Verstappen made a clean getaway at both starts, only ceding the lead once, during the second pit stop period. Other than that, it was the perfect race for the Dutchman who was in a class of his own as he further extended his record of most wins in a season to 17. Perez had to work harder for his points. He picked up places at the start, and climbed past both Mercedes cars to close in on Alonso for the final podium place. After many, many frustrated laps stuck on Alonso’s tail, he finally got past on the penultimate lap, only to be overtaken on the final lap by the obdurate Spaniard. He did his best to come back, sling-shotting out of the final corner to pull alongside the Aston Martin, but the line came fractionally too soon.
Max Verstappen, 1st
“It has been a good weekend in Brazil. It was a great race and we had good all-round pace throughout. Again, it was a really long stint on the tyres and it was important to save them throughout as we had high tyre degradation. Lando had a good race and I had to work to defend in the first lap and maintain the gap. He was close to me in stint one and pushed a bit harder on the newer compounds at the start but I stayed calm throughout the race, just relaxed and let the car roll into the corner. He did well and we had some good racing today. It has been quite a long triple header so looking forward to a few days break before preparing for Vegas. I am enjoying the moment and hopefully we can continue this success until the end of the year.”
Sergio Perez, 4th
“Let’s start from the beginning, it took me a while to get through the Mercedes and that damaged my race, after that we were always a bit on the back foot with Fernando. We were chipping away at him and towards the end we came really close to the podium. I have to say well done to Fernando because it was a great fight and really fair racing. Between us, whoever got the podium, it was well deserved, and he got it. I had the opportunity and went for it but he was really fast on the straights and I don’t think I could have done anything differently in the final few laps. I think that pace has been there for the last few weekends, but we haven’t been able to put it all together, it was a matter of time before it came. It was a good weekend for us in Championship, because we are getting closer to securing second spot, now we go to Vegas.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal
“A superb race today on all counts. Max was fantastic. Got out in front early and managed the tyres well. It is a similarly stellar performance we have been seeing all season. Equally, Checo had a brilliant drive, back to the form we know so well. The form we have been willing him back to in the later stages of this season. He gave as good as he got against Alonso but unfortunately was just pipped at the post. Some great racing. It’s been a fantastic season for us and there are still two races to go. So our attention turns to Vegas in two weeks; racing down The Strip on Saturday night. It’s certainly going to be a week like no other.”
Norris had a brilliant start and found himself second at Turn 1 from sixth on the grid. He did his best to stick with Verstappen from there, but although he kept the Red Bull honest, he didn’t have the pace to compete for the win. As for Piastri, he was an innocent bystander at the start as several cars collided, Magnussen knocking into and breaking his rear wing. He came in to retire, but the team were able to work on that during the red flag and he was able to restart, albeit a lap down. From there it was a tough race, still carrying damage, a lap down and having to move aside for blue flags.
Lando Norris, 2nd
“A very good day, it couldn’t have gone much better to be honest. Good pace, similar to yesterday, which is the main thing, and a much better start at the beginning to get from sixth to second. P2 is as good as we can get at the moment and for the time being, but I’m very happy to consistently be challenging for podiums. Thanks for everyone’s hard work both at track and the factory in what’s been a long but enjoyable triple header.”
Oscar Piastri, 14th
“A difficult race for me today. Unfortunately, it was essentially over before it began, after the contact from behind that I couldn’t avoid. The team did an incredible job getting the car turned around to get me back out after the red flag. 71 laps at a circuit I haven’t driven at before is extremely useful for my learning, and I hope to see the fruits of the team’s hard work today when we return next year. After that, we just needed a safety car to unlock us, which sadly never came. On to the next one in Las Vegas.”
Andrea Stella, Team Principal
“After a challenging afternoon for the team, we come away with strong points and more silverware. On Lando’s side, we have somewhat mixed feelings. On the one hand we can be satisfied that he was the only car quick enough to contend with Verstappen. But over the course of the race, we have to accept that he still has a little bit of a performance advantage and we still have some work to do to close that gap. Overall, an impressive drive from Lando and important points for the team.
