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5 things we learned from 2023 United States Grand Prix

Max Verstappen achieved his 50th race victory in Formula 1

This is the second race in the year on US soil. PHOTO FROM FORMULA 1

For the 19th round of this year’s Formula 1 season, the sport returned to America for the 2023 United States Grand Prix. Although both the drivers’ and the constructors’ titles have already been decided, the competition is starting to get exciting with more teams improving and catching up. So, here are five things we learned from the race.

It's refreshing not seeing a Red Bull anywhere near the front. PHOTO FROM FORMULA 1

1. There was no Red Bull on the front row at the race start. Seeing a Red Bull car start at the front of the grid isn’t an unfamiliar scene given how often Max Verstappen qualifies on pole. But this time was different as his fastest qualifying time was deleted due to a track-limits violation.

This dropped the reigning world champion down to P6. Meanwhile, his teammate was even further down in P9. With those two out of the picture, Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) was promoted to P1 with Lando Norris (McLaren) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-AMG) in P2 and P3, respectively.

The one-stop strategy worked out poorly for Charles Leclerc. PHOTO FROM FERRARI

2. Charles Leclerc went from hero to zero. Despite his starting position, Leclerc lost the lead to Norris on the first lap after Turn 1, only to get overtaken by Hamilton and Verstappen on Laps 4 and 11, respectively. Any chance at salvaging his race was ruined by bad strategy.

Opting for a one-stopper, Ferrari pitted him on Lap 23 after everyone else had done their first pit stop. This failed miserably as his tires lost grip toward the end of the race.

If being forced to swap positions with his teammate Carlos Sainz—for being too slow—wasn’t bad enough, Leclerc was disqualified post-race for a technical breach regarding the skid plank of his car.

With a few more laps, Lewis Hamilton looked like he could have finished the race in first. PHOTO FROM MERCEDES-AMG

3. Lewis Hamilton narrowly missed out on the race win. The seven-time world champion was among the contenders for the race win. Although he was able to clear both Ferraris early in the race, Mercedes-AMG left him out a bit too long, pitting him on Lap 20—four laps after Verstappen. And this further widened the gap between the Brit and the Dutchman.

Unlike Leclerc who pushed through with a one-stop strategy, Hamilton pitted a second time on Lap 38 for medium tires. This revitalized him and, had he not run out of laps, he might have overtaken Verstappen for the lead. This was all for nothing, though, as he was also disqualified post-race for the same reason as Leclerc.

This wasn't an easy race for the reigning world champion. PHOTO FROM FORMULA 1

4. Brake issues plagued Verstappen. At this point in F1 history, fans have grown accustomed to seeing Max fly off in the lead right after the lights go out, leaving the rest of the field to fight for best of the rest. However, this race was a different story.

Not only did the Dutchman have to patiently work his way up the field, but he was also struggling with brake issues—so much so that he repeatedly complained about it on the radio and told his race engineer not to talk to him when he was braking. Still, that didn’t stop him from winning his 50th race in F1.

Lando Norris was able to create a sizable gap from the two Ferraris. PHOTO FROM FORMULA 1

5. Norris had a good race. With Verstappen starting in P6 and himself in P2, the McLaren driver seemed to have a good shot at winning the race—especially after a good start allowed him to take the lead from Leclerc.

Although the McLaren MCL60 was fast, the car was heavily affected by tire degradation due to the heat. So, there wasn’t much Norris could do when Hamilton and Verstappen eventually caught up to him.

However, the disqualification of the Mercedes-AMG driver resulted in Lando being promoted to P2—the same place where he started.

With four races left for the year, the next one will be the 2023 Mexican Grand Prix on October 29 (4am of October 30, Philippine time).

Leandro Mangubat

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