Max Verstappen recovered from sixth on the grid to take a nerve-wracking win at the 2023 Formula 1 US Grand Prix, as the Red Bull man held off a fast-approaching Lewis Hamilton and the McLaren of Lando Norris to claim his 50th Formula 1 race win.
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After a quiet start, Verstappen gradually picked off his rivals one by one in what was a tense Austin affair. He took the lead from Norris, who had earlier taken first place on the opening lap ahead of pole-sitter Charles Leclerc.
Hamilton, on new mediums, chased down Norris for second with a few laps to go and looked to close in on Verstappen for the win—in a reverse scenario of what happened in last year’s race where Verstappen chased down Hamilton for the win—but to no avail as he settled for second.
Norris held off the late advances of Carlos Sainz to take his fourth podium in a row, ahead of the other Red Bull, Sergio Perez, who overtook a very frustrated Leclerc late in the event to finish fifth.
Leclerc ended up sixth for Ferrari, with George Russell in seventh, as the Alpine of Pierre Gasly came home an impressive eighth. Lance Stroll recovered from a pit lane start to finish ninth for Aston Martin, as Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top 10 while also claiming a valuable point for AlphaTauri in the form of the fastest lap.
Alex Albon’s five-second time penalty for exceeding track limits did not cost him a position as he finished 11th, although he will be investigated after the race for multiple breaches of the same offence. The Thai racer was followed by his Williams teammate, Logan Sargeant, in 12th.
Nico Hulkenberg was the lead Haas on the day as he finished 13th, ahead of the Alfa Romeos of Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu, with his teammate, Kevin Magnussen, down in 16th. The returning Daniel Ricciardo was the last of the remaining runners for AlphaTauri.
There were three drivers who failed to see the chequered flag, as Fernando Alonso, Oscar Piastri, and Esteban Ocon all retired from the race due to issues with their respective cars.
Mario Isola, Motorsport Director, Pirelli:
On one of the most probing tracks of the season, we witnessed a very closely contested race, with exciting duels both on track and between the strategists. On the topic of strategy, the way the race played out confirmed that a two-stop was the quickest option, especially because the one-stop alternative would require very careful tyre management, thus making it difficult for a driver to push hard for many laps, while those on two stops were able to do so. That was the case with Leclerc, who, although he did not see a drop in performance towards the end due to degradation, found his pace was not strong enough to defend from several drivers who chose to pit twice.
Looking at tyre performance in general, the medium proved to be the most suitable compound because it offered more grip than the hard, but its degradation did not result in much slower lap times. The Soft was hardly used—only by AlphaTauri in the closing stages – and looking at Tsunoda’s performance, it showed it was a great tyre over a single flying lap, but not really an option over a long distance on this Austin track with today’s temperatures. Finally, it’s worth noting that even in the race, there was no graining.
How the race was won from the tyre point of view:
The vast majority of drivers preferred to start on the Medium tyres, the only exceptions being Lance Stroll and Nico Hulkenberg, who started on Hard from pit lane alongside their respective team-mates Fernando Alonso and Kevin Magnussen. As expected, the quickest strategy was a two-stop, running Medium and Hard. Two drivers tried to run the whole race, making just a single pit stop: Charles Leclerc, who extended his first stint to lap 23 before running the remaining 33 laps on a set of Hards, and Daniel Ricciardo, who, on lap 47, probably aborted his attempt to get to the chequered flag on the Hards, switching to Softs for the final laps. His AlphaTauri team-mate, Yuki Tsunoda, did the same, making a third stop on the penultimate lap, attempting and succeeding in taking the additional point on offer for setting the fastest race lap as he rounded off the top ten.
The next stop is Mexico City: the circuit named after the Rodriguez brothers will host the 20th race of this year’s Formula 1 World Championship from 27 to 29 October. The compounds available are C3 as P Zero White hard, C4 as P Zero Yellow medium and C5 as P Zero Red soft. This trio is, therefore, one step more delicate than those used last year.