“On Oscar’s side, his race was unfortunately compromised after being caught up in someone else’s incident at the start. The team did an exceptional job to repair the substantial damage to Oscar’s car during the red flag and get him back out for the remainder of the race. Despite this, Oscar’s car was still carrying damage to important aerodynamic components and carried a significant lap-time deficit throughout the entire race. Nevertheless, it was a useful exercise for him to gain experience at a track he has never raced at before.
“After this long triple header, my thanks go to the entire team, both trackside and at MTC, and to our colleagues at HPP for their dedication and continued support. We come away with 63 points from a selection of racetracks that we knew didn’t necessarily suit our car, which is encouraging in terms of our general competitiveness. Time now to reset and prepare for the final double-header of the season, starting in Las Vegas in two weeks’ time.”
A slow getaway cost both cars, but Alonso soon fought back past Hamilton into third place, and from there drove away from the pack. He therefore had a quiet race until the final stint when Perez began to catch up. The Mexican had DRS and made several moves, but brilliant defence kept him at bay until the penultimate lap when he finally made his way past. Alonso didn’t give up, pulling off a move on the final lap and just having the pace to out-drag the Red Bull down the final straight, grabbing the podium by a staggeringly small 0.053s. As for Stroll, he had a very tidy race and was catching his team mate in the closing stages for his best result at this track.
Fernando Alonso, 3rd
“For the last 30 laps, it felt like I had pressure from Sergio [Pérez]. But when he passed me two laps from the end, I thought the chance of a podium finish was no longer possible. Then he braked a bit late into Turn One on the final lap, and I said to myself I would go for it into Turn Four. This is a phenomenal result for the whole team. We’d been struggling a little in recent races – especially the last two events – so this podium is for everyone at the track and everyone back at Silverstone. It shows that we will always keep fighting until the very last lap, the last corner.”
Lance Stroll, 5th
“Neither of my starts were great – I had a lot of wheelspin and very little traction, so I didn’t get off the line well. But after that we had a lot of pace – quicker than Ferrari, quicker than Mercedes – and it felt like we were back to where we were at the beginning of the year. Today’s result gives us the belief that we can go out and fight for points in these final two races. Finally, a big shout out to the whole team – the last few races have been tough but today is a real reward and sends us home with smiles on our faces after three weeks on the road. I’m looking forward to Vegas!”
Mike Krack, Team Principal
“Today’s result was a great reward for a lot of hard work over the last few months and a difficult couple of races. Credit to everybody at the track and at the Campus for putting their heads down and working hard: we can all see what is possible with great teamwork. Fernando drove with great intelligence and skill – over the last few laps, he showed the world what a great driver he has always been. Lance did brilliantly to pass both Mercedes, keep the Ferrari behind and catch Sergio and Fernando at the end. It shows what is possible if we provide our drivers with a quick car: they perform exceptionally. We will celebrate this result – but the work continues to close the gap to the teams ahead of us. We will give 100 per cent focus to doing everything we can in the last two races.”
Leclerc was due to start second, but spun off on the Formation Lap with an apparent hydraulics issue. He briefly tried to get to the pit lane, but his PU then wouldn’t play ball and he had to park up, looking and sounding absolutely distraught. That left Sainz to fly the flag for the team, and he managed to get past the struggling Mercedes cars to climb to sixth, but didn’t have the pace to chase down Stroll ahead.
Charles Leclerc, DNS
“It’s been a disappointing day on my side. Starting from P2, we were hoping to bring home plenty of points to move up in the championship fight, but unfortunately, we had to retire early. Coming into Turn 6 on the formation lap, I lost my power steering and the wheel went stiff, also locking up the rears.
“I’m focused on the last two races of the season now, we won’t give up and will fight to finish with the best constructors’ classification result we can achieve. I will give it everything in Las Vegas.”
Carlos Sainz, 6th
“It was a difficult day. The starts were not good due to a clutch problem that we also had yesterday and we lost some positions there.
From there on, I was able to pass both Mercedes on track, but that was it. Unfortunately, today Aston Martin, Red Bull and McLaren were faster than us and P6 was the maximum.
