Players paid $10k to give away yellow cards in A-League games, police allege

Macarthur FC captain Ulises Dávila is one of three players from the A-League side who have been charged over an alleged betting scandal.

The NSW Police Organised Crime Squad Gaming Unit launched an investigation into the alleged manipulation of yellow cards during football games for gambling purposes.

Police will allege detectives discovered midfielder Mr Dávila, 33, had been allegedly taking instructions from a man — believed to be in South America — to organise yellow cards to occur during certain points in A-League games.

Three players have been charged with numerous offences.(Supplied: NSW Police)

The alleged offending occurred during games between November 24 and December 9 last year.

Mr Dávila received a yellow card during Macarthur FC’s game against Melbourne Victory on November 24 and another yellow card during his side’s match against Sydney FC on December 9.

Failed attempts to allegedly control the number of cards issued during games happened between April 20 and May 4 this year.

Players paid $10k for yellow card, police allege

Detectives executed five search warrants across Sydney this morning, arresting Mr Dávila in South Coogee.

A footballer sat on the ground with a ball at his feet

Ulises Dávila was arrested by detectives in South Coogee on Friday morning.(AAP: Jeremy Ng)

Police will allege a senior player paid junior players $10,000 for giving away yellow cards, acting under instruction of an organised crime figure in South America.

Assistant Commissioner Fitzgerald said the money was insignificant compared to the impact the actions of these players has had on the integrity of the game.

“We will allege that the giving out of four yellow cards and the subsequent penalties that arose out of those yellow cards could in fact change the way that result of that game went,” he said.

“While $10,000 may seem a lot of money to a young sportsperson, we will advise that is incredibly insignificant when you consider the damage that being charged with this offence and conviction results in.

“We will allege that these instance in November and December 2023, that these players betrayed the trust of their supporters.”

Police said in addition to the three players arrested this morning, they are looking for another player who is currently out of the state.

Betting done ‘predominantly in South America’

NSW Police State Crime Command’s Organised Crime Squad Detective Superintendent Peter Faux said investigators had not identified any betting in Australia, but “predominantly in South America”.

“There’s multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars being paid out in respect to the game we are alleging this occurred in,” he said.

Police officers outside a house

Police executed five warrants across Sydney this morning.(Supplied: NSW Police)

Superintendent Faux said he wanted to make it clear that there was currently no other evidence or indication that any other club within the A-League is involved.

Mr Dávila has been charged with a number of offences, including two counts of engage in conduct that corrupts a betting outcome of an event.

A 27-year-old player from Parramatta and a 32-year-old player from West Hoxton have also been charged with offences, including participate in a criminal group.

All three have been granted bail to appear in court at a later date.

Mr Dávila plays as an attacking midfielder and is the first Mexican to sign with English Premier League club Chelsea in 2011, and has previously played for Wellington Phoenix.

He recently signed on for another two years at Macarthur FC.

Club ‘shocked by arrests’

Macarthur FC said in a statement the club was “shocked” by the arrests

“Integrity of our game is a foundation pillar and we will work closely with all relevant agencies on this matter,” the club said.

Detectives from the organised crime squad are working with the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, Sports Integrity Australia, Football Australia, Australian Professional Leagues and the NSW Crime Commission.

The investigation is ongoing.

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Christian Horner and Red Bull expect 2024 F1 field to ‘converge’ after record-breaking Max Verstappen season

Max Verstappen and Red Bull were utterly dominant in F1 2023; Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin are all looking to get closer next year after each challenging at different points in the season; watch the whole 2024 F1 season live on Sky Sports F1

Last Updated: 04/12/23 5:11pm


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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says his team are ‘aiming for the stars’, but admits they must be realistic in their expectations in 2024.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says his team are ‘aiming for the stars’, but admits they must be realistic in their expectations in 2024.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner expects the 2024 Formula 1 field to close up after his team’s record-breaking campaign this year.

Max Verstappen won an unprecedented 19 races from 22 events, a winning percentage of 86 per cent, and Red Bull finished one-two in the Drivers’ Championship for the first time.

The Milton Keynes-based team failed to win just one race, the Singapore Grand Prix which saw Carlos Sainz take victory, and Verstappen was often unchallenged on some weekends.

Since F1 introduced new ground effect regulations in 2022, Red Bull have won every championship and their dominance began in the middle of that season after Ferrari’s early title challenge faded away.

Ferrari were the team closest to Red Bull at the end of 2023 but McLaren, Mercedes and Aston Martin also got close at various points across the year.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner expects their rivals to be more competitive next season and insists his team cannot afford to stand still.

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Red Bull boss Christian Horner expects their rivals to be more competitive next season and insists his team cannot afford to stand still.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner expects their rivals to be more competitive next season and insists his team cannot afford to stand still.

“Nobody stands still. We’ve got a great basis, so it’s more evolution [of the car] than revolution. But I’m sure it’s going to converge a bit next year, so we can’t rest on our laurels,” Horner told Sky Sports News at the Autosport Awards.

“They [competitors] are all great teams. McLaren’s form at the back end of the season, Ferrari, Mercedes. Those big teams are going to be coming out all guns blazing next year.”

Wolff confirms ‘completely new car’ for Mercedes

Karun Chandhok, Ted Kravitz and Bernie Collins discuss which drivers impressed the most this season beyond Max Verstappen.

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Karun Chandhok, Ted Kravitz and Bernie Collins discuss which drivers impressed the most this season beyond Max Verstappen.

Karun Chandhok, Ted Kravitz and Bernie Collins discuss which drivers impressed the most this season beyond Max Verstappen.

Mercedes finished runners-up to Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship but went winless in a season for the first time since 2011.

Lewis Hamilton hasn’t won since December 2021 at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and played down his chances to challenge for the title next year.

There was a glimmer of hope for Mercedes when Hamilton took pole position in Hungary and showed strong pace in the second half of the season but Toto Wolff feels his team have a big deficit to close.

Ted Kravitz, Bernie Collins and Karun Chandhok look back at their favourite races of the season.

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Ted Kravitz, Bernie Collins and Karun Chandhok look back at their favourite races of the season.

Ted Kravitz, Bernie Collins and Karun Chandhok look back at their favourite races of the season.

“A new season starts with a completely new car, and that gives opportunities but also risks,” said Wolff.

“I think we’ve got to be realistic. We are aiming for the stars, but we finished only second against a team who was outperforming everybody else.

“I’ve always said this is a meritocracy and the best driver and car wins. Therefore, we have to get our act together, and I hope it’s us [to put Red Bull under pressure].”

What are McLaren’s chances?

McLaren boss Zak Brown is hoping for a strong start to the new season as they aim to narrow the gap on the Red Bulls in 2024.

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McLaren boss Zak Brown is hoping for a strong start to the new season as they aim to narrow the gap on the Red Bulls in 2024.

McLaren boss Zak Brown is hoping for a strong start to the new season as they aim to narrow the gap on the Red Bulls in 2024.

McLaren made remarkable progress throughout 2023 after starting the season as one of the worst cars in terms of pace at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

A big upgrade ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix in July saw them leap up the pecking order and Lando Norris led the early stages of the British GP on home soil at Silverstone.

