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5 things we learned from 2023 Mexican Grand Prix

Our hearts ache for Sergio Perez

The thin air, stemming from the high altitude, allows F1 cars to go faster than usual on the main straight. PHOTO FROM FORMULA 1

This year’s Formula 1 season is getting closer to the end with the 20th round being the 2023 Mexican Grand Prix. The drivers’ and constructors’ titles have long been decided. And now that no one has to pay attention to Max Verstappen (Red Bull), the competition is getting exciting with more teams improving. Here are five things we learned from the race.

Sergio Perez's race was over as soon as it started. PHOTO FROM FORMULA 1

1. Nothing went well for the Mexican. All eyes were on the home hero, Sergio Perez (Red Bull). However, this was a weekend to forget for the driver.

Qualifying was never his strong suit. But starting in P5 behind Daniel Ricciardo in the AlphaTauri wasn’t helping Checo prove that he deserves to stay at Red Bull.

To the heartbreak of the local fans, Perez was taken out of the race on Lap 1 after he tried to pass Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) at the first corner.

Could this be a sign of Daniel Ricciardo's return to form? PHOTO FROM ALPHATAURI

2. Daniel Ricciardo achieved AlphaTauri’s best result so far in the season. Because of his injury at Zandvoort, Ricciardo had to skip five Grands Prix before he could get back behind the wheel in Austin. It was only his second race after his recovery but, unlike with Perez, this was one worth remembering.

Starting in P4 behind Verstappen, the Australian put up a good fight against the likes of Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-AMG) and Lando Norris (McLaren), who eventually overtook him with their much faster cars. By the end of the race, the Honey Badger was hunting down a struggling George Russell (Mercedes-AMG) for P6, but ran out of time to make a pass.

Although Ricciardo’s P7 finish is worth only six points, this bumps AlphaTauri up to P8 in the constructors’ standings. Had Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) finished in the points, the team wouldn’t be tied with Alfa Romeo at 16 points.

A bad qualifying session didn't stop Lando Norris from scoring good points. PHOTO FROM FORMULA 1

3. Lando Norris charged from P17 to P5. A yellow flag in Q1 prevented Lando from setting a proper time, leaving him in P17 for the starting grid. This didn’t stop the young driver, though, as he rapidly cut through the field in the race.

The crash of Kevin Magnussen (Haas) on Lap 33 brought out the safety car, which was followed by a red flag. This would have been a good opportunity if only Norris hadn’t had a poor launch at the restart and lost multiple places.

Still, P5 wasn’t such a bad result for someone who had started at the back of the pack.

Neither of Aston Martin's drivers finished the race. PHOTO FROM FORMULA 1

4. The suffering at Aston Martin continued. Do you remember the start of the season when Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) consistently bagged podiums for the underdog team? Those days seem like a distant memory with each passing race.

Lance Stroll’s (Aston Martin) qualifying time was only good for P18 (only to start from the pit lane), while his teammate was fortunate just to be starting in P13. The race wasn’t any better as both drivers had to retire eventually.

Alonso picked up irreparable damage from debris on the first lap, while Stroll made contact with Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) toward the end.

Lewis Hamilton scored an additional point for setting the fastest lap in the race. PHOTO FROM MERCEDES-AMG

5. Lewis Hamilton finished second again. After getting disqualified last time due to a technical breach, Hamilton managed to finish in P2 again. Starting in P6, he gained a place after Perez was taken out on Lap 1. Hamilton was held up by Ricciardo for a while before the Mercedes-AMG driver was able to overtake him on Lap 11.

With the two Ferrari drivers ahead, Lewis pitted early to undercut Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and gain track position. As for Leclerc, Hamilton passed him later after the race restart.

Looking at the bigger picture, this result matters as the British driver is now only 20 points behind Perez in the drivers’ standings. With three races left in the season, could the seven-time world champion finish the season in P2?

The next race will be the 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix on November 5 (1am of November 6, Philippine time).

Leandro Mangubat

Leandro is our staff writer. Although having a background in mechanical engineering, he enjoys photography and writing more.