“It is a big shame that Charles didn’t have the chance to start the race as we could have scored very important points against Mercedes here in Brazil.
Now it’s time to recharge our batteries and hopefully we will be back in good form in Las Vegas.”
Fred Vasseur, Team Principal
“We are very disappointed because we could have scored plenty of important points for the championship, but we lost Charles even before the start due to a reliability problem, which sent him off the track on the formation lap. He would have been starting on the front row and on top of that, we had sacrificed his Sprint chances yesterday to favour today’s Grand Prix. Now we must investigate carefully to see exactly what happened with his car.
“Carlos’ weekend was not without its own difficulties and he struggled at the start with the clutch, losing a few places. However, in the race, especially the first stint, he did a very good job of managing the tyres and was able to go and pass both Mercedes which means that over the course of the weekend we made up two points on our rivals. It could have been so much more, but nevertheless, the fight for second place is still on.”
Both Alpine cars did well to avoid all the debris and spinning cars at the start, gaining places as a result. The team split their strategies, leaving Gasly on the traditional two-stop and moving Ocon to a three-stop. Both worked well, Gasly picking off Hamilton and running out of time to catch Sainz, while Ocon also climbed into the points on what was a good day for the team. Their drivers played the team game too, swapping positions whenever asked, which made sense on the differing strategies.
Esteban Ocon, 10th
“Today we had a small reward with one point after a challenging race. We had a great start, gaining some positions while also avoiding the chaos in front. Unfortunately, we saw very quickly that we had very high degradation throughout and had to go for a three-stop race. We had planned for this as we saw some signs yesterday that this could be a factor, so that is something we will assess going forward. Nevertheless, a good day in the office for the team with both cars in the points and a good step since yesterday’s performance in the Sprint Race. Our focus now shifts to Las Vegas, the penultimate race of the season, which promises to be a spectacular experience where we hope to deliver another strong result.”
Pierre Gasly, 7th
“I’m very happy with today’s race and I would say it was one of our best performances of the season. It was a very challenging race to manage with multiple stints and pit-stops, but the entire team did a great job today to make the right calls and execute the stops well. For the team, in seventh and tenth, it’s clearly a strong performance, especially after starting from near the back of the grid. We competed with Carlos [Sainz] and the two Mercedes throughout, so that is clearly a good step forwards from yesterday. Next up is Las Vegas, which will no doubt be a cool experience. I’m excited for it, as I always am for new races, and it is up to us to enter that race as prepared as possible and give it our all on-track.”
Bruno Famin, Interim Team Principal
“It’s been a very good team effort today where we’ve been able to significantly improve our performance from yesterday’s Sprint and convert our difficult grid positions into the points with both cars. It was not an easy race to manage, both for the team with the strategy calls and pit-stops, and for the drivers, who had to smartly work their way through the chaos at the start. In the end, it is seven strong points for the team, which is a good way to round off this triple header. For the last two races of the season, we need to keep our heads down, find ways to be faster from the start of the weekend to be in a better position on Sundays on the grid. I have been impressed by everyone’s togetherness and teamwork and now we look ahead to Las Vegas for the penultimate race of the 2023 season.”
After their struggles in the Sprint, Mercedes had hoped to have learned some lessons for the Grand Prix. Hamilton had a brilliant start, jumping past both Aston Martin cars into third. But he couldn’t hold that position, Alonso easily passing him. Both silver cars then started to go backwards, neither the soft nor medium tyres working on the W14. Russell fell all the way to P11 before being called in to retire with an overheating PU, and while Hamilton limped home in eighth, he was a long, long way off the pace of the front runners.
Lewis Hamilton, 8th
“I feel like I drove a better race today than I did yesterday, in relation to how I was managing the tyres to the best of my ability. It’s difficult to say why we struggled so much this weekend. There are moments with this car when it works and others when it doesn’t. It’s very inconsistent throughout the lap and we need to figure that out. Today, we were slow on the straights but still sliding through the corners, so it was difficult. We will go away and look at things to find out what we should have done differently. It was a day to forget but hopefully there are lots of learnings from it too. I am also so proud of everyone in the team. They are still working as hard as they can and holding their heads up high. That’s what we have to continue to do and we will keep pushing to improve.”
