Charles Leclerc secured the second starting spot on Friday in São Paulo, but did not make it to the start of the Grand Prix after hydraulic problems. The race start did not go smoothly, with an incident between the Haas drivers and Alexander Albon, after which the FIA chose to stop the race.
Leclerc ended up in the same wall in turn six in 2022, after an incident caused by Lando Norris. This time the Ferrari driver was once again not at fault, and a problem with his SF-23 meant that he hit the tire stacks on the warm-up lap and was unable to take part in the start.
Start accident causes red flag
The chaos immediately continued at the start of the race. Verstappen was able to easily hold on to the lead after Leclerc dropped out, but behind him the drivers went four wide towards the first corner. From the third row, Norris and Lewis Hamilton got away much better than the Aston Martins on the second row. The McLaren driver flew from P6 to second place and followed Verstappen, with Hamilton as number three, ahead of Alonso.
Things went wrong in midfield. Nico Hülkenberg ended up in a sandwich with teammate Kevin Magnussen and Alexander Albon, after which the British Thai hit Magnussen and then also Oscar Piastri and Daniel Ricciardo. Of the four drivers, only Hülkenberg was able to continue his way. Piastri and Ricciardo made it to the pit lane, but both had a broken rear wing. The race management was forced to stop the race due to the chaos.
During the red flag situation, McLaren and AlphaTauri may attempt to repair the damage to their Australian drivers’ cars. If they succeed, they may still participate at the restart. At the restart, Verstappen will again start first, ahead of Norris, Hamilton, Alonso, Lance Stroll, and Sergio Pérez as number 7.