Winners and Losers from the 2023 F1 Mexican Grand Prix

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There's something about the legendary drivers of – and
them mostly ending their careers on a total of race wins that ends
with the #1 – fitting perhaps thanks to the race number they
carried. ended with 91, Alain Prost 51, Ayrton
Senna 41 and Nigel Mansell 31 – of those with more than 30 wins,
only three currently have a total not ending with #1. Lewis
Hamilton has 103, Sebastian Vettel 53, and Fernando Alonso 32. And
then we come to Max Verstappen. Of course, he's now got 51 – that
number again – to his name having recorded a 16th victory of the
year in Mexico City. Indeed, in the 41 races of the ground effects
era, he's won 31 of them – equalling Mansell's career tally in 187
starts. If you throw in the 10 wins he took in 2021, he's equalled
Senna's tally of wins in three seasons. Verstappen will continue to
cruise to records in 2023, but our attention for Winners and Losers
for the 2023 Mexico City Grand Prix starts elsewhere – with The
Honey Badger. Winner – Daniel Ricciardo/AlphaTauri To get Christian
Horner singing off the “remarkable” performance hymn sheet at your
first proper race of 2023 was exactly that from Daniel Ricciardo.
As he said, this was no fluke as he put the AlphaTauri consistently
in the highest reaches of the top 10, and looked at ease battling
away with the Mercedes of and George Russell. A
set-up break-through coupled with a full allocation of practice
sessions meant Ricciardo could get dialled into the ever-improving
AT04, with the results clear for all to see. As auditions go for a
return to the Red Bull seat he craves, it was all rather Greg
Heffley from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid singing meme currently doing
the rounds. What did Ricciardo say? “We were holding Oscar
[Piastri] at bay, at least at that moment. I was like ‘This could
be a nice, lonely fifth place' and I was okay with that. So I
definitely think we could have been better than seventh, let's say
that, without the red flag. But that's racing.” Loser – Sergio
Perez Oh dear. The second rule in the racing driver handbook –
beyond that of ‘Don't hit your team-mate' is ‘You can't win the
race at the first corner, but you can lose it.' Would Sergio Perez
have gone for the move at Turn 1 if it was in the United States or
if he was an Italian racing in Mexico – it is doubtful as the gap
opened up and he ultimately tried his luck around the outside. But
the mistake came in not overcoming the bright lights and bushy
tails soon enough and sweeping across the sandwiched Charles
Leclerc. Despite words of sympathy from Messrs Horner and Marko,
the damage arguably put the final nail in the coffin for Perez at
Red Bull. He is a driver broken and, with little interest from
teams elsewhere on the grid (not that he'd want to drop down from
Red Bull), it now feels like a matter of when, not if. Was Sergio
Perez right to attempt the move into Turn 1? Let us know in the
comments and by voting in the poll! Winner – Lewis Hamilton It
might be coming up for two years since Hamilton last won a Grand
Prix, but he's still as motivated and on it as ever to add #104 to
his tally. Good pace in the first stint led to an undercut of
Carlos Sainz which banked a podium but he was never going to catch
Leclerc for second – until the red flag proved a reset. Five laps
after the restart on the Mediums, he bravely dipped a wheel onto
the grass and eased past the Ferrari to bank a sixth podium of the
season and just a second (legal) one since the British Grand Prix.
Coupled with a 65th career fastest lap, it was a haul of 19 points
against Perez further reducing his lead to 20 points. Hamilton is
arguably favourite to finish second despite the advantage Perez
still holds. What did Hamilton say? “We weren't having to push
crazy hard out there, but this is a great result considering we
started sixth. I'm really proud of the team.” Loser – George
Russell While Hamilton is producing one of his best
non-title-winning seasons, George Russell is firmly stuck in the
second-season syndrome. Sixth place represented another weekend
where he was not quite at Hamilton's level and nearly being beaten
by an AlphaTauri is not acceptable in a Mercedes – no matter if a
pumped-up Australian is driving it. Lando Norris also set him up
beautifully while carving up through the field in a season Russell
concedes has been a disaster. What did Russell say? “I totally lost
all the temperature in my tyres, I could not recover it and was
like driving on ice for the last 15 laps, so a pretty miserable
feeling.” Winner – Lando Norris From the lows of Saturday to a
brilliant comeback drive on Sunday, this was arguably Norris's best
drive in . He maximised the McLaren strategy of starting on Softs
to vault up the order at the start before stopping early for clean
air and a set of Hards. He had worked his way to 10th by the red
flag – which basically gave him a free pit-stop for Mediums.
Despite fluffing his start, he scythed through the field after
losing five places, barging past Ricciardo and Russell – and just
running out of time to catch old mucker Sainz. He was unjustly
harsh on himself post-race, but that first win surely can't be too
far away. What did Norris say? “We put a lot of focus on today,
that was evident and paid off, but I'm never going to be happy
after a day like [Saturday] right? Because I know what we're
capable of doing.” Loser – Haas Nico Hulkenberg put up a valiant
defence of 10th place against the Alpines late on, but that was
about as good as it got for Haas – now last in the Constructors'.
Its Austin upgrades have failed to deliver the impact the team
hoped for with tyre degradation still a huge problem. To be fair,
Mexico has usually been a torrid race for the team, scoring points
only once – in 2017 with Kevin Magnussen in eighth. This time
around, Magnussen destroyed his car when the suspension broke at
Turn 9 – bringing something of a relief to the Dane who had endured
an awful weekend up until that point. What did Magnussen say?
“Suddenly I fell off [the cliff] more than the others [with tyre
degradation and] then the suspension gave up, so I don't know if
it's related.”

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