The irony of it…! Daniel Ricciardo’s perfect audition for Sergio Perez’s seat at Red Bull Racing came at Perez’s home race! A race in which Perez made an audaciously overambitious move at Turn 1 of the opening lap; a move that he thought would make him win the race. Instead, he found himself launched mid-air after colliding with Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari.
In this episode of the Inside Line F1 Podcast, Soumil Arora and Kunal Shah review the 2023 Mexican Grand Prix. Max Verstappen won both the races in Mexico – with rocket-like starts, to start with. Lewis Hamilton finished second to Verstappen again, only that this time around, his Mercedes W14 was legal. Yes, it passed all post-race scrutineering.
After clinching yet another pole position, Charles Leclerc finished 3rd for Ferrari. From 1-2 at the start, Ferrari settled for 3-4 at the chequered flag. Did Ferrari’s strategy for Carlos Sainz make sense to you? They let Lewis Hamilton undercut him in the pit stops. And of course, Ferrari’s mis-reading of the crossover between the medium & hard tyre – a crucial choice they made the restart.
Did we witness ‘Hammer Time’ by Hamilton in Mexico? He drove a solid race on the medium tyre while his team-mate George Russell had yet another lacklustre outing. Russell only just fended off a resurgent Daniel Ricciardo in the AlphaTauri.
Ricciardo’s six points helped AlphaTauri jump two places in the Constructors’ Championship. But did it also propel Ricciardo’s chances at Red Bull Racing? Poor races from Perez only make the case to replace him stronger.
Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg’s tussle for 10th, Yuki Tsunoda’s missed opportunity and of course, Lando Norris’ recovery from a Q1 exit to 5th place at the chequered flag. Yes, Norris finished 12 places higher than his start position but he ended his 4-race podium finishing streak thanks to his errors in qualifying.
A lot happened in the 2023 Mexican Grand Prix, including a fan brawl in the stands. Tune in!
(Season 2023, Episode 58)
Image courtesy: Red Bull Content Pool