Norris’ four consecutive podiums and Oscar Piastri’s Sprint win in Qatar have given McLaren plenty of hope to continue their upward curve into 2024.

Relive the 10 most dramatic crashes from this year's Formula One season.

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Relive the 10 most dramatic crashes from this year’s Formula One season.

Relive the 10 most dramatic crashes from this year’s Formula One season.

“We hope to start the season where we finished off. It’ll be interesting to see where everybody starts next year, but we’re feeling good about our development,” said McLaren CEO Zak Brown.

“I think we learned a lot this year, so I anticipate a much stronger start to 2024 than we had in 2023.”

Piastri’s impressive rookie campaign and Norris’ consistency has made McLaren a genuine force again for the first time in over a decade.

Brown thinks the team have a driver pairing which can challenge for the title.

Ted Kravitz and Karun Chandhok discuss Max Verstappen's dominance of the 2023 F1 season.

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Ted Kravitz and Karun Chandhok discuss Max Verstappen’s dominance of the 2023 F1 season.

Ted Kravitz and Karun Chandhok discuss Max Verstappen’s dominance of the 2023 F1 season.

“I think he [Oscar Piastri] already is [challenging Lando Norris], which is great to have the driver line-up that we have,” Brown said.

“We look at what we need to be a world championship team again, you need to have two great drivers, and we’re comfortable we can tick that box.

“It’s weird, on Max’s [Verstappen] level, there’s never been a less competitive season, but behind Max, there’s never been a more competitive season. The grid was unbelievably close.

“We had five teams with seven or more podiums, which is a record. So there was one car which was uncompetitive with the rest of the field, and the rest of the field is unbelievably competitive. I’m not worried about that.”

24 races in 2024! Watch every round of next season live on Sky Sports F1, starting with the Bahrain Grand Prix from February 29-March 2. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW



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Formula 1 driver ratings: Ranking the 2023 grid, with Max Verstappen and Lando Norris among the stars


With 22 rounds in the books and a world champion long-crowned, it’s time to rate the drivers for their performances in the 2023 Formula 1 season.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull: 10

Championship position: 1st – 575 points

Max Verstappen wins yet another Grand Prix to close the curtain on the 2023 F1 season

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Max Verstappen wins yet another Grand Prix to close the curtain on the 2023 F1 season

Max Verstappen wins yet another Grand Prix to close the curtain on the 2023 F1 season

There may never be another season quite as dominant as what Verstappen has delivered in claiming a third successive world championship, setting record win, point and podium totals in the process.

After two wins in the first four races of the season for Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez, the Dutchman went on to make talk of a title race between the Red Bull pair look absurd, reeling off 17 victories in the remaining 18 Grands Prix.

While the RB19 was undoubtedly the best car on the grid, Verstappen’s incredible dominance of Perez – and the rest of the field – required remarkable consistency.

The 26-year-old displayed a growing maturity to handle wet and chaotic races throughout the campaign, many of which could have easily been lost by a mistake or moment of poor judgement.

Verstappen’s near-faultless campaign has established him as a complete driver, who now rightfully sits among the greats of the sport with three titles.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull: 5.5

Championship position: 2nd – 285 points

A dramatic opening lap of the Mexico City GP sees Charles Leclerc collide with Sergio Perez, with the Mexican having to retire

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A dramatic opening lap of the Mexico City GP sees Charles Leclerc collide with Sergio Perez, with the Mexican having to retire

A dramatic opening lap of the Mexico City GP sees Charles Leclerc collide with Sergio Perez, with the Mexican having to retire

It all started so brightly with those two wins in the first four races, but unfortunately, the prospect of going toe-to-toe with Verstappen for a full campaign got in Perez’s head.

After failing to seize a world championship lead when being comprehensively outperformed by Verstappen in the fifth race of the season in Miami, the Mexican’s campaign completely fell apart.

The next five races were five of the nine occasions when he failed to make it through to the final part of qualifying, a completely unacceptable figure given the RB19’s speed advantage, particularly at that stage of the season.

Perez would complain that the car had been developed away from his driving style, but would eventually come under major pressure with a first-corner crash at his home race in Mexico only heightening speculation that Red Bull could choose to replace him a year before the end of his contract.

Ultimately, the fact that he held onto second to secure Red Bull’s first ever one-two in the drivers’ championship, with a relatively consistent finish to the campaign, has likely guaranteed he will at least start the 2024 season as Verstappen’s team-mate.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes: 7.5

Championship position: 3rd – 234 points

Lewis Hamilton pips Max Verstappen to claim a record ninth pole position at the Hungaroring

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Lewis Hamilton pips Max Verstappen to claim a record ninth pole position at the Hungaroring

Lewis Hamilton pips Max Verstappen to claim a record ninth pole position at the Hungaroring

2023 was something of a bounce-back campaign for the seven-time world champion, as he overcame the disappointment of being given another uncompetitive car to largely get the most out of the W14.

Having been notably outscored by George Russell in 2022 in their first season as team-mates, Hamilton dispelled any notion that – at the age of 38 – his powers are waning.

While he has now gone two full seasons without a victory, Hamilton did at least manage to add to his record pole position tally with a memorable lap in Hungary.

After dismissing rumours of a blockbuster switch to Ferrari, Hamilton signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him in the sport until the end of 2025.

While he couldn’t quite chase down Perez for second in the drivers’ standings, Hamilton showed more than enough to suggest that if Mercedes can finally master F1’s current era of design regulations, he is more than capable of challenging Verstappen.

George Russell, Mercedes: 6

Championship position: 8th – 175 points

George Russell crashes out on the final lap of a thrilling Singapore Grand Prix as Carlos Sainz holds on to win, with Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton completing the top three

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George Russell crashes out on the final lap of a thrilling Singapore Grand Prix as Carlos Sainz holds on to win, with Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton completing the top three

George Russell crashes out on the final lap of a thrilling Singapore Grand Prix as Carlos Sainz holds on to win, with Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton completing the top three

Having hardly put a foot wrong in his superb debut campaign with Mercedes, Russell’s 2023 season couldn’t have been in much greater contrast.

While he was rarely far off Hamilton’s pace, a combination of misfortune with reliability and some unnecessary errors saw Russell finish 59 points back from his team-mate.

The Brit’s bold approach is admirable and entertaining but three five-second penalties and a late crash to give up a podium finish in Singapore hinted at some poor decision-making.

Russell did end the season on a positive note, claiming a crucial podium in Abu Dhabi to keep Mercedes ahead of Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship.

In 2024, Russell must reaffirm his status as Hamilton’s successor as the leader of the team, with what seemed like a formality 12 months ago not quite so certain now.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari: 7.5

Championship position: 5th – 206 points

Charles Leclerc is on pole after a brilliant performance in Las Vegas, team-mate Carlos Sainz is second in Q3 but will drop down to 12th on the grid due to his penalty

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Charles Leclerc is on pole after a brilliant performance in Las Vegas, team-mate Carlos Sainz is second in Q3 but will drop down to 12th on the grid due to his penalty

Charles Leclerc is on pole after a brilliant performance in Las Vegas, team-mate Carlos Sainz is second in Q3 but will drop down to 12th on the grid due to his penalty

It’s been something of a season of two halves for the Monegasque.