2023 Formula 1 US Grand Prix Race Results
|1.||1||Max Verstappen||Netherlands||Red Bull Racing||1:35:21.362||25||466|
|DQ||44||Lewis Hamilton||Great Britain||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||+2.225s||0||201|
|2.||4||Lando Norris||Great Britain||Mclaren Racing||+10.730s||18||159|
|3.||55||Carlos Sainz||Spain||Scuderia Ferrari||+15.134s||15||171|
|4.||11||Sergio Perez||Mexico||Red Bull Racing||+18.460s||12||240|
|DQ||16||Charles Leclerc||Monaco||Scuderia Ferrari||+24.662s||0||151|
|5.||63||George Russell||Great Britain||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||+24.999s||10||143|
|6.||10||Pierre Gasly||France||Alpine F1 Team||+47.996s||8||56|
|7.||18||Lance Stroll||Canada||Aston Martin F1 Team||+48.696s||6||53|
|8.||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Japan||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+74.385s||5||8|
|9.||45||Alexander Albon||Thailand||Williams Racing||+86.714s||2||25|
|10.||2||Logan Sargeant||USA||Williams Racing||+87.998s||1||1|
|11.||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Germany||Haas F1 Team||+89.904s||0||9|
|12.||77||Valtteri Bottas||Finland||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||+98.601s||0||10|
|13.||24||Zhou Guanyu||China||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||+1 lap||0||6|
|14.||20||Kevin Magnussen||Denmark||Haas F1 Team||+1 lap||0||3|
|15.||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Australia||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+1 lap||0||0|
|NC||14||Fernando Alonso||Spain||Aston Martin F1 Team||+49.032s||DNF||183|
|NC||81||Oscar Piastri||Australia||McLaren Racing||+4.833s||DNF||83|
|NC||31||Esteban Ocon||France||Alpine F1 Team||+62.390s||DNF||44|
2023 Constructor Standings
|1.||Red Bull Racing||860|
|2.||Mercedes-AMG F1 Team||409|
|5.||Aston Martin F1 Team||280|
|6.||Alpine F1 Team||120|
|8.||Alfa Romeo Racing||16|
|10.||Haas F1 Team||12|
Here are the team-by-team highlights:Red Bull Racing
Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen reached a milestone of 50 Formula One Grand Prix wins with victory in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix. The Dutchman drove to glory over Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and McLaren’s Lando Norris, whilst team-mate Sergio Pérez rounded out the top five at the Circuit of the Americas.
However, Hamilton was later disqualified by race stewards for failing the plank wear inspection on his car (along with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc), promoting Norris up to second, Carlos Sainz to third and Pérez to fourth.
Starting from sixth place on the grid after having his fastest lap deleted for exceeding track limits during Friday’s Q3 session, Verstappen was chasing his third straight win at the Circuit of the Americas after wins at the Texas venue in 2021 and 2022.
Despited the difficult start position and a brake problem that affected the Dutchman from the very first lap of the 56-lap race, Verstappen drove with absolute precision to claim victory, despite a late charge from Hamilton that saw him finish just 2.225s adrift at the chequered flag.
Verstappen was clear that the brake issues made this one of his toughest races of the year, however the 2023 world champion managed the situation masterfully to secure his 15th race win of the season from 18 Grands Prix.
Verstappen has now already equalled his record for most wins in an F1 season, set in 2022, and with four Grands Prix still to go he has the chance to extend that record significantly.
After starting ninth on the grid, Sergio Pérez drove a strong race up through the field. His fifth at the finish was later converted into fourth after Hamilton’s disqualification and allowed the Mexican to extend his lead over the Brit in the fight for second place in the Drivers’ Championship ahead of his home Grand Prix next weekend.
Max Verstappen, Driver, Red Bull Racing
It feels incredible to win my 50th Grand Prix here in Austin. I’m very proud, of course, but I want to keep pushing for more. Starting in P6 today was interesting, I worked my way slowly through to the front. We didn’t have a massive pace advantage today and I was struggling with my brakes. I didn’t have the same feeling in the car as I did yesterday, so that made the race much tougher than anticipated. You could see it was very close at the end there. We had to rely on the strategy today and the team did a great job with that.
