With no signs of slowing, Max Verstappen has checked another record off the books as he notched his 16th victory in 2023 over rivals Lewis Hamilton and Charles LeClerc. In what has been a year for the ages, the records continue to fall as Red Bull look to become the most dominate car in the history of the sport. A masterpiece created by Adrian Newey and his team, the RB19 has won all but a single race this season and looks to continue this trend during the remaining 3 races.
With the title fight over, the battle for P2 in the championship comes down between Red Bull’s Sergio Perez – looking to finish P2 for the first time in his career – and Lewis Hamilton. Perez, currently P2 in the championship, is attempting to do something that Red Bull has never done before, finish 1-2 in the drivers championship, while Lewis Hamilton looks to supplant him and pull Mercedes into P2 in the constructors championship over Ferrari and McLaren.
Sunday’s affair in Mexico proved to be a difficult one for Perez, as a first corner incident on lap 1 between Verstappen, LeClerc, and himself ended with the Mexican driver launching his RB19 into the air over the left front wheel of LeClerc, leading to a lap 1 retirement in front of his home crowd. Ultimately labels a racing incident, the zero-points haul allowed Hamilton with his P2 finish on the day to take 19 points out of Perez’s lead, bringing the gap between the two drivers down to just 20 points. LeClerc, who led from a shot pole position, would bring his mildly-damaged Ferrari home for the final podium position ahead of teammate Carlos Sainz.
"I took a risk that I paid a high price for"
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 29, 2023
The lap one incident was one of many during the race, including a red flag period on lap 35 that effectively split the race into two sprints. Kevin Magnussen’s Haas suffered a mechanical failure in the turn 8-9 complex that saw his VF-23 spin backwards and into the wall, displacing the barrier and forcing Magnussen to seek further medical evaluations by the Formula 1 medical staff. As the initially called Virtual Safety Car was deployed, Verstappen and other quickly dove into the pits for fresh tires – the Dutchman opting for hard compounds to finish the race – as the red flag was then called for several minutes.
After the second standing start, McLaren’s Lando Norris began a charge for the ages. Starting 17th, the McLaren driver worked his way up the field before falling back again at the 2nd restart on the hard compound tires. With the long stint, and superior pace, Norris was able to claw his way up to 5th place ahead of George Russell, a mighty drive for the fellow British driver, earning him Formula 1’s Driver of the Day award.
Daniel Ricciardo also earned praise for his race as the Alpha Tauri driver – starting a shock 4th position ont he grid – heald off early challenges from Lewis Hamilton to ultimately finish 7th in the points behind George Russell and ahead of fellow Aussie Oscar Piastri.
With only Brazil, Las Vegas, and Abu Dhabi left on the calendar, all is still for play beyond the P1 positions. Teams head to Brazil for the final race in F1’s last triple-header event of the year this next weekend – November 3rd-5th.