He endured a miserable start with two retirements in the first three races, along with some surprising qualifying struggles, leaving him to play catch up.

Leclerc was second only to Verstappen in claiming five pole positions, with three in a span of four races towards the end of the season providing a reminder of his prodigious one-lap speed.

While Leclerc has a remarkable active streak of 12 starts from pole without a win, he appeared to have every chance of ending it in Las Vegas until an unfortunately timed Safety Car handed the advantage to Red Bull.

Another strong showing in Abu Dhabi rounded off a hugely consistent end to the campaign, which suggested he is ready to take the fight to Verstappen if Ferrari can provide a car capable of challenging.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari: 7.5

Championship position: 7th – 200 points

Carlos Sainz reflects on a hard-fought win in Singapore and thanks Lando Norris for holding the Mercedes off at the end!

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Carlos Sainz reflects on a hard-fought win in Singapore and thanks Lando Norris for holding the Mercedes off at the end!

Carlos Sainz reflects on a hard-fought win in Singapore and thanks Lando Norris for holding the Mercedes off at the end!

The only non-Red Bull driver to win a 2023 race, Sainz produced a campaign that further dispelled the notion that he is merely a solid number two option to Leclerc.

The smooth-operating Spaniard’s win in Singapore was the clear highlight of his season, as he showed incredible race-craft and composure to keep Lando Norris’ McLaren within DRS range behind him to create a buffer to the faster Mercedes cars behind them in the closing stages.

The victory in Singapore came after a second successive pole position, the first of which he converted into a podium finish at Monza following a remarkable late scrap with Leclerc in front of the Tifosi.

Sainz – along with most of the grid – is never going to have the raw pace of the incredibly fast Leclerc, but his ability to manage a race, sometimes overruling questionable calls from the Ferrari pit wall, is proving to be an equaliser.

If there was a criticism it would be that there were a few too many crashes, with a crucial one in Abu Dhabi practice playing a key factor in Ferrari failing to top Mercedes in the constructors’ standings.

Lando Norris, McLaren: 8.5

Championship position: 6th – 205 points

Lando Norris leads the British GP after the opening lap, having overtaken Max Verstappen

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Lando Norris leads the British GP after the opening lap, having overtaken Max Verstappen

Lando Norris leads the British GP after the opening lap, having overtaken Max Verstappen

Somewhat regrettably for Norris, he ends the 2023 season having reinforced his standing as the best driver on the grid without a race win.

Once McLaren sorted out the MCL60 with some major upgrades at the ninth race of the season in Austria, Norris was comfortably the highest points scorer behind Verstappen.

The Brit reeled off seven podiums, with perhaps his most memorable display of the season coming at Silverstone as he took the lead from Verstappen at the start before holding off Hamilton for second in a thrilling battle.

However, he was ultimately left frustrated as a win continued to evade him, regularly chastising himself for failing to produce a perfect lap in qualifying when pole had been there for the taking.

A huge crash in Las Vegas brought his only retirement of the season, but Norris’ campaign left no doubt that it is merely a matter of time until he joins the winners’ circle.

Oscar Piastri, McLaren: 7.5

Championship position: 9th – 97 points

Oscar Piastri holds his nerve to claim his first Sprint win as Max Verstappen finishes second to secure his third world title

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Oscar Piastri holds his nerve to claim his first Sprint win as Max Verstappen finishes second to secure his third world title

Oscar Piastri holds his nerve to claim his first Sprint win as Max Verstappen finishes second to secure his third world title

Adding to Norris’ frustration was the fact that McLaren’s only (Sprint) win of the season came from his rookie team-mate.

Having claimed a first Grand Prix podium a round earlier in Japan, Piastri converted Sprint pole to victory in Qatar to punctuate a very impressive debut campaign.

The fact that the victory came on the same day Verstappen sealed the title may even have suited the understated 22-year-old.

Piastri clearly struggles to match the tyre management on Norris over a full-distance race, and improving in that area should be his main focus during the winter.

However, the fact McLaren extended his contract midway through the season tells you everything you need to know about what the team made of his driving.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin: 8.5

Championship position: 4th – 206 points

Fernando Alonso just pips Sergio Perez to a podium spot after an epic battle in the final stages of the race

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Fernando Alonso just pips Sergio Perez to a podium spot after an epic battle in the final stages of the race

Fernando Alonso just pips Sergio Perez to a podium spot after an epic battle in the final stages of the race

The feel-good story of the season, or at least the first half of it, was Alonso’s return to prominence with Aston Martin.

Many eyebrows were raised when the Spaniard, in a season during which he would turn 42, opted to join the team that had finished seventh in 2022 constructors’ standings.

However, they began the season as Red Bull’s nearest challenger, with Alonso rolling back the years to take six podiums in the first eight races.

He came up agonisingly short in a thrilling pole contest with Verstappen in Monaco, in which victory would have given him an excellent chance of claiming the 33rd Grand Prix win he has waited more than a decade for.

Aston Martin’s failure to match the development of the other front-runners saw Alonso struggle in the latter stages of the season amid a few uncharacteristic errors, but he did have one more trick up his sleeve with an incredible defensive display and last-lap pass on Perez in Brazil sealing an eighth and final podium of the campaign.

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin: 5

Championship position: 10th – 74 points

Lance Stroll was furious after a fourth successive Q1 exit in the Aston Martin

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Lance Stroll was furious after a fourth successive Q1 exit in the Aston Martin

Lance Stroll was furious after a fourth successive Q1 exit in the Aston Martin

The Canadian’s remarkable recovery from a pre-season cycling accident to take sixth in Bahrain only added to the positive vibes around the team, but it would be largely downhill from there on Stroll’s side of the garage.

A dismal run of qualifying form saw him make it through to Q3 on just four of 17 occasions, limiting his opportunities to back up Alonso.

While Stroll’s possession of his seat at Aston Martin appears to be unconditional while his father Lawrence remains the team’s owner, his form was so disappointing and his body language so indifferent that he began to be questioned over his desire to remain in the sport.

An unsavoury incident in Qatar where a frustrated Stroll pushed his trainer in the garage after being knocked out in Q1 marked a new low, and led to a warning from the FIA.

However, just when most had written him off, Stroll recorded back-to-back fifth-place finishes in Brazil and Las Vegas to at least provide some positivity going into 2024.

Pierre Gasly, Alpine: 6

Championship position: 11th – 62 points

On-board footage shows Pierre Gasly furious at Alpine team orders after being asked to give team-mate Esteban Ocon his position back on the final lap of the Japanese GP

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On-board footage shows Pierre Gasly furious at Alpine team orders after being asked to give team-mate Esteban Ocon his position back on the final lap of the Japanese GP

On-board footage shows Pierre Gasly furious at Alpine team orders after being asked to give team-mate Esteban Ocon his position back on the final lap of the Japanese GP

It’s hard to view either Alpine driver’s performance outside the prism of a hugely disappointing campaign for the team, which has seen them fall back from last year’s fourth, to sixth in the constructors’ standings.