Sergio Pérez, Driver, Red Bull Racing:
I wanted more for today, obviously. At times we had really good pace, but we are still lacking that consistency. It was a hard race. The Ferrari seemed to have improved, but I also think we made a good step from yesterday. It was quite difficult to overtake, especially because the exit of Turn 11 was quite tricky, as it was very windy and rough over there. We had a few occasions where we could have undercut people, so I think we need to review that as a team. I think we know what we did wrong across the weekend, so we are really optimistic going into future races. We need to make sure we learn from this weekend as there are some good understandings to make for Mexico. There is a bit more pace in there and I am massively looking forward to my home Grand Prix.
CHRISTIAN HORNER – CEO and Team Principal, Red Bull Racing
Before the race, all our simulations were telling us that the two stop was the fastest race for us and that’s what we committed to. The debate was, “do we run the hard in the middle stint or the medium?” We knew going up against Lando Norris that they committed to the two hards, so we felt going medium, medium was the best strategy. It was crucial for Max to make use of that, get the pass, take the track position and then run our fastest race to the end of the race.
Max was dealing with a brake issue throughout the race, as I’m sure you could hear. It was tough for him and I think his focus was largely on that, although he was able to overcome any issues and bring home the victory. His half century. Another phenomenal achievement for Max.
“Checo also drove well. He’s had some tough races, but he had good pace today and I think he’ll take a lot of confidence from that. Hopefully that will put him in a good space before his home race next weekend. As all eyes turn to Mexico, we look forward to seeing what’s to come and what we can achieve.
Red Bull Racing Honda best pictures:
Strong podium finish taken away after Lewis challenged for victory at the Circuit of the Americas.
Firstly, congratulations to Max and Red Bull. They have done an incredible job all year long, they’ve dominated and been nearly flawless. We were catching them towards the end, though. I was hopeful that I could, but I just need a couple of more laps. There has been so much work to bring this upgrade here and it was difficult after the last race in Qatar. I really felt like I let the team down, so I had to go through such a deep process to get myself back to here. It’s one of those experiences of “it’s not how you fall, it’s how you get back up”. I came here in the mood to fight hard, felt great and I’m really happy with my performance.
Overall, we still didn’t perform optimally today. We had good pace and I was feeling great in the car. It was tough racing those around me as they were so quick, but we can be happy with many things. I feel positive as we’re moving forward, even if reflecting on it we could have possibly won today. It is of course disappointing to be disqualified post-race but that doesn’t take away from the progress we’ve made this weekend.
The race start really cost me today. I lost three positions and then, and I don’t know why, when we put the Hard tyre on, I was massively off the pace. I had to manage the lift and coast too and I was just dropping like a stone. When we put the Medium tyre on, suddenly we were amongst the quickest cars on the track. I closed over 10 seconds on Max (Verstappen) in that final stint. It’s disappointing when I definitely felt that there was the potential to fight for a podium.
The positive is that the car has improved. We have full focus on 2024 but we also know that the upcoming weekends should suit us more than here. We need to wait and see how we get on there. It’s been a scrappy weekend for me but I’m feeling excited and motivated for the final four races of the year.
Toto Wolff, Team Principal & CEO
We can take a lot of positives from the car performance today. We hate coming so close to winning and falling short. But this is a circuit where only a few races ago we wouldn’t have performed well because of the fast, sweeping corners. The upgrade seems to have made the car happier in those areas and it is working well. Directionally, it’s a very good sign.
Turning to the race result and the disqualification, set-up choices on a sprint weekend are always a challenge with just one hour of free practice – and even more so at a bumpy circuit like COTA and running a new package. In the end, all of that doesn’t matter; others got it right where we got it wrong and there’s no wiggle room in the rules. We need to take it on the chin, do the learning, and come back stronger next weekend.
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
We are of course naturally very disappointed to lose our podium finish. Unfortunately, it is one of the pitfalls of the sprint format where we have a solitary hour of running before parc fermé. Without running at a race fuel load in FP1, combined with a circuit as bumpy as this and the parts of the track where the drivers have to put the car during the Grand Prix, have contributed to the higher than expected wear levels. We will go away and learn from this but also take the positives from our experience as a whole.
