The Twists and Turns of The Mexican Grand Prix
This article was written by Maxime Baillieux, Year 11
In the scorching atmosphere of Mexico City, the 2023 Mexican Grand Prix provided an exhilarating display of Formula 1 racing. The event showcased Max Verstappen's dominance and featured a thrilling qualifying session, setting the stage for a memorable race.
The qualifying session kicked off with Kevin Magnussen setting the initial pace, but he fell two seconds behind Max Verstappen, who was on fire with his fastest lap. A shift in wind conditions, going from headwinds to tailwinds on the pit lane, added an intriguing twist.
Cheering for hometown hero Sergio Perez, the crowd reverberated with "Checo" chants. Both Mercedes and McLaren opted for the medium tire compound, revealing their strategic choice to prepare some tyres for the race.
Verstappen demonstrated his prowess by going fastest with 11 minutes left in Q1, leaving Perez trailing by half a second. Daniel Ricciardo was a close second, just two-tenths behind Max, while Charles Leclerc secured the third spot, sticking to medium tyres.
Alexander Albon faced challenges with his car's handling and Lando Norris couldn't improve his time due to an incident involving Fernando Alonso.
Unfortunately, the following drivers failed to make it past Q1: Esteban Ocon, Kevin Magnussen, Lance Stroll, Lando Norris, and Logan Sargeant.
In Q2, Max Verstappen continued to shine, leaving Sergio Perez five-tenths adrift. Mercedes opted for soft tyres, adding intrigue to their strategy. Daniel Ricciardo held onto second place, but Alexander Albon struggled with a sliding car, suspecting potential damage.
The chaos escalated at pit exits, creating tension in the final moments of the session. With only two minutes left, Carlos Sainz narrowly avoided elimination and George Russell impressed by securing the third-fastest time. Lewis Hamilton took the top spot.
Regrettably, Yuki Tsunoda couldn't set a time due to a component change. Joining him in elimination were Guanyu Zhou, Pierre Gasly, Nico Hulkenberg, Fernando Alonso and Yuki Tsunoda.
Carlos Sainz displayed his skills by outperforming Max Verstappen in the first sector on the first lap, only to be surpassed by Charles Leclerc. The Ferraris showcased their strength, with both drivers securing an advantage of more than a tenth over Verstappen.
Sergio Perez faced a challenging session, ending up in 7th place. The Mercedes duo settled in 5th and 6th positions, with George Russell leading the way. The race strategy hinted at the advantage of starting from P3 due to slipstream benefits.
Despite their best efforts, the Ferraris couldn't improve their lap times. The top five qualifiers included Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz, Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo, and Sergio Perez with Charles Leclerc grabbing pole position.
Verstappen and Perez in the Red Bulls swiftly caught up and passed the Ferraris of Sainz and Leclerc as the race's five red lights went out, but to the sheer amazement of the spectators, they did so at a faster pace than the Ferraris of Sainz and Leclerc. The homegrown hero, Sergio Perez, was launched into the air, causing a massive hole to form in his side pod to the disappointment of the crowd.
Max Verstappen got an early lead without wasting any time. He quickly put together a 1.7-second advantage, and Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton fought fiercely for fourth place.
Sergio Perez, unfortunately, endured an early retirement, introducing an unexpected twist to the race dynamics. On lap 4, a Virtual Safety Car came into play due to debris on the track from Charles Leclerc's front wing endplate, influencing strategic decisions.
The mid-race phase witnessed Max Verstappen's dominance, extending his lead to a substantial margin by lap 29. Daniel Ricciardo's consistent performance seemed set to secure a strong 5th place.
On lap 33, a safety car was deployed as Kevin Magnussen crashed out in a challenging sequence of turns. The damage to the Tecpro barriers and the wreckage necessitated a red flag, bringing the race to a halt.
The race restarted on lap 36, with Lewis Hamilton making a successful move to secure 2nd place on lap 40. George Russell found it challenging to pass the Ferrari, while his teammate, Hamilton, executed the move with apparent ease.
Lando Norris displayed a remarkable comeback after being hindered by the red flag, closing in on Russell for 5th place, and eventually making the pass. A collision between Lance Stroll and Valtteri Bottas resulted in both drivers retiring.
Max Verstappen comfortably secured the race win in the 2023 Mexican Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc followed in 2nd and 3rd places, respectively. Carlos Sainz took 4th, with Norris finishing 5th, ahead of Russell and Ricciardo.
F1 Joke Section:
Why did the F1 Racer get electrocuted after finishing a lap?
Because he completed the circuit.