After losing Alonso and Piastri, Alpine were delighted to pluck Pierre Gasly from the Red Bull driver pool, despite the fact he and his new team-mate Esteban Ocon were known to have a difficult relationship.

Given he had to make the adjustment to a new car, the fact that Gasly has outscored Ocon, albeit marginally, represents something of a success.

The highlight of Gasly’s season came as he claimed a podium in a rain-hit Dutch Grand Prix, once more showing his ability to excel in challenging conditions.

Along with hoping for a more competitive 2024 challenger, Gasly will be out to establish himself as the team’s lead driver.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine: 6

Championship position: 12th – 58 points

Max Verstappen claims his fourth win of 2023 and his 39th win for Red Bull - surpassing Sebastian Vettel's record number of wins for the team

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Max Verstappen claims his fourth win of 2023 and his 39th win for Red Bull – surpassing Sebastian Vettel’s record number of wins for the team

Max Verstappen claims his fourth win of 2023 and his 39th win for Red Bull – surpassing Sebastian Vettel’s record number of wins for the team

Ocon might argue that if it weren’t for his six DNFs, he wouldn’t have been outperformed by Gasly.

He had a couple of fine moments with a podium in Monaco and a fourth-placed finish in Las Vegas, and consistently scored points on a Sunday on the occasions he did see the chequered flag.

However, Ocon’s uncompromising – perhaps sometimes to a fault – driving style continues to rub many of his rivals up the wrong way.

Ultimately, Alpine will hope to produce a car that can give Ocon and Gasly more to think about than battling each other for the final points positions.

Alex Albon, Williams: 8

Championship position: 13th – 27 points

Williams' Alex Albon takes Sky F1's Ted Kravitz on a tour of Bangkok to open a new sports hall for local children, sample some local cuisine and reflect on the highs and lows of his career so far

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Williams’ Alex Albon takes Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz on a tour of Bangkok to open a new sports hall for local children, sample some local cuisine and reflect on the highs and lows of his career so far

Williams’ Alex Albon takes Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz on a tour of Bangkok to open a new sports hall for local children, sample some local cuisine and reflect on the highs and lows of his career so far

The rebuilding of Albon’s career took another big step as he led Williams to a much-improved campaign.

The British-born Thai driver displayed his natural speed with three top-six qualifying displays, but unfortunately didn’t always have a car capable of keeping him in the points-scoring positions.

On almost all of the occasions, the opportunity was there, Albon took it, scoring in seven grands prix, with the only major blemish of his campaign a crash in Australia.

Albon’s performances have caught the eye around the paddock, and Williams will know that they may need to continue to progress to avoid losing the 27-year-old to a more competitive outfit.

Logan Sargeant, Williams: 4.5

Championship position: 21st – 1 point

Logan Sargeant crashes his Williams during Q1 of the Japanese GP causing an emotional response in the garage

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Logan Sargeant crashes his Williams during Q1 of the Japanese GP causing an emotional response in the garage

Logan Sargeant crashes his Williams during Q1 of the Japanese GP causing an emotional response in the garage

It’s been a hugely challenging campaign for the rookie, who has too often been unable to produce under pressure.

It took Sargeant 13 races to reach a Q3, and his first F1 point only came under the rather fortuitous circumstances of both Hamilton and Leclerc being disqualified after the race.

Williams’ and Formula 1’s keenness to have an American driver in the sport means that Sargeant might get a second bite at the cherry in 2024.

A P6 in Las Vegas was easily his best qualifying performance of the campaign, but the positivity from that display was somewhat undone by a careless double breach of track limits a week later in Abu Dhabi.

The 22-year-old must cut out the errors and produce in qualifying more regularly if he is to extend his F1 career beyond 2024.

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri: 7

Championship position: 14th – 17 points

Yuki Tsunoda rants at Lewis Hamilton after missing out on Q2 of the Sao Paulo GP

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Yuki Tsunoda rants at Lewis Hamilton after missing out on Q2 of the Sao Paulo GP

Yuki Tsunoda rants at Lewis Hamilton after missing out on Q2 of the Sao Paulo GP

The Japanese driver has produced a solid campaign, comprehensively outperforming rookie Nyck de Vries in the opening half of the season before the Dutchman was dumped by the team.

Tsunoda has measured up solidly against Daniel Ricciardo since the eight-time race winner joined the team, with the pair generally quite evenly matched.

After AlphaTauri improved their car with late-season upgrades, Tsunoda claimed strong points-scoring finishes in Texas, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

The 23-year-old, who has already amassed 63 Grands Prix appearances, has yet to show the sort of skill to suggest he belongs in the Red Bull senior team alongside Verstappen, but a full 2024 campaign alongside Ricciardo should provide an intriguing measuring stick.

Tsunoda still has areas to improve, with one area he can do so being his temperament, although his emotional responses to the track action have continued to create great entertainment.

Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri: 7

Championship position: 17th – 6 points

Sky F1's Ted Kravitz reflects on the topsy-turvy story of Daniel Ricciardo's last two years in Formula One

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Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz reflects on the topsy-turvy story of Daniel Ricciardo’s last two years in Formula One

Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz reflects on the topsy-turvy story of Daniel Ricciardo’s last two years in Formula One

Ricciardo’s mid-season return was blighted by an unfortunate accident in Dutch Grand Prix practice that would result in a five-race absence caused by a hand injury, which means we only have a seven Grands Prix sample size from which to assess his season.

There was one standout result in that run, with Ricciardo’s only point-scoring finish coming in Mexico after he took a stunning fourth in qualifying.

That performance showed there is life in the old dog yet after the struggles at McLaren that left him without a seat, but it appears some of his most valuable work may have come off the track.

The AlphaTauri and Red Bull leadership have been effusive in their praise of the feedback Ricciardo has been able to provide on how to improve the car.

2024 is a huge season for both AlphaTauri drivers as they seek to stake a claim what looks set to be a vacant Red Bull seat the following year.

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo: 6

Championship position: 15th – 10 points

Valtteri Bottas went off the track in his Alfa Romeo as treacherous conditions made driving tough in the latter part of P2

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Valtteri Bottas went off the track in his Alfa Romeo as treacherous conditions made driving tough in the latter part of P2

Valtteri Bottas went off the track in his Alfa Romeo as treacherous conditions made driving tough in the latter part of P2

The former Mercedes driver’s season started with an encouraging eighth in Bahrain, but there have been few celebratory moments since.

Only three further point-scoring finishes have followed for Bottas, who has made more headlines with his off-track promotional work than he has behind the wheel.

While he has quite comfortably outperformed his team-mate, Bottas would appear to be falling short of doing enough to convince the team’s future owners Audi of keeping him on beyond 2025.

The Finn did show that there are some benefits to all the long-distance cycling he does between races by using his extreme fitness to take eighth in the hugely challenging heat of Qatar.

Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo: 6

Championship position: 18th – 6 points

As the heavy rain starts to fall, Sergio Perez and Zhou Guanyu hit the barriers at the Dutch GP

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As the heavy rain starts to fall, Sergio Perez and Zhou Guanyu hit the barriers at the Dutch GP

As the heavy rain starts to fall, Sergio Perez and Zhou Guanyu hit the barriers at the Dutch GP

F1’s first Chinese driver has backed up his rookie season with another competent campaign, but has failed to set the world alight.