Lewis had a very strong weekend, and it was exciting to see him closing in first on Lando and then Max, with a shot of winning the race. Unfortunately, we ran out of laps. In hindsight, it is easy to say that we should have covered Verstappen in the first round of stops. However, at the time the one-stop strategy still looked viable. If it had worked out, that would have put us in a very strong position to win. As always, we will analyse the race in the calm of the factory to see if a different strategy would have given us a better chance of the win. George had a lonelier race, suffering in the middle stint on the Hard tyre as he was having to save fuel. That contributed to the tyres not being at their optimum. He was much happier once on the Medium tyre in the final stint. He can take some encouragement from this for the remaining races.
We can afford to be cautiously optimistic that the step we have made will translate into future race. Both drivers felt the improvement and it is positive for our development trajectory for 2024. Whilst we are disappointed with the ultimate outcome today, we can be encouraged by the pace shown.
Mercedes-AMG F1 Team best pictures:Aston Martin Formula One Team
Lance recovers from the pitlane to the points at the 2023 Formula 1 US Grand Prix.
Despite both Lance and Fernando starting in the pitlane, we came away from Circuit of The Americas with more points. Lance finished Sunday’s race in P9 while Fernando made his way into the top 10 but had to retire with floor damage. Lance was later promoted to P7 after two drivers were disqualified for technical infringements. Brake problems put Lance on the back foot on Friday as he was limited to just five laps in Free Practice One. He qualified 19th for Sunday’s Grand Prix and Fernando qualified 17th. On Saturday, a brake issue ended Lance’s Sprint race early while Fernando finished 13th. Those issues also hampered our efforts to optimise our newly updated AMR23. As a result, we made set-up changes with the cars in parc fermé, which forced Lance and Fernando to start Sunday’s Grand Prix from the pitlane.
Both drivers made steady starts to the race: Lance on new Hard tyres and Fernando on used Mediums. They soon began to make their way through the field and both were in the top 10 by Lap 20. Soon after, Lance pitted for Mediums and was followed by Fernando – both drivers pulling off overtakes in the second stint of the race. The pair pitted with around 25 laps to go and made quick work of climbing back into the top 10. However, Fernando had to retire a few laps before the chequered flag with floor damage. Lance, on the other hand, scored six points in P7 and brought our tally up to 234 points.
Read what Fernando, Lance and Team Principal Mike Krack said on Sunday.
It was a great comeback race for us with a lot more pace in the AMR23. We were aiming to score some points having started from the pitlane, but, unfortunately, we had to retire with some damage. It’s a shame as during the race today we looked quite competitive. We collected a lot of useful data and comparisons on the two cars today that will be crucial heading into the remaining races.
Finishing ninth after starting from last in the pitlane is a positive result after a tough couple of days here at COTA. It’s good to be back in the points after some difficult races. The set-up changes we made to optimise the performance have definitely put us in the right direction; we were much more competitive today. I had good grip in the corners, especially once we fitted the Medium compound, and I was able to make a few good overtakes going into Turn 12. We’ll be working hard to take this momentum into Mexico next week
Mike Krack, Team Principal:
Scoring two points with Lance represents a good recovery when you consider everything that has happened this weekend, including starting from the pitlane with both cars. Lance managed his race well, looking after the tyres and delivering really competitive times, as well as making decisive overtakes. Fernando looked destined to score points too, until he picked up floor damage, which forced him to retire with just seven laps to go. We gathered valuable data on the latest updates today. That data will pay dividends for the upcoming races as we continue to tune the set-up of the AMR23. I want to thank everyone at the AMRTC in Silverstone and here in Austin for their efforts over recent weeks to get the new parts on the car. We look forward to getting back on track next weekend in Mexico.
Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team best pictures:
Scuderia Ferrari leaves the Circuit of the Americas with a fourth place and a sixth in the 2023 Formula 1 US Grand Prix courtesy of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, respectively. The team split the strategies: a two-stop for Carlos and a one-stop for Charles. The two-stopper proved to be the way to go and that allowed Carlos to drive an aggressive race. In the final 15 laps, Charles was vulnerable to attack and lost some places.
