6 Winners and 5 Losers from the USA – Who made an impression on American soil?
Max Verstappen fought his way to a 13th win in 14 races with a brilliant comeback drive at the Circuit of The Americas – and while there was also joy for some of his rivals, others left Austin very frustrated. We pick six winners and five losers from the United States Grand Prix.
Winner: Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen’s relentless run of form in 2023 continued in Austin as he followed up another Sprint win by chalking up one of the most impressive Grand Prix victories of his career.
Red Bull ran their car much higher than usual to accommodate for the bumps, so that eroded its usual performance advantage over the rest. Then he encountered a brake issue midway through the race, leading to a series of team radio messages that highlighted his stress and irritation.
But he still managed to fight back from sixth on the grid to secure the 50th victory of his career and 15th of the season, which ties his own single-season record set last year.
He’s also set a new record for most points scored in a season (464) with four Grands Prix to go. That points tally is more than the tally of Sergio Perez in second and Lewis Hamilton in third combined.
Loser: Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclerc was left to rue a wrong strategy that saw him drop from pole position to sixth at the flag, the Ferrari driver usurped by his team mate, both Red Bulls, a Mercedes and a McLaren.
Things went from bad to worse after the race, though, as he was disqualified after the FIA found the plank at the base of his Ferrari contravened the rules.
Though he finished third in the Sprint, this was his fifth non-score of the season in a Grand Prix, and saw him drop behind Lando Norris into seventh in the drivers’ championship, and 20 points behind team mate Carlos Sainz.
Winner: Sergio Perez
This was not Sergio Perez’s finest race weekend, the Mexican admitting he took the wrong direction with set-up that left him unable to challenge for a podium at the Circuit of The Americas.
And while he finished 18 seconds adrift of Verstappen in fifth, he was the beneficiary of a penalty for rival for P2 in the championship Lewis Hamilton.
It pushed him up to fourth in the classification, and with Hamilton losing the 18 points he had scored for second, Perez now has a healthy 39-point lead.
Loser: Lewis Hamilton
This was the closest Hamilton has come to victory all season, the Briton hunting down old foe Verstappen in the closing stages but running out of laps to ultimately launch a sustained attack.
On the road, it was a decision to attempt an ambitious one-stop strategy that cost Hamilton track position and the genuine chance to win – but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway, as Hamilton’s Mercedes failed an FIA inspection on the plank after the race.
He lost what would have been his sixth podium of the season, and while he can take pride from a P2 in the Sprint and the fact that Mercedes seem to be going in the right direction in terms of development, the prospect of snatching second in the drivers’ championship is looking increasingly unlikely.
Winners: Lando Norris
You get the sense Lando Norris isn’t far away from his first Grand Prix victory after another sparkling drive to third (which became second after the flag because of Hamilton’s DSQ) that earned him the Driver of the Day accolade.
The McLaren racer made a brilliant getaway to lead heading into Turn 1 and was composed as he controlled the pack at the front. Ultimately, the car didn’t have the pace to keep Verstappen and Hamilton behind, but a fourth successive podium remains a fine feat.
It was his sixth rostrum of the season, to move him up to sixth in the drivers’ standings, just 24 points behind fourth-placed Alonso – with former team mate Carlos Sainz in between those two.
Loser: Fernando Alonso
Speaking of Alonso, this was his most frustrating weekend of the season. Aston Martin went in the wrong direction with set-up, and that left them woefully off the pace through qualifying and Sprint Saturday.
The team hauled the cars out of parc ferme, which triggered a pit lane start, so they could make wholesale changes to the set-up and it paid off, with Alonso fighting back to run a very comfortable ninth.
However, he sustained floor damage that undid all that hard work and forced his first retirement of the season, leaving him just 12 points ahead of countryman Sainz in the drivers’ championship.
Another weekend and another podium for McLaren, the papaya team extending their rostrum streak to four successive races and providing further evidence that they are heading in the right direction with car development.
At the start of the season, McLaren were fighting to get out of Q1. Now they’re scoring at the same rate as rivals Red Bull. It’s a remarkable turnaround in form.
They have moved ahead of Aston Martin into fourth in the constructors’ championship and now set their sights on Ferrari, who are 80 points ahead. It’s a tough ask to catch them, but McLaren are trending the right way.
Loser: Esteban Ocon
Esteban Ocon was at a loss to explain why he lacked performance across the Austin Sprint weekend, the Frenchman outperformed by team mate Pierre Gasly, who scored in both the Sprint and the Grand Prix.
His retirement on Sunday, after contact with Oscar Piastri, yielded a sixth DNF of the season – the most of any driver – and ended his run of successive Grand Prix weekends in the points.
Winner: Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda delivered his most accomplished performance of the season to snatch the final points paying-position at the chequered flag.
That became eighth when Hamilton and Leclerc were disqualified, and he scored the bonus point for fastest lap, too, after pitting for softs on the last lap.
He became only the third Japanese driver to set the fastest lap in a Grand Prix, after Satoru Nakajima in Australia 1989 and Kamui Kobayashi in China 2012.
A haul of five points doubled AlphaTauri’s tally, and that moves them to within two points of Haas and six off Alfa Romeo.
Loser: Oscar Piastri
Oscar Piastri’s run of podiums came to an end in Austin as firstly the McLaren driver struggled with overheating tyres and damage on the front wing in the Sprint to drop out of the points.
On Sunday, his race lasted just 10 laps as he was forced to retire with damage sustained in an opening lap collision with Ocon. That was his third retirement of the season, with all three DNFs happening before Lap 13.
When the chequered flag fell, Williams looked like they would be leaving with nothing despite a strong showing from Alex Albon in 11th and the best showing of the season from Logan Sargeant in 12th.
But a brace of DQs for rivals promoted both into the points. This was Albon’s sixth top-10 of the season and Sargeant’s first point in F1 – and on home soil to boot.
The extra points help build a buffer of 10 points to Alfa Romeo in the fight for P7 in the constructors’ championship.