He has been disappointing in qualifying, aside from a shock P5 in Hungary, and has consequently left himself with too much to do on a Sunday, with points coming from three ninth-placed finishes, in Australia, Spain and Qatar.

Zhou will have the honour of driving at his home race as the Chinese Grand Prix returns to the calendar, but he is another driver whose long-term future in the sport is currently far from secure.

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas: 6.5

Championship position: 16th – 9 points

Max Verstappen secured pole once again at the Canadian Grand Prix, while Nico Hulkenberg claimed a surprise second as Haas will start on the front row for the first time

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Max Verstappen secured pole once again at the Canadian Grand Prix, while Nico Hulkenberg claimed a surprise second as Haas will start on the front row for the first time

Max Verstappen secured pole once again at the Canadian Grand Prix, while Nico Hulkenberg claimed a surprise second as Haas will start on the front row for the first time

On his return to F1, Hulkenberg showed that he has plenty left to give by comprehensively out-classing his team-mate in qualifying.

Unfortunately for the German, Haas’ car was so hard on its tyres that many brilliant displays over one lap came to nothing on race day.

As a result, the 36-year-old didn’t come close to losing his unwanted tag as the F1 driver who has the most starts without a podium.

If Haas can get on top of their tyre issues next year, there will be a better opportunity to assess whether Hulkenberg can still mix it with the best on a Sunday.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas: 5.5

Championship position: 19th – 3 points

Kevin Magnussen brings out the red flag after taking a spin into the barriers during P3 of the Dutch GP - much to the anger of Guenther Steiner

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Kevin Magnussen brings out the red flag after taking a spin into the barriers during P3 of the Dutch GP – much to the anger of Guenther Steiner

Kevin Magnussen brings out the red flag after taking a spin into the barriers during P3 of the Dutch GP – much to the anger of Guenther Steiner

Having looked impressive alongside Mick Schumacher last season, Magnussen struggled to match another veteran in Hulkenberg over one lap.

While he will be disappointed with his qualifying performances, he generally appeared to be up to the task on race day, but simply didn’t have a car capable of scoring points regularly.

Having been given another year in the seat by the ruthless figure that is Guenther Steiner, Magnussen will be under pressure to produce in 2024.

While there was little joy on the track, Magnussen did produce some of the best viral moments of the season as he shared several heart-warming moments before and after races with his toddler daughter.

Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri: 4.5

Championship position: 22nd – 0 points

Nyck de Vries spun his AlphaTauri for the second time during Q1 as he continued to struggle in the wet conditions at the Spanish Grand Prix

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Nyck de Vries spun his AlphaTauri for the second time during Q1 as he continued to struggle in the wet conditions at the Spanish Grand Prix

Nyck de Vries spun his AlphaTauri for the second time during Q1 as he continued to struggle in the wet conditions at the Spanish Grand Prix

It just never quite worked out for the not-so-inexperienced rookie.

De Vries failed to take advantage of a big break that came largely as a result of one hugely impressive display for Williams as he stepped in at Monza in 2022.

The AlphaTauri (and Red Bull) hierarchy seemed to quickly begin to regret their decision to put former Mercedes man De Vries in a seat that could have been used for a driver from their own academy.

As the pressure built, the errors kept coming and a decision was taken to let the Dutchman go after just 10 races, without a point to his name.

Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri: 7

Championship position: 20th – 2 points

Making his debut for Alpha Tauri, Liam Lawson battles with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc at the Dutch GP

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Making his debut for Alpha Tauri, Liam Lawson battles with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc at the Dutch GP

Making his debut for Alpha Tauri, Liam Lawson battles with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc at the Dutch GP

This rookie made an impressive impact as he stepped in to replace Daniel Ricciardo for five races.

The New Zealander calmly went about his business, not over-pressing, and was eventually rewarded with a points finish in Singapore.

The late-season cameo has elevated to being one of the first names being talked about for any potential vacancies, with speculation already out there over whether Williams could consider giving him Logan Sargeant’s seat in 2024.

Either way, it seems pretty certain that Lawson will be a permanent fixture on the F1 grid before long.

24 races in 2024! Watch every round of next season live on Sky Sports F1, starting with the Bahrain Grand Prix from February 29-March 2. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW



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Lewis Hamilton says Red Bull chief Christian Horner contacted him over ‘meeting’, following claims of talks

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner claims that Lewis Hamilton’s representatives made contact over a potential switch from Mercedes; watch every session from the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP live on Sky Sports from this Friday at 9.30am, with lights out on Sunday at 1pm

Last Updated: 23/11/23 12:39pm


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Lewis Hamilton says he’s never considered joining Red Bull and is determined to beat them with current team Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton says he’s never considered joining Red Bull and is determined to beat them with current team Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton has denied Christian Horner’s claims that he reached out over a potential switch from Mercedes, and says the Red Bull team principal attempted to arrange a meeting with him.

Horner claimed in an interview published on Wednesday that a representative of Hamilton had approached Red Bull earlier this year before the seven-time champion signed his two-year Mercedes contract renewal in August.

After narrowly missing out on a record eighth world championship at the hands of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in 2021, Hamilton has watched the Dutchman make it three titles in a row in a dominant car.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s season-ending Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton told Sky Sports F1: “I don’t really know where that story has come from. I mean I know it’s come from Christian…

“I don’t really understand what he’s been talking about because no one, as far as I’m aware, from my team has spoken to him. I haven’t spoken to Christian really in years.

With rumours suggesting Lewis Hamilton might have joined Red Bull, Max Verstappen says he wouldn't have minded if the seven-time world champion or any other driver raced alongside him as a team-mate

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With rumours suggesting Lewis Hamilton might have joined Red Bull, Max Verstappen says he wouldn’t have minded if the seven-time world champion or any other driver raced alongside him as a team-mate

With rumours suggesting Lewis Hamilton might have joined Red Bull, Max Verstappen says he wouldn’t have minded if the seven-time world champion or any other driver raced alongside him as a team-mate

“However, he did reach out to me earlier on in the year about meeting up, but that’s it. I just congratulated them on an amazing year and said, ‘hopefully soon, I’ll be able to fight against you guys in the near future.’ That was it.

“So I’m not really sure, I think he’s just stirring things.”

In an interview with the Daily Mail Horner had also suggested that Hamilton met with Ferrari chairman John Elkann.

“We have had several conversations over the years about Lewis joining,” Horner said.

“They have reached out a few times. Most recently, earlier in the year, there was an inquiry about whether there would be any interest.

Sky Sports News' Craig Slater discusses reports that a Lewis Hamilton representative spoke with Red Bull chief Christian Horner earlier in the year about a potential move to the team

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Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater discusses reports that a Lewis Hamilton representative spoke with Red Bull chief Christian Horner earlier in the year about a potential move to the team

Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater discusses reports that a Lewis Hamilton representative spoke with Red Bull chief Christian Horner earlier in the year about a potential move to the team

“He met John Elkann (Ferrari chairman), too. I think there were serious talks.