Two strategies. Charles did not get the best of starts from pole position, losing the lead to Lando Norris. Carlos meanwhile got off the line really well and moved up to third. Almost immediately, all the drivers, but especially the Ferrari pair, had to start managing degradation on the Medium tyre. Sainz stopped on lap 17 to switch to a new set of Mediums, while Charles did a good job of extending his stint to lap 23, when he switched to Hards, in line with the team’s decision to go for just one pit stop. The choice did not pay off and in the final quarter of the race, Charles was struggling with severe lack of pace which saw him drop down to sixth place while fighting tooth and nail to fend off George Russell. As for Carlos, he moved up the order, running a consistent pace and pulling off a nice passing move on Russell for fourth place. In the closing stages, the Spaniard was one of the quickest cars on track and even closed in on Norris hoping to battle for third place.
Mexico. Now, attention turns to the next round, the Mexico City Grand Prix, next weekend at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
Carlos Sainz #55
I think today’s result was the best we could do. The pace was decent and solid throughout the race and we even closed the gap to the car in P3 during the last laps. Unfortunately the competitors ahead were faster and we couldn’t quite reach them.
We are not where we want to be and we knew it was going to be a tough one, but now we need to quickly switch our focus to Mexico and prepare for next week.
Charles Leclerc #16
It’s fair to say that we didn’t go with the right strategy today. On paper, our numbers said that the one and two-stop strategies were very similar, but in reality, this was not the case. I felt good in the car all weekend and our race pace wasn’t bad, so it’s a shame that we didn’t bring home a better result.
We have to use the rest of this season to learn as much as possible and make sure we extract the maximum out of every opportunity in the future.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
We cannot be happy with a fourth and a sixth place, especially as Charles started from pole position. As for Carlos, the race management went quite well, while the main problem today was with Charles’ strategy, decided on before the start, but which did not work out and therefore compromised his race. Our data suggested that there was not a particularly big difference between a one and a two-stop strategy, but events proved us wrong.
As things worked out, we clearly had to switch our drivers’ positions to try and get the best result possible and Charles did his very best in managing to stay ahead of Russell. Now we head to Mexico, knowing there are several areas where we need to improve if we wish to reach the goals we have set ourselves.
Scuderia Ferrari best pictures:McLaren Racing
Hear from McLaren F1 drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri and Team Principal Andrea Stella after the 2023 Formula 1 US Grand Prix.
It was great to be leading the race at the start. I could control the race a lot but it just wasn’t enough today. However, I’m happy, it was a good race from my side. We knew what was going to be difficult today, which was the degradation, but the pace over the first ten laps of every stint was strong. We’re getting there. We’re making progress every weekend, just a few more steps needed. To finish on the podium here was better than we were expecting, coming into the weekend. So overall, very happy.
It’s a shame to have had to retire the car after only 10 laps. We had a good start and made up a few places but had a water leak that unfortunately ended our race. It’s not been the easiest weekend, but there’s been a lot of learnings. We took a step forward from yesterday and did improve but not to the level I want to be at. These are character building weekends that are very important in my first season, so we’ll take from it what we can and bounce back in Mexico next week..
Another strong result for McLaren, which makes it four podiums in a row. It came in a race where we tried to go for the victory. We pushed hard with Lando and potentially paid a price in terms of consistency in the stints, but this doesn’t change the final result. It’s encouraging to be competitive in a track that we didn’t expect to suit our package.
“It’s a real shame what happened on Oscar’s side, because we could have finished with really strong points. Unfortunately, his race ended after making contact on Lap One, damaging the cooling system and causing the engine to overheat. Before that he’d made great progress through the field. Up to that point, despite damage to the car, the pace today was much better, so we are pleased with the improvement we have been able to make on Oscar’s side and we will bounce back in Mexico.
McLaren Racing’s best pictures:Alpine F1 Team
BWT Alpine F1 Team scored four points from the 2023 Formula 1 US Grand Prix after Pierre Gasly’s eighth-place finish at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Esteban Ocon was forced to retire from the race on lap seven after suffering heavy contact on the opening lap, which significantly damaged his A523.
Esteban made a strong start off the line, gaining a number of places up the hill into Turn 1. On the run down to Turn 2, Esteban was caught in a racing incident with Oscar Piastri on the outside, coming into contact with the McLaren, which brought damage to his left sidepod and floor. As a result, with Esteban falling to the back of the pack, he retired on lap seven.
