Max Verstappen beat Lando Norris for a second day running with a dominant victory at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix as Fernando Alonso snatched a podium from Sergio Perez on the last lap of the race. Verstappen led from start to finish after a chaotic opening part of the race where Charles Leclerc crashed on the formation lap, and the Grand Prix was red flagged due to a collision between Alex Albon, Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen at the first corner.
The Dutchman’s 17th win of the 2023 season was also his 52nd in Formula 1, which moves him ahead of Alain Prost to go fourth in the all-time Grand Prix winners’ list – only Sebastian Vettel (53), Michael Schumacher (91) and Lewis Hamilton (103) have more.
Alonso was back on the podium for the first time since the Dutch Grand Prix in August and delivered a defensive masterclass against Perez in a thrilling duel in the final 15 laps. Perez was in Alonso’s DRS for several laps, and eventually overtook the Aston Martin driver on the penultimate lap.
However, Alonso didn’t give up, and got back ahead on the last lap going into Turn Four, and held off Perez by 0.053s in a photo finish. Mercedes had a dismal day as Lewis Hamilton finished down in eighth and George Russell retired from a low points position.
Yuki Tsunoda recovered from 16th on the grid to take ninth and Esteban Ocon was in 10th. At the front though, it was a masterclass from Verstappen; although Norris did get alongside the three-time world champion at Turn Four on Lap Eight, that was as close as he got to the lead.
“The starts were very important today. Both of them were very good,” said Verstappen. “After that, the whole race was about the management of the tyres. We were good on any tyre, but I think especially that middle stint we could create a bit of a gap, and I thought that was very strong there. It all looked quite good, but with the high degradation around here, you were constantly correcting the car, so your focus always needed to be there, but luckily it worked out great today.”
Sao Paulo GP result:
1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
2) Lando Norris, McLaren
3) Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin
4) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
5) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin
6) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
7) Pierre Gasly, Alpine
8) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
9) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri
10) Esteban Ocon, Alpine