“But I can’t see Max and Lewis working out together. The dynamic wouldn’t be right. We are 100 per cent happy with what we have.”

Ferrari team boss Frederic Vasseur dismissed reports back in May that they had offered Hamilton a big-money deal to defect to the Italian team.

After the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admitted Hamilton needs to “make sure he has the car” to win another championship and would have “no complaints” if the seven-time world champion moved elsewhere in the “next year or two” if the Brackley-based outfit don’t demonstrate a title-winning car.

Look back at some of the most dramatic moments to have taken place at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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Look back at some of the most dramatic moments to have taken place at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Look back at some of the most dramatic moments to have taken place at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Verstappen was asked about the possibility of partnering Hamilton in the future but played down the chances of the prospect.

“I don’t know because it’s not happening. There’s no point to make up stories ‘if, if’. It’s not happening,” said Verstappen.

Pushed more on whether he would want to be his team-mate, the world champion added: “I wouldn’t mind. It doesn’t matter, anyone. I don’t want to put it particularly on Lewis. There are so many great drivers as well. Sometimes it doesn’t work out like that.”

Mercedes label Hamilton and Red Bull talks ‘rather implausible’

Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater:

“I got in touch with Red Bull today and they said yes absolutely Christian Horner stands by this that a known Lewis Hamilton representative made contact with him. They wouldn’t specify how in-depth this contact was particularly. But it did happen.

“The more interesting aspect to all of this, because Lewis has ultimately resigned with Mercedes for another couple of years, he did so in August, and he did speak during the contract negotiation process about not looking anywhere else.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have won the last seven F1 world titles between them

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have won the last seven F1 world titles between them

“So, I did get in touch with Mercedes who tell me they are relaxed; they are not stressed about any of this as far as they see it, they think it’s rather implausible, but it would be in their view due diligence, maybe for a representative of Lewis Hamilton to go and maybe see what else was out there, what future opportunities might potentially be out there, but they’re not taking it particularly seriously.

“It is not in any way a kind of issue between the team and Lewis, even if this did happen, which they’re not convinced that it did. It could even be the case, of course, that Lewis didn’t even know about this this contact necessarily, one insider connected with the team observed to me that, well is this Christian Horner needing to use Lewis’ name to make a few headlines.”

Sky Sports F1’s live Abu Dhabi GP schedule

Friday November 24

  • 7am: F2 Practice
  • 9am: Abu Dhabi GP Practice One (session starts at 9.30am)
  • 10.55pm: F2 Qualifying
  • 12.45pm: Abu Dhabi GP Practice Two (session starts at 1pm)
  • 2.15pm: The F1 Show

Saturday November 25

  • 10.15am: Abu Dhabi GP Practice Three (session starts at 10.30am)
  • 12.15pm: F2 Sprint
  • 1.15pm: Abu Dhabi GP Qualifying build-up
  • 2pm: Abu Dhabi GP Qualifying
  • 4pm: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook

Sunday November 26

  • 9.10am: F2 Feature Race
  • 11.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday Abu Dhabi GP build-up
  • 1pm: The ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX
  • 3pm: Chequered Flag: Abu Dhabi GP reaction
  • 4pm: Ted’s Notebook

After the thrills of Las Vegas, Formula 1 heads to Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit for the 2023 season finale and another stunning spectacle under the lights. Watch the Abu Dhabi weekend live on Sky Sports F1, with lights out on Sunday at 1pm. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW



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Las Vegas GP: Charles Leclerc looks to end pole-win curse heading into ‘unknowns’ of first Strip race


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Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc joins Sky Sports’ Karun Chandhok to explain why he did not like his Las Vegas pole lap

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc joins Sky Sports’ Karun Chandhok to explain why he did not like his Las Vegas pole lap

Charles Leclerc is determined to end his long wait to convert a pole position into a race win again, but the Ferrari polesitter and his likely rivals for victory are aware the outcome of the inaugural Las Vegas GP will likely be determined by F1’s equivalent of ‘playing your cards right’.

Leclerc will head an exciting-looking mixed-up grid for lights out at 6am on Sunday – live on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Showcase – after a superb qualifying performance which the Monegasque said included the “best lap I have ever done in Formula 1” during Q2.

He was not as happy with his performance in Q3, but his first lap in the shootout under the Las Vegas lights was still good enough to secure him a fifth pole position of the season and third in the last four races.

Now for the crunch. Leclerc and Ferrari’s problem has not been topping qualifying – he now has 24 poles in total in F1, the 12th most of all time – but converting them into wins.

A round-up of all the action from Las Vegas qualifying as Leclerc took pole position

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A round-up of all the action from Las Vegas qualifying as Leclerc took pole position

A round-up of all the action from Las Vegas qualifying as Leclerc took pole position

Incredibly, none of Leclerc’s last 11 poles, dating back to the Australian GP in April 2022 have been followed up with Grand Prix victory.

It is the challenge to end that sequence and Ferrari’s trend to fall backwards from strong qualifying results – plus the unique aspects that come with racing at 10pm local time in Vegas – that are at the forefront of Leclerc’s mind.

“Without a doubt tyre management will be what will make our race great or really bad,” Leclerc told Sky F1.

“It always is like this; tyre management is always a big thing. But it’s true that with these very cold temperatures the graining will be a thing, the loss of temperatures towards the end of the run will be a big thing as well.

“But I don’t know – I felt good since the first lap in FP1 so I really hope we can convert that pole finally because there have been too many poles without converting it to victory because we didn’t have the car [to win] on race day. I hope that [on Sunday] it will be the case.”

Leclerc gives his reaction to securing pole position for the Las Vegas GP following an eventful qualifying session

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Leclerc gives his reaction to securing pole position for the Las Vegas GP following an eventful qualifying session

Leclerc gives his reaction to securing pole position for the Las Vegas GP following an eventful qualifying session

Team-mate Carlos Sainz, who had qualified alongside Leclerc on the front row but will drop back to 12th owing to a grid penalty, took Ferrari’s only hitherto win this season the last time they raced on a street track, in Singapore in September.

Leclerc has been stuck on five career wins since July 2022 and, put to him that Vegas would be the perfect place to party after winning again, said: “That would be the dream scenario! It would make up for the season I’ve had. Looking back, every time a really good result was on the cards something happened.”

But will Verstappen and Red Bull simply cash in again?

Max Verstappen has called for a rule change after Carlos Sainz was given a 10-place grid penalty for damage from a manhole cover

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Max Verstappen has called for a rule change after Carlos Sainz was given a 10-place grid penalty for damage from a manhole cover

Max Verstappen has called for a rule change after Carlos Sainz was given a 10-place grid penalty for damage from a manhole cover

With Ferrari denied what would have been a commanding front-row lockout by Sainz’s controversial grid drop, Max Verstappen joins Leclerc at the head of the field for what will be a short run to the opening corner at the 6am lights out.

Leclerc has been overtaken before the first turn the last two times he has started from pole – by Lando Norris in the USA and Verstappen in Mexico – and the latter will likely remain favourite for victory in most observers’ minds given he has won 17 times from 20 races this season.