George Russell, DNF
“We obviously got something very wrong this weekend. We’re not sure what that was yet but the pace just hasn’t been there. You clearly don’t go from a podium-worthy car to one that is one second off the front, so it’s been very strange. We thought yesterday may have been a one off, but it clearly wasn’t. We were sliding the tyres and I think the performance we showed was the maximum we had with the car the way it was. In the end, we were suffering from high oil temperatures in the Power Unit and that caused us to retire. That topped off what was a difficult day. We need to now get back to the factory, regroup, and work through what we did to get on top of it before the final two races of the season.”
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
“Today was clearly a very poor performance. This car finished on the podium last week in Mexico so whatever we did to it here did not work. We are not usually at our strongest on sprint weekends, but that doesn’t explain how challenging this weekend was. Lewis survived out there to take P8 whilst George was forced to retire. I can only feel for them having to drive something so difficult today. The car is clearly on a knife-edge the whole time and we need to ensure we develop that out of the car for next year. We also need to push hard for the final two races of the season and recover. That is the most important thing now heading to two very different tracks in Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi.”
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
“We were very limited in what we could change on the car between the sprint and the Grand Prix today. Effectively, it’s just the front wing angle and any electronic settings the driver can make from the cockpit. As such, we knew it would be difficult to make much of a step in performance, but we were always going to give it a go.
“The starts were generally good. Unfortunately Lewis got past by Alonso into turn four on the second, but it was clear that we didn’t have the pace to race them today. It was very much a case of hanging on from there. The drivers were having to manage tyres and deal with a lack of top speed. Towards the end we retired George as an issue on his cooling system was causing temperatures to slowly go out of control.
“Clearly, we’ve got something very wrong with the setup. We’ve had the pace to fight for podiums in the recent races and today we were barely able to fight for points. We’re obviously disappointed and we will work hard to understand and fix what we got wrong this weekend.”
Ricciardo was incredibly unlucky at the start. He managed to avoid the spinning cars, but a piece of tyre carcass was thrown into the air and came down right on his rear wing. The team initially retired him, but like Piastri they managed to repair the damage and get him back for the restart. But starting a lap down, he was never going to make any headway. As for Tsunoda, he climbed to P10 at the initial start and from there always looked in the mix. Ninth at the flag added more points to those he scored in the Sprint on a good weekend overall for AlphaTauri.
Daniel Ricciardo, 13th
“It was a messy race start. I saw quite a big crash in front of me, and there was a lot of debris. I felt like I was getting through it, but at a certain point, I saw a tyre flying in the air, like a frisbee, which was starting to get closer. I checked my mirrors and saw the tyre had hit and damaged my rear wing. Due to the red flag, we returned to the pits, where the team did a great job in repairing the car to be ready to restart the race. Unfortunately, I was told that Oscar (Piastri) and I would be a lap down and had to restart from the pitlane. All the frustration was because we were really fast today. We stayed behind Yuki, helping him score points, but when we had clear air, I felt like the pace I showed was very strong. I think we made some good progress throughout this weekend, and I’m happy with that seeing as it’s a track that has never been a strong one for me. I believe I could’ve contributed quite a lot to the team in scoring points today if only we didn’t restart the race one lap down. I’m now looking forward to Las Vegas.”
Yuki Tsunoda, 9th
“Good job to the team! I’m happy for scoring points, but I definitely could’ve done more. I made a mistake in Turn 10, which caused me to lose one position, so I’m really sorry to the team. I think more was possible, especially as we were managing some reliability issues that we’ll look into. It’s such a shame about Daniel as well because he was also really fast. I think we both could’ve scored points today. Looking at the positive, starting P16 and ending up P9 shows the strong pace of the car and that we’ve definitely made a big step in the last races since we introduced the upgrades in Austin. We’re in a good rhythm now, scoring consecutive points in three weeks, and it’s important to keep that momentum for the last two races of the season. We’ll keep extracting performance from the car and aim to continue scoring points, to close the gap to Williams who are ahead of us in the Constructors’ Championship.”
