Lando Norris took the driver of the day with 26 percent of the vote at the 2023 Brazilian Grand Prix after an electric start gave him the platform he needed to record his seventh podium of the Formula 1 season.
He went on to finish eight seconds down on Max Verstappen, as the Dutchman dominated affairs once again, and was impressively 20 seconds ahead of Sergio Perez after 71 laps around Interlagos.
Whilst the wait for a first career win goes on for Norris, he and McLaren will no doubt be encouraged by their pace as they once again ran quite closely to Red Bull throughout the Sao Paulo race.
If they keep the progress up at this rate then it’s not impossible to see the papaya team winning races in 2024, or potentially even fighting for a championship.
“Good job everyone, amazing!,” Norris said on the radio after the race. “Good weekend, better start today, great pace all weekend.
“Can’t get a lot better, there’s just always one car in the way but very happy well done everyone!”
Perez and Alonso light-up a dull Brazilian GP
Outside of the formation lap crash for Charles Leclerc and an opening lap crash involving both Haas cars and Alex Albon, the Brazilian GP was quite tame compared to usual standards.
There was significant field spread and the most that happened was Perez came through the pack whilst both Mercedes cars shuffled back down the order after poor race pace.
Yet the Mexican and Spanish drivers turned up the heat in the dying embers of the race and breathed some fire back into the contest.
After making his final pit stop, Alonso and Perez were locked in a battle for the final podium spot that saw the 42-year-old use all of his defensive prowess and talent to hold back the faster Red Bull.
But on the penultimate lap, Perez finally seemed as though he had stolen a big podium for his season from Alonso after overtaking his rival down towards Turn 4 using DRS.
Alonso though, is known for his awareness and race craft, and kept the pressure up throughout the remainder of the lap to stick in DRS range and managed to mount a fight back.
As soon as he got a chance to do so, after Perez went too deep into Turn 1, Alonso was all over him and used DRS to get the place back into Turn 4 – where he had lost the spot the previous lap.
From there, they scrapped fiercely for 15 points and Alonso just managed to repel the Mexican in the final run to the line as his Aston Martin came home just 0.053 ahead, with Perez only needing a few hundred metres to have taken the podium spot back.