplete stop time (s)Gap to best (s)Stop no.Lap no.
11Max VerstappenRed Bull22.994227
211Sergio PerezRed Bull23.1640.17220
381Oscar PiastriMcLaren23.3380.344352
41Max VerstappenRed Bull23.3970.403356
522Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri23.4530.459355
63Daniel RicciardoAlphaTauri23.5080.514355
711Sergio PerezRed Bull23.5220.528346
881Oscar PiastriMcLaren23.5360.542224
955Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari23.5570.563126
1018Lance StrollAston Martin23.5580.564222
1144Lewis HamiltonMercedes23.5710.577218
1210Pierre GaslyAlpine23.5830.589346
1331Esteban OconAlpine23.5990.605451
144Lando NorrisMcLaren23.6640.67359
1555Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari23.7040.71251
1663George RussellMercedes23.730.736219
174Lando NorrisMcLaren23.8060.812227
1814Fernando AlonsoAston Martin23.830.836347
1927Nico HulkenbergHaas23.8410.847446
2024Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo23.9530.959215
213Daniel RicciardoAlphaTauri23.9550.961226
2263George RussellMercedes23.9620.968345
2331Esteban OconAlpine24.0371.043214
2444Lewis HamiltonMercedes24.0741.08346
2577Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo24.0771.083218
262Logan SargeantWilliams24.1371.143344
2714Fernando AlonsoAston Martin24.2041.21225
282Logan SargeantWilliams24.3671.373217
2927Nico HulkenbergHaas24.4011.407321
3031Esteban OconAlpine24.4061.412331
3118Lance StrollAston Martin25.2942.3352
3210Pierre GaslyAlpine25.2952.301226
3322Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri27.1144.12226
3427Nico HulkenbergHaas34.26111.26711

2023 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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5 comments on “McLaren’s surprisingly strong Brazil pace results in Norris’s first fastest lap of 2023”

  1. Wonder what happened to Norris in laps 8-10. No ERS, tyre temps? I thought Verstappen had picked up some extra pace but it was the McLaren that was slow.

    1. Probaly both but if you look at both times only i wonder if Lando could win by not pitting. Now we don’t know how much Max was coaching but Max was saying he had to push a lot more then normal.

      1. I was wondering that too. Would the mediums have lasted the race…?
        Maybe not. But we will never know.

        What we DO know is this: by pitting with 12 laps to go, losing 1st place was guaranteed.

        1. I was watching the times and the gap was dropping fast enough that Ver would catch him a couple of laps before the end. I think they knew that so went for the fastest lap instead with new softs.

      2. Max was about 1.5 s a lap faster after his stop, so Lando would’ve been a sitting duck from lap 64 on, or sooner if Lando lost extra time on totally worn tires.
        Once Lando stopped, Max swapped from full attack to saving the tires and the car. The third sector in lap 60, once he was informed of Lando’s stop was suddenly a lot slower, and lap 61 was a cool down lap. Then RB saw that the McLaren was going a lot faster (than they expected), so they adjusted to the new “safe level”.

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