Promoted and failed at LAS VEGAS F1 GP 2023
Charles Leclerc: He’s the big protagonist this week in Nevada. The Ferrari driver excelled from Friday’s (only) free practice session, showing good race pace and a high-level qualifying session. The first position came due to the Ferrari driver’s distraction in front of his teammate Carlos Sainz, who was then unfairly penalized. In the race, it is probably the best version of the 2023 Ferrari, even beating the Singapore version when it took victory: this time also luck turned its back on Monaco, as the safety car entered the track at the wrong time and was penalized in comparisons between the Red Bulls. The main regret might be the less than ideal start, but overall it was still a great weekend.
Max Verstappen: A sweatier victory than usual, but one achieved by the Dutchman with great authority and class. One of those years where every episode turns on its side: even the five-second penalty after the start and the contact with Russell didn’t affect him. After a less than stellar Saturday, the three-time world champion was able to hit back in the race when it counted: he has 53 victories like Sebastian Vettel and his name is growing in Formula 1 history.
Esteban Ocon: A fantastic race for the Frenchman from the Alps. From 17th place, he achieved a fourth place that seemed completely unexpected on the eve of the race: he was also rewarded by the safety cars which are excellent clowns pulled from the deck, but it depends on the quality of the driver to know how to take advantage of it. Favorable positions.
Lance outing: Probably the best race of the season for the Canadian as well. Aston Martin looked to be somewhat competitive again, as he made it to an impressive fifth from 14th, working his way up to put Sainz, Hamilton, Russell and team-mate Alonso behind him. A beautiful response after a central stage of the season full of difficulties and criticism.
McLaren: Major disappointment this weekend. There is no pace either in qualifying or in the race, showing obvious limitations especially on the straight line. Piastri tries to keep things on his feet, having a good race before coming back due to contact with Hamilton and finishing 10th. Norris even ends up in hospital due to a technical issue that causes him to crash into the wall after just three laps. A little racing speed, a little luck, a little reliability: a weekend to remember.
Mercedes: Not a great weekend for the Silver Arrows. Hamilton faces a problem by not passing the second section in qualifying and leading a complicated race from behind, as Russell starts from fourth place and confirms his position on the track, but he ranks eighth due to a silly penalty he received due to his contact with Verstappen. Less consistency compared to Ferrari: In Abu Dhabi, more will be needed to defend second place in the Constructors’ Championship.
International Automobile Federation: The International Federation has proven its inadequacy for the thousandth time. Start the weekend to forget with the manhole cover blown. The one who pays the price is Carlos Sainz, who destroyed his car and was forced to change the battery. Instead of granting the exemption, the International Automobile Federation decided to punish the Spaniard with ten places on the starting grid through no fault of his or the team. Disastrous management and lack of flexibility to deal with this type of situation.
Photo: La Presse
“Award-winning beer geek. Extreme coffeeaholic. Introvert. Avid travel specialist. Hipster-friendly communicator.”