Max Verstappen recovered from sixth on the grid to take a nerve-wracking win at the 2023 Formula 1 US Grand Prix, as the Red Bull man held off a fast-approaching Lewis Hamilton and the McLaren of Lando Norris to claim his 50th Formula 1 race win.
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After a quiet start, Verstappen gradually picked off his rivals one by one in what was a tense Austin affair. He took the lead from Norris, who had earlier taken first place on the opening lap ahead of pole-sitter Charles Leclerc.
Hamilton, on new mediums, chased down Norris for second with a few laps to go and looked to close in on Verstappen for the win—in a reverse scenario of what happened in last year’s race where Verstappen chased down Hamilton for the win—but to no avail as he settled for second.
Norris held off the late advances of Carlos Sainz to take his fourth podium in a row, ahead of the other Red Bull, Sergio Perez, who overtook a very frustrated Leclerc late in the event to finish fifth.
Leclerc ended up sixth for Ferrari, with George Russell in seventh, as the Alpine of Pierre Gasly came home an impressive eighth. Lance Stroll recovered from a pit lane start to finish ninth for Aston Martin, as Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top 10 while also claiming a valuable point for AlphaTauri in the form of the fastest lap.
Alex Albon’s five-second time penalty for exceeding track limits did not cost him a position as he finished 11th, although he will be investigated after the race for multiple breaches of the same offence. The Thai racer was followed by his Williams teammate, Logan Sargeant, in 12th.
Nico Hulkenberg was the lead Haas on the day as he finished 13th, ahead of the Alfa Romeos of Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu, with his teammate, Kevin Magnussen, down in 16th. The returning Daniel Ricciardo was the last of the remaining runners for AlphaTauri.
There were three drivers who failed to see the chequered flag, as Fernando Alonso, Oscar Piastri, and Esteban Ocon all retired from the race due to issues with their respective cars.
Mario Isola, Motorsport Director, Pirelli:
On one of the most probing tracks of the season, we witnessed a very closely contested race, with exciting duels both on track and between the strategists. On the topic of strategy, the way the race played out confirmed that a two-stop was the quickest option, especially because the one-stop alternative would require very careful tyre management, thus making it difficult for a driver to push hard for many laps, while those on two stops were able to do so. That was the case with Leclerc, who, although he did not see a drop in performance towards the end due to degradation, found his pace was not strong enough to defend from several drivers who chose to pit twice.
Looking at tyre performance in general, the medium proved to be the most suitable compound because it offered more grip than the hard, but its degradation did not result in much slower lap times. The Soft was hardly used—only by AlphaTauri in the closing stages – and looking at Tsunoda’s performance, it showed it was a great tyre over a single flying lap, but not really an option over a long distance on this Austin track with today’s temperatures. Finally, it’s worth noting that even in the race, there was no graining.
How the race was won from the tyre point of view:
The vast majority of drivers preferred to start on the Medium tyres, the only exceptions being Lance Stroll and Nico Hulkenberg, who started on Hard from pit lane alongside their respective team-mates Fernando Alonso and Kevin Magnussen. As expected, the quickest strategy was a two-stop, running Medium and Hard. Two drivers tried to run the whole race, making just a single pit stop: Charles Leclerc, who extended his first stint to lap 23 before running the remaining 33 laps on a set of Hards, and Daniel Ricciardo, who, on lap 47, probably aborted his attempt to get to the chequered flag on the Hards, switching to Softs for the final laps. His AlphaTauri team-mate, Yuki Tsunoda, did the same, making a third stop on the penultimate lap, attempting and succeeding in taking the additional point on offer for setting the fastest race lap as he rounded off the top ten.
The next stop is Mexico City: the circuit named after the Rodriguez brothers will host the 20th race of this year’s Formula 1 World Championship from 27 to 29 October. The compounds available are C3 as P Zero White hard, C4 as P Zero Yellow medium and C5 as P Zero Red soft. This trio is, therefore, one step more delicate than those used last year.
2023 Formula 1 US Grand Prix Race Results
|1.||1||Max Verstappen||Netherlands||Red Bull Racing||1:35:21.362||25||466|
|DQ||44||Lewis Hamilton||Great Britain||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||+2.225s||0||201|
|2.||4||Lando Norris||Great Britain||Mclaren Racing||+10.730s||18||159|
|3.||55||Carlos Sainz||Spain||Scuderia Ferrari||+15.134s||15||171|
|4.||11||Sergio Perez||Mexico||Red Bull Racing||+18.460s||12||240|
|DQ||16||Charles Leclerc||Monaco||Scuderia Ferrari||+24.662s||0||151|
|5.||63||George Russell||Great Britain||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||+24.999s||10||143|
|6.||10||Pierre Gasly||France||Alpine F1 Team||+47.996s||8||56|
|7.||18||Lance Stroll||Canada||Aston Martin F1 Team||+48.696s||6||53|
|8.||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Japan||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+74.385s||5||8|
|9.||45||Alexander Albon||Thailand||Williams Racing||+86.714s||2||25|
|10.||2||Logan Sargeant||USA||Williams Racing||+87.998s||1||1|
|11.||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Germany||Haas F1 Team||+89.904s||0||9|
|12.||77||Valtteri Bottas||Finland||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||+98.601s||0||10|
|13.||24||Zhou Guanyu||China||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||+1 lap||0||6|
|14.||20||Kevin Magnussen||Denmark||Haas F1 Team||+1 lap||0||3|
|15.||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Australia||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+1 lap||0||0|
|NC||14||Fernando Alonso||Spain||Aston Martin F1 Team||+49.032s||DNF||183|
|NC||81||Oscar Piastri||Australia||McLaren Racing||+4.833s||DNF||83|
|NC||31||Esteban Ocon||France||Alpine F1 Team||+62.390s||DNF||44|
2023 Constructor Standings
|1.||Red Bull Racing||706|
|2.||Mercedes-AMG F1 Team||344|
|5.||Aston Martin F1 Team||236|
|6.||Alpine F1 Team||100|
|8.||Alfa Romeo Racing||16|
|9||Haas F1 Team||12|