Asked if Verstappen can again get ahead of Leclerc early on in Sunday’s 50-lap race, Red Bull boss Christian Horner told Sky F1: “I think it will be different here but it’s a track you can definitely overtake on. It’s going to make it interesting.”

Ted Kravitz is in the paddock to review all the biggest stories from Las Vegas qualifying

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Ted Kravitz is in the paddock to review all the biggest stories from Las Vegas qualifying

Ted Kravitz is in the paddock to review all the biggest stories from Las Vegas qualifying

Verstappen’s public expressions of dislike for the new Strip circuit and the glittering Las Vegas event as a whole have not shown any sign of detracting from his performance on the track so far this weekend. He finished 0.378s back on Leclerc’s pole time and said: “It felt good yesterday. I would have liked to have a bit more pace today.

“The points are [on Sunday] and it’s going to be a tough one.

“First one here, there might be Safety Cars and it’s a very long straight, so there will be a lot of racing and I hope we are good on the tyres.”

Russell on the ‘unknowns’ of the first Strip race | How many pit stops will we see?

Mercedes' George Russell believes tyre strategy could be the key to victory

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Mercedes’ George Russell believes tyre strategy could be the key to victory

Mercedes’ George Russell believes tyre strategy could be the key to victory

The track temperature is expected to be around 15 degrees during the race, which starts at 10pm local time in Vegas. It is by far the coldest race of the year so the drivers will be going into unknown territory.

There may be a lack of high-speed corners but that certainly does not correspond to there being minimal tyre wear. The cold temperatures put the tyres out of their working window and can lead to severe graining.

“Going into tomorrow, it’s a total unknown. These tyres are just not working around this circuit in the race conditions,” said Mercedes’ George Russell, who will start third.

“They are totally falling apart because they are so cold. The tyres aren’t designed to work in these cold conditions. The team that comes out on top will be the team that manages to keep them alive.”

Shop the Las Vegas range!

Get all the gear as Formula 1 makes its long awaited return to Las Vegas! Sign up and save 10% off your first purchase.

Off line, the track will be dirty but the long straights mean overtaking should be possible. However, it will not be too easy because everyone is running low rear wings, so the slipstream effect is not as substantial, similar to Monza in that respect.

Some teams have not run the hard tyre and the performance of that compound will be key to see if it is a one- or two-stop race.

“I think if you’re able to keep it [the tyres] within the threshold, it will be an easy one-stop. As soon as you go over that threshold it’s unrecoverable and you might need to do two or three stops,” continued Russell.

“Right now we are all scratching our heads, thinking how are we going to approach the race. We haven’t ran the hard tyre yet. Maybe the hard tyre is just much better than the medium and you won’t be entering that graining that we have seen on all the teams.

“You’re going to have to push the tyre to find out, but if you push it and go over the limit, you’re probably doomed. It’s a real strange one, I don’t really know how to approach the race.”

Lewis Hamilton shares his disappointment after being knocked out of Q2 in Las Vegas

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Lewis Hamilton shares his disappointment after being knocked out of Q2 in Las Vegas

Lewis Hamilton shares his disappointment after being knocked out of Q2 in Las Vegas

As for what Russell can do himself, he is unlikely to be battling for the same piece of tarmac as Lewis Hamilton for the first time in a while.

With a strong start, Russell can maybe feature near the front in the opening laps with Verstappen and Leclerc, but he is likely going to be looking over his shoulder due to a lack of outright speed compared to Red Bull and Ferrari.

Russell has only had one podium this year, at the Spanish Grand Prix in June, and simply wants a race with no issues.

“I just want a clean race to be honest. It’s probably been the scrappiest season of my life,” he said.

“Every clean race weekend I’ve had has been when the car was slow and every time the car has been quick, everything was up in the air whether it’s mistakes on my side or unfortunate strategy or DNFs.

“I just want a clean race. I want to get these two races over and done with. We have to keep an eye on Ferrari. They are only 20 points behind us, probably should have been on for a one-two.

“Charles is definitely the favourite, so we need damage limitation but if there’s an opportunity, we will go for it.”

The Sky F1 pundits on the race-day tyre conundrum

Jenson Button:

“The thing is, to stop front-right graining you push that tyre less. Then you go through a stage, then it’s fine to push it a bit harder.

“But while everyone is doing that there is going to be one or two who are going to go, ‘hang on, I can make up one or two places here’. Fernando [Alonso] comes to mind and a few others.

“So it’s going to be a really mixed bag out there. Really interesting to hear George [Russell] say they haven’t run the hard tyre yet and they think they are going to run it in the race.

“It’s so up in the air, they’re really going to have to think on their feet. Strategists are going to be working flat-out as well all the way through the race.”

Danica Patrick:

“It just seems everyone is a little confused why they are fast, why they are not fast.

“What to look for is if someone drops off [in pace]. If they grain their tyres, that’s the problem.”

What does the mixed-up starting order have in store?

Logan Sargeant says he was 'relieved' to qualify P6 whilst Alex Albon feels P5 has 'reset' his confidence after crashing in FP3

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Logan Sargeant says he was ‘relieved’ to qualify P6 whilst Alex Albon feels P5 has ‘reset’ his confidence after crashing in FP3

Logan Sargeant says he was ‘relieved’ to qualify P6 whilst Alex Albon feels P5 has ‘reset’ his confidence after crashing in FP3

The other major point of intrigue for the race is the unusual mixed-up order the drivers will line up in on the grid.

While the Leclerc-Verstappen-Russell front three is not especially unfamiliar, there are many surprises behind after a session in which some of the grid’s usual midfield drivers and cars outperformed a selection of the sport’s biggest hitters.

Pierre Gasly is fourth for Alpine – his best starting berth since 2021 – with the Williams pair of Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant impressing in fifth and sixth places.

Valtteri Bottas is a joint-season-best seventh for Alfa Romeo and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen is eighth.

They are all ahead of Hamilton (10th), Red Bull’s Sergio Perez (11th) and the demoted Sainz (12th), along with both McLarens (Lando Norris is 15th and Oscar Piastri 18th) with the grid’s hitherto most in-form team behind Red Bull experiencing a shock double-Q1 exit.

When to watch Sunday’s Las Vegas GP live on Sky Sports F1 and Sky Showcase

Sunday November 19

  • 4:30am: Grand Prix Sunday: Las Vegas GP build-up (also on Sky Showcase)
  • 6am: THE LAS VEGAS GRAND PRIX (also on Sky Showcase)
  • 8am: Chequered Flag: Las Vegas GP reaction (also on Sky Showcase)
  • 9am: Ted’s Notebook (also on Sky Showcase)

Watch the whole Las Vegas GP weekend live on Sky Sports F1 with lights out on Sunday at 6am. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW



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Las Vegas GP: Max Verstappen and Red Bull face unpredictability of new F1 race as cold conditions descend on Nevada


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Lewis Hamilton says he is expecting a ‘wild’ weekend at the Las Vegas Grand Prix, and admits it will be hard to stay focused on the race.

Lewis Hamilton says he is expecting a ‘wild’ weekend at the Las Vegas Grand Prix, and admits it will be hard to stay focused on the race.