Claudio Balestri, Chief Engineer – Vehicle Performance
“Today’s target was to score points and close the gap to Williams, and we did it. The race wasn’t an easy one because unfortunately, at the race start, following the Turn 1 incident, Daniel sustained damage on his rear wing from a flying tyre. We decided to stop him and repair the car quickly, while at the same time, the red flag was deployed, and we ended up one lap down with Daniel. Unfortunately, this was basically the end of his race. We sent him back out, waiting for a Safety Car or Red Flag, which never came. Nonetheless, he showed a very competitive pace and allowed us to gather valuable data while finishing P13. For Yuki, the race was different. He was lucky to remain out of trouble at the start and was P10 after the red flag. For the remaining part of the race, Yuki was fighting in the top ten. Unfortunately, we identified a potential clutch issue towards the end of the race, so to make sure we brought the car home, we decided to be conservative with his upshift settings. This meant Yuki was able to finish P9 and score points for the team. We now switch our focus towards the last two races of the season, with the target of improving our position in the Constructors’ Championship.”
Albon was just in the wrong place at the wrong time at the start, tagged from behind by one Haas, causing him to veer and hit the other Haas. He was unhurt, but out immediately. With Sargeant starting on the mediums, he managed to swap to the preferred soft tyres early on and from there climbed through the field to finish a decent 11th, one retirement away from points on a day with a high attrition rate.
Alex Albon, DNF
“I had a great start; I think it was one of the strongest starts on the grid but after looking at the external cameras, the driver on the inside was a bit blindsided by the two cars on the right, so there wasn’t much I could do. With all the retired cars throughout the race and many out of place with damage from the crash, we really could’ve been on for points, so it’s disappointing when the championship fight is so tight. Today obviously wasn’t our day so we’ll look ahead to Vegas and try maximise where we can.”
Logan Sargeant, 11th
“A tricky one; we just missed pace today and didn’t have what we needed to fight with AlphaTauri. We really wanted to capitalise on a lot of cars going out, but we struggled with tyre degradation and were not quick enough. Other than that, I’m happy to have kept it clean and get 71 laps in. Another well rounded Sunday and, especially on low fuel I’ve had the pace I needed this weekend, so we need to have a bit of a regroup and carry that forward to Vegas. Another home race for me coming up next, so I’m excited.”
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
“A very unfortunate race for us. Alex got a very strong start and was immediately pressurising both Haas cars. Unfortunately, he was left with nowhere to go in the incident at T1 and retired before his race had really started. Having started ahead of the Alpha Tauris and the Alpines, it would’ve been interesting to see where he would’ve finished.
“Logan had a cleaner race and used the safety car and red flag period to effectively run the entire race on Soft compound tyres. He raced well with the Alfa Romeos before they both retired and with further retirements was able to finish in P11 whilst controlling his pace to stay ahead of Hulkenberg.
“Alpha Tauri were able to take a further 2 points out of our margin over them in the Championship. Whilst this is concerning, we were fortunate that they were unable to score more points today as their pace was very strong.
“We have a brief break now before we go to Las Vegas for the first part of the final double-header. We still have a lead over our direct rivals and plenty of opportunity to defend that to the end of the season.”
Both Haas cars were involved in the start line chaos. Magnussen had Albon on his outside, and Hulkenberg coming up in between those two cars. Magnussen moved across, causing Hulkenberg to tag the rear left of Albon, sending the Williams spinning into Magnussen. The Dane and the Williams were out of the race, but the team managed to repair Hulkenberg’s car enough for him to take the restart – but from there, points were always a difficult ask despite a brilliant restart jumping him up three places.
Nico Hulkenberg, 12th
“It was a typical start situation where it got too tight there, and it was very similar to what happened to me in the Sprint in Qatar, I got sandwiched. You can’t really bail out at that point, so I made contact with Albon which then put him into Kevin. It was unfortunate but there wasn’t much we could do. There was damage but the red flag allowed us to repair it, so the car was fine, there was just no performance this weekend.”
