Brazil GP: Verstappen takes victory as Alonso snatches podium in photo finish

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Max Verstappen made it an incredible 17 wins in 2023 with victory in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

After an eventful start, the reigning world champion had the pace to hold off Lando Norris for the entire 71 laps at Interlagos.

Fernando Alonso claimed his first podium since Zandvoort in third after a tremendous battle with Sergio Perez in the closing laps.

Race Review

The drama began on the formation lap as second-placed Charles Leclerc crashed out at Ferradura with a hydraulics problem.

At the start, Verstappen held the lead into the Senna S ahead of Lando Norris, jumping up from sixth on the grid to second.

Lewis Hamilton also made a great start as the two Aston Martins dropped to fourth and fifth.

Further down, Alex Albon and the two Haas' made contact on the run to Turn 1, sending both Albon and Kevin Magnussen into the barriers, causing a red flag.

Oscar Piastri and Daniel Ricciardo also suffered rear wing damage as a result of the tangle but were able to repair it under the red flag.

Verstappen held the lead at the standing restart as Norris held off Hamilton into Turn 1.

Fernando Alonso got a run on the Mercedes down the back straight and made a bold move to claim third in the Aston Martin.

Behind, George Russell and Sergio Perez each made places on Lance Stroll, demoting the Canadian to seventh.

Norris went for an early attack on Verstappen but wasn't able to get ahead before Max began to increase the pace.

The action stabilised as a DRS train began to build behind Hamilton in fourth stretching down to Pierre Gasly in ninth.

Russell, frustrated behind his teammate, fell victim to Perez into Turn 1 before the Mexican also overtook Lewis a few laps later to run P4.

Mercedes opted to pit on consecutive laps allowing Hamilton to briefly undercut Checo, but the Red Bull quickly re-passed the seven-time world champion on track.

The Aston Martins followed with Stroll using his fresher mediums to overtake both Russell and Hamilton in quick succession.

Verstappen and Norris were able to wait until those behind had stopped to pit for tyres and retain P1 and P2 respectively with Max five seconds ahead.

Mercedes' decline continued as Sainz was next to pass the two Black Arrows, while Russell remained frustrated behind Hamilton.

Both were among the earliest to make their second stops but couldn't stop their slide as Yuki Tsunoda and Gasly breezed ahead.

Perez began to pressure Alonso for third place, but the Spaniard responded to keep the Red Bull at bay during the second round of pit stops.

The lead pair repeated the same trick of being the last to pit and remained out front but Norris waited a few laps later than Verstappen to try a late charge.

Despite some rapid pace, the McLaren was ultimately no threat to the Dutchman who claimed victory by eight seconds.

Perez's chase of Alonso was the main battle in the closing laps, with Checo appearing to have got the move done into Turn 1 on the penultimate lap.

But Fernando responded to snatch P3 back into Descida do Lago on the final lap and held on by 0.053s in a drag race to the finish. 

Stroll completed a great day for Aston Martin in fifth, followed by Sainz in sixth, Gasly in seventh and Hamilton in eighth.

Tsunoda gained two more points in ninth as Esteban Ocon completed the top 10 for Alpine.