Pierre dropped to tenth at the end of the opening lap before climbing his way to eighth as a result of Esteban’s and Piastri’s retirements. After two pit-stops, Pierre had to keep his cool to fend off the hard charging Aston Martins in the closing stages, finishing eighth place at the chequered flag to add to his two points from Saturday’s Sprint. Next up for the team is the Mexico City Grand Prix where Reserve Driver Jack Doohan will take over driving duties in Car #10 in Free Practice 1.
It’s been a very unfortunate Sunday for us today in Austin. It feels like there’s been quite a few of those this year, which has really cost us. It’s a pity as we had a good starting position for today’s race and once again made up a few places with a strong launch and good opening corner. Unfortunately, there was then contact with Oscar [Piastri] and the damage to our floor was too severe to continue. There are some positives to take from our weekend and a lot to review as well. Mexico City is just around the corner and I know we will bounce back as a team.
I’m feeling very pleased with today’s result and, I must say, it’s probably been our most complete weekend of the season so far with two strong Qualifying results and points from both races. We fell back a couple of positions at the start today, but I knew the pace of the car was good and we were able to keep it clean and fight our way forwards. Of course, we want to be fighting close to the front but this weekend has definitely been better for us where we have been able to extract the maximum from it. Operationally it was smooth and that’s very satisfying for all of us at the team. Now our focus is on Mexico City and delivering another solid weekend.
Bruno Famin, Interim Team Principal:
Overall it’s been a mixed Sunday for the team with Pierre in the points and Esteban unfortunately retiring from the race and therefore unable to show his potential. The car has been competitive – enough to compete for points on both days – so it is frustrating not to have both drivers in the fight for the top ten today. Esteban made a good start off the line and Pierre drove a strong race to finish in eighth and claim deserved points. This race marks the first of the triple header, we are already looking forward to Mexico City where we aim to continue our points-scoring run and having Jack [Doohan] in the car during Free Practice 1.
Alpine F1 Team best pictures:Williams Racing
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
Williams F1 Team best pictures:Haas F1 Team
MoneyGram Haas F1 Team finished the United States Grand Prix – Round 19 of the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, with Nico Hulkenberg 11th and Kevin Magnussen 14th at the Circuit of The Americas.
MoneyGram Haas F1 Team retains ninth position in the Constructors’ Championship.
I think the race was better because of the changes we made. It still wasn’t enough though, we weren’t fast enough, and we finished in the position we started in from the pitlane, so we need to find more, but we live to fight another day. It felt better today after having done the changes, putting more downforce on and it was definitely a better set-up.
The car felt better and I think the relative performance looked a lot more promising than yesterday but it came at a price, having to start from the pitlane. I feel like if we had a half decent qualifying and qualified in the midfield, we might’ve been able to fight and challenge for points today. There are some positives and encouraging signs, but at the same time it was difficult out there with a lot of tire management going on, but that was the case for everyone.
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal:
It was a tough race, but obviously it was the right decision to start from the pitlane with the modifications to the downforce level. We learned quite a bit and hopefully we can look into the data and get a little bit better in Mexico. It’s not a magic solution that we’ve got now, but some of the comments from Kevin and Nico were encouraging, so let’s hope we can get closer to what is possible with the car in Mexico.
Haas F1 Team best pictures:
Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake couldn’t convert its qualifying positions into points at the United States Grand Prix, as Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu finished 14th and 15th respectively at the Circuit of the Americas. Both drivers were involved in battles from lights to flag, but the top ten remained elusive.
Today’s result leaves the team in eighth place in the constructors’ championship; the team will now move to Mexico, for the second part of the triple header in the Americas.
Valtteri Bottas (car number 77):
We gave everything out there today: strategy-wise, we did everything right, but unfortunately we just lacked pace throughout the weekend compared to our direct competitors. The bumpiness of the track also played a factor in our performance, as we had to run our car slightly higher than we wanted and thus sacrificed some downforce, which did not allow us to extract the most from our upgrades. As a slight positive, our direct competitors didn’t score many points either today, which leaves the battle for seventh in the championship still open. I am looking forward to heading to Mexico in just a couple of days: last year the track suited our car well, and that hopefully will allow us to quickly get back in competitive form.