Kevin Magnussen, DNF
“I got a really good start and then I think Albon squeezed Nico, they had contact, and that sent Albon into me like a chain reaction. It is what it is, you’ve got to move on to the next race, and the next race is Las Vegas. I look forward to that.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“Having a crash at the start involving both of our cars, it just shows which side lady luck is on currently. In the race, after Kevin retired, Nico was trying to do his best with the tyres, trying to find a way around the degradation we have with our car. I think he did the best he could, and in the end, P12 was the best we could do.”
Thanks to so much chaos at the start, Bottas managed to climb up through the field – but he then lost just as many places at the restart. From there he did slowly make his way back to the top 10, only to see his team mate called in to retire with technical issues. And a few laps later, Bottas joined him in the garage for an early shower, more technical issues ending the Finn’s race.
Valtteri Bottas, DNF
“Our pace felt pretty good today, a definite improvement from the rest of the weekend: we adapted well to the cooler temperatures, and we were in the mix to bring home some points. I had managed to avoid all the debris from the turn one collision at the first start but, unfortunately, we eventually had to retire the car. We still need to investigate the technical issue that caused it, but the frustration remains. It was a real shame, as we actually had the chance to build something really promising today. The weekend overall has been a tough one for us; with only two rounds to go, things look pretty difficult for our side: still, we won’t give up, and we will keep working hard to try and make up for the positions lost in the final two rounds of the Championship.”
Zhou Guanyu, DNF
“We had a good chance to score points with both cars today, Valtteri and I working together to finish in the top ten, so it’s extremely frustrating to finish the race like this. We had good pace and we were making progress from the back, but we had a technical issue and had to stop the car. I don’t know the details yet, we will need to investigate the problem fully to understand what happened, but we had to stop to prevent any worse issues to appear. It’s sad, but it’s motorsport: now we need to focus on Las Vegas, and work to make sure we can be as competitive there as we were today.”
Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative
“We’re really disappointed today, especially because both drivers were delivering very solid races. Valtteri was firmly in P10, with Zhou right behind him, after a good start and with a car that performed much better than in the previous days. We were fighting with the Alpines, the AlphaTauris and a points finish was definitely on the cards. Last year we suffered quite a few DNFs, and this year we improved significantly: it’s therefore even more disappointing to have two of them in the same race, and at the end of the season, when every opportunity matters even more. We will need to investigate exactly what happened, it was two separate issues that forced us to stop the cars to avoid any further damage. We will look into them in Hinwil to make sure neither reoccurs. Despite the disappointment, there are positives: we saw an improvement in performance that went alongside the lower track temperatures. This gives us confidence for Vegas, but also shows that we are very sensitive to changes in track conditions, and that we struggle to produce consistent performances in different situations. Our strategy today was the best one to maximise our result, and the drivers worked well together to execute it, but sadly we never had the opportunity to see its results. Now there’s no room for regrets: we need to focus on the final two races and maximise everything we can. It’s going to be hard, but we owe it to our team members, our partners and our fans.”
Mario Isola, Motorsport Director
“It was an action packed race, even before the start! In the end, the dominant force this season, Max Verstappen, took the win, but there was plenty of excitement, and how! Norris played his part, showing great pace so that he finished not that far behind the Red Bull driver and then Alonso and Perez had the crowd going wild with their duel in the closing stages, while there were also plenty of other interesting battles over the course of the race. All this on a track that is very hard on tyres, with significant degradation, so that the drivers had to work hard to manage them, but it certainly didn’t stop them overtaking their rivals even towards the end of the stints.
“Strategy and tyre usage confirmed our predictions going into the race. The two-stop was the preferred choice of the vast majority of drivers, while the Soft was the tyre that saw the most use. In very similar weather to what we had in yesterday’s Sprint, the C4, although requiring careful management, proved that, overall it performed better than the C3, especially because it ensured better grip and slid less. Almost everyone used the Medium in the middle stint, with lap numbers absolutely similar to those run on the Softs.”