How the Mexican Grand Prix Resulted in a Podium for Ferrari

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz for Ferrari during the Mexican Grand Prix, 2023

For Ferrari this weekend was very intense and unexpected. In the race they then managed to collect a P3 and a P4. But let’s see this Ferrari weekend in Mexico in detail.

Ferrari Qualifying

The one of Mexican Grand Prix was an unexpected and action-packed qualifier. Nobody would have imagined Ferrari 1-2 on the starting grid, especially after the disappointing results in FP3, and the risk of being cut in Q2. A lot of investigations arrived, all of which were later canceled except for the one for Sargeant.

With 7 minutes remaining, Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo and Charles Leclerc occupied the first three positions in the time column respectively.  Due to the yellow flag caused by Alonso, none of the drivers had the opportunity to improve in the final minutes of Q1. In the second qualifying session, Carlos Sainz narrowly escaped, qualifying for Q3 with the ninth-fastest time.

Embed from Getty Images

1-2 for Ferrari

The heat was also the protagonist of these qualifying sessions. In fact, this caused some single-seaters to become unbalanced. At the end of Q3, the Reds of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were, unexpectedly, the fastest on the entire grid. It is the twenty-second career pole for the number 16, equaling Fernando Alonso.

The Ferrari drivers were struck by the clear improvement of the car from one moment to the next: “Pole? I didn’t think about it at all, I didn’t expect it” admitted Leclerc. Carlos Sainz, on the other hand, had more difficulties throughout the weekend. In fact, he admitted that he had had a very strange session. Despite this he then managed to take P2 in qualifying.

The clash between Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez

Embed from Getty Images

We all know how important a good start is, especially for those who start among the front. Even more so at the Mexican Grand Prix. With a long straight after the grid. Yet Ferrari’s, unfortunately, was not one of the best. At Turn 1, Perez attempted to go around the outside of pole sitter Leclerc, but the Ferrari was pinched with Max Verstappen on the outside. Due to this he had serious damage to the bottom and sides on the right side of his RB19.

This caused irreparable damage to Sergio Perez’s car, forcing him to retire. Due to this, Charles Leclerc‘s car was damaged. The left front end plate of the front wing came loose and began flapping before coming loose on the 5th lap. This proved a brief safety car.

A second unexpected Safety Car

The subsequent intervention of the Safety Car after Kevin Magnussen’s bad accident completely blocked the wings of the red number 16. This was because Leclerc had been called to the pits to change tires a few minutes earlier. After the red flag caused by Kevin Magnussen’s accident, Charles Leclerc set off again with the front wing repaired and white tyres.

However, this worsened Charles Leclerc’s feeling, causing him to slow down for the rest of the race, dropping below 1.22.8. Despite the small accident with Perez, he still managed to complete the race, obtaining a P3. His teammate, Carlos Sainz achieved a P4. Given the results of the race, which could have gone much worse, this was certainly a victory. A small breath of fresh air for Ferrari, especially after this disastrous season.

Perez-Leclerc: was it an avoidable clash?

During Turn 1, Leclerc was surrounded by Max on one side and Sergio on the other. In addition to having poor visibility, the Ferrari driver could do nothing. It was the overly optimistic way in which Perez approached Turn 1, which then took him off the track. Clearly, accidents can happen, caused by too much enthusiasm in wanting to win the Mexican Grand Prix.

Embed from Getty Images

This clash between Perez and Leclerc has caused a lot of friction among fans. In fact, after the match, during the interview with Charles Leclerc, several boos were heard from the Mexican fans. It is right to remember how unsportsmanlike this behavior is towards all drivers. Charles Leclerc is the most respectful of the grid, also defending the other drivers when there are episodes of disrespect towards them. The need to boo him, therefore, is as always unjustifiable. As sad as it is to see your favorite driver out of the race, you must always remember that respect comes first.