Zhou Guanyu (car number 24):
We seemed to have a better car at the start of the weekend, especially after changing the setup after FP1, but in the end we couldn’t hold the positions we had claimed on Friday. Unfortunately, we just didn’t have enough pace to keep up with our direct competitors. I felt like I was lacking grip, and overall I haven’t really been able to get in the mix. I think this race has been quite tricky on our end, due to a lot of degradation; we will surely need to analyse what exactly happened this weekend, but I have the feeling that, whatever we could have changed in terms of tyres or strategy today, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference. Now, we will quickly regroup, and hopefully make a strong comeback next week in Mexico.
Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative:
This weekend has been a tough one for our team: we lost ground throughout the sessions, and we will need to analyse everything in detail to quickly understand what didn’t work for us. The car balance on all tyre compounds just wasn’t there today, and that made both attacking and defending a difficult task for our drivers. Both Valtteri and Zhou drove a clean race, even though that wasn’t sufficient to advance through the field and score some points. There is quite a lot of work ahead of us over the next few days, before we head to Mexico for the second stage of this American triple header: I am confident that, with different track conditions, we’ll be able to quickly get back to the pace we had shown over the last couple of races, and get more chances to climb our way into the top ten again.
Alfa Romeo F1 Team best pictures:Scuderia AlphaTauri
Points were also scored for Scuderia AlphaTauri at the 2023 Formula 1 US Grand Prix, courtesy of Yuki Tsunoda.
The Japanese driver started 11th and battled hard all race to secure 10th place at the finish and score his first points since the Belgian Grand Prix in July, while team-mate Daniel Ricciardo came home in 17th on his return to racing after five Grands Prix on the sidelines with a broken hand.
Texas hasn’t been too kind. At the start, we were doing well with our plan, but the problem was once the cars with blue flags came up behind us, we lost too much. We seemed to struggle in traffic and then picked up some damage later on, so after that we lacked pace. On the medium compound, we were doing the same lap times as Yuki, but because I was on a one-stop, there was a bit more tyre management going on for me. Physically, I feel better today than yesterday, so the Sprint race was a good warmup for the Grand Prix. I got more race mileage and there’s a lot to learn from this race, so now it’s full attack for Mexico.
It was a good race for me and I’m happy. To score points here three times in a row is amazing, especially in front of the Austin fans. A great job and congratulations to the team. Everyone back at the factory and trackside are working very hard and it’s nice to see that the upgrades they deliver seem to be working well and we’re closing the gap to fight for P10. We got slightly lucky with Fernando (Alonso) in the end, but we maximised the performance, because if we weren’t driving there, we wouldn’t have been able to benefit and score points.
At first, I got a heart attack when the team called me in to box, because I thought there was an issue, but they told me we were going for the fastest lap on the soft tyre. It was my first experience going for the fastest lap in the final lap of the race and I really enjoyed it, it was thrilling. Now, we’ll refocus and continue to carry this momentum into the final races of this season.
JODY EGGINTON – Technical Director
Today’s race has been a busy one, but we achieved the objective of scoring points and there was not much left on the table, so we’re satisfied. Yuki ran a very good first stint, consuming his tyres well and not letting Gasly get too far ahead. His middle stint on the hard compound was a little more difficult, but again, he managed his tyres well. Then, after the second stop back to the medium compound, it was a case of going flat out to try to keep in touch with the Aston Martins, who were quicker in this phase of the race. Once we had the gap to Albon, the pit wall made a very good call to try to go for the fastest lap and grab the extra point on offer, which was a nice bonus today. Daniel’s race was more difficult later on, but he also put in a very well-managed first stint, opening up strategy options for him. However, soon after his first stop he picked up damage to brake duct parts, resulting in a significant loss of aero load and aero balance, meaning he was unable to run at the pace he was capable of and fell back into the chasing pack. Later on, we took the gamble to stop and try to resolve the issue in case of a late race Safety Car. Although we improved the car balance at the stop, the race finished without incidents, providing no opportunity to move him forward.
Overall, the car has worked quite well here in Austin and we have been in the fight for and scored points, which is a positive. However, we need to continue to execute solid weekends, to be able to capitalise on this in the coming races, so there is a lot to still work on. With the event being the first of three Grands Prix weekends, there will be a very intense period of detailed analysis to ensure we take the relevant learning into next weekend’s race in Mexico.