Amid all of the glitz and glamour in Las Vegas, there is a Grand Prix to be won and you are probably thinking it’s going to be another Max Verstappen and Red Bull walkover.

Well, think again. New tracks in F1 are always a head-scratcher for the teams and engineers because they can’t rely on any past data from the track.

Vegas being a street circuit makes the track hard to learn for the drivers too because one mistake and you are in the wall.

Verstappen comes into the weekend looking to equal Sebastian Vettel’s 53 career wins, which would put him joint third on the all-time Grand Prix winners’ rankings, with Michael Schumacher (91) and Lewis Hamilton (103) only having more.

His confidence will be at as high as Vegas’ Stratosphere Tower but even he will have some big obstacles to overcome if he wants to make it three wins from three in the USA this year.

Coldest F1 race ever?

Naomi Schiff looks ahead to the Las Vegas Grand Prix and asks: could the cold weather throw a spanner in the works?

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Naomi Schiff looks ahead to the Las Vegas Grand Prix and asks: could the cold weather throw a spanner in the works?

Naomi Schiff looks ahead to the Las Vegas Grand Prix and asks: could the cold weather throw a spanner in the works?

Us Brits love to talk about the weather, it’s a copout when it comes to small talk. As excited as everyone is about the Las Vegas Grand Prix, most people won’t be too happy about the single digit temperatures at night.

In the day, temperatures will be around 20 Celsius, but this will drop to 8-10 Celsius at night, when practice, qualifying and the race take place.

The coldest F1 race was the 1978 Canadian Grand Prix when an air temperature of five Celsius was recorded in Montreal. It’s no surprise to see Pirelli have brought the softest tyre compound to Vegas but it’s going to be a nightmare for the teams to build tyre temperature.

Motorsport fans will know that one of the challenges of the famous Le Mans 24 Hours race is the tyres cool down on the long straights, something that will also be a problem in Vegas because there are three lengthy straights, including a 1.181mile (1.900km) flat-out section on the Las Vegas strip.

No event this year has seen temperatures anywhere near as what’s forecast for Vegas, so the teams that can fire up their tyres quickly, like we sometimes see in the rain, will have a big advantage.

Sky Sports News' Craig Slater takes a look at Formula 1's Las Vegas track and what we can expect from the 'star-studded' race.

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Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater takes a look at Formula 1’s Las Vegas track and what we can expect from the ‘star-studded’ race.

Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater takes a look at Formula 1’s Las Vegas track and what we can expect from the ‘star-studded’ race.

“It’ll just depend on exactly how cold it is,” said Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin. “If the track is down in single figures, that’s often a region where you go winter testing.

“You do a run, it’s very difficult for the tyres to either get them switched on, or there may be graining and things. And then sometimes you just wait until it warms up a bit. So actually having to sort of race and qualify in those conditions, it will be interesting.

“You just try and identify the risks with the new circuit, work out what your contingencies will be, whether you need any sort of specific car spec to deal with that and we’re going through that at the moment.

“But as I said, if it’s at the very cold end of predictions, it’s difficult to know how the tyres are going to work.”

The Las Vegas Street Circuit is the latest venue to join the F1 calendar

The Las Vegas Street Circuit is the latest venue to join the F1 calendar

Will a Red Bull weakness be exposed?

Red Bull openly got things wrong for the heat and humidity in Singapore earlier this year, the only event they have failed to win. Vegas is at the other extreme end of the spectrum, cold and not many corners.

One of the strengths of Red Bull this year is the tyre wear, or lack of. In the hands of Verstappen, he is able to set a searing pace without too much tyre degradation and has cruised to victory on multiple occasions.

However, it might mean in the cold temperatures, which we haven’t really seen this year, Red Bull are vulnerable, especially over one lap, because they can’t generate enough tyre temperature.

Remember Sergio Perez’s Saturday at the Australian Grand Prix? I don’t blame you if you don’t. He had a nightmare day after going off three times in final practice and crashed out in Q1.

With Formula 1 heading to Las Vegas for the next race, Max Verstappen gave his thoughts on racing along the iconic strip!

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With Formula 1 heading to Las Vegas for the next race, Max Verstappen gave his thoughts on racing along the iconic strip!

With Formula 1 heading to Las Vegas for the next race, Max Verstappen gave his thoughts on racing along the iconic strip!

Perez’s actual accident was likely down to a problem with the engine, but the way he struggled in practice, and Verstappen’s own drivability woes that weekend, suggests the combination of cold weather and the 2023 Red Bull F1 car may not add up.

Temperatures in Melbourne were around the 16-20 Celsius mark and we haven’t seen colder conditions in the dry this season, therefore any Red Bull weakness in the cold hasn’t been fully exposed.

“We have no experience there. We don’t know the track grip, it is all new, so maybe it will give a few surprises,” commented Verstappen, who has won a record 17 races this season.

Relive the action from the last time Formula 1 visited Las Vegas in 1982, as Italian driver Michele Alboreto took the win, with Keke Rosberg sweeping to his first title.

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Relive the action from the last time Formula 1 visited Las Vegas in 1982, as Italian driver Michele Alboreto took the win, with Keke Rosberg sweeping to his first title.

Relive the action from the last time Formula 1 visited Las Vegas in 1982, as Italian driver Michele Alboreto took the win, with Keke Rosberg sweeping to his first title.

So who could beat Red Bull?

Lando Norris is in the form of his life with four podiums from the last five events. The one time he wasn’t in the top three saw him brilliantly fly through the field in Mexico to finish fifth from 17th.

But, the biggest weakness of the McLaren car is slow-speed corners, which is going to be a problem around Las Vegas, where most of the turns are slow.

That said, McLaren didn’t think they would be competitive last time out in Brazil, where there are consecutive slow-speed corners, but Norris is playing down his chances.

“I don’t think we were expecting to be as competitive in Brazil as we have been. So we’re still surprising ourselves. I gave up on guessing where we’re going to be nowadays,” said Norris.

“I mean, probably after Bahrain I didn’t want to think of where we’re going to be. But, it comes and goes. I think everyone expected Mercedes to be extremely strong in Brazil and they were nowhere.

Lando Norris has been Red Bull's closest challenger in recent F1 races

Lando Norris has been Red Bull’s closest challenger in recent F1 races

“[Everyone] expected Ferrari to be a bit more competitive and weren’t, so I think no one really knows. Everyone just guesses and presumes but no one knows until we just get on track. So just let’s wait and see.”

Ferrari are the only team to beat Red Bull this year and I’m going to roll the dice and say they will push Verstappen for the win this weekend.

The most similar track to Las Vegas is Monza – long straights and slow-speed corners – where Carlos Sainz took pole position.

It was clear at Monza that the Ferrari has good mechanical grip and the drivers have confidence when flicking the car from left to right in the chicanes over the kerbs.

Formula 1 heads to the Las Vegas Grand Prix, live on Sky Sports F1.

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Formula 1 heads to the Las Vegas Grand Prix, live on Sky Sports F1.

Formula 1 heads to the Las Vegas Grand Prix, live on Sky Sports F1.

We saw this at Singapore too when Sainz was able to ride on top of the kerbs without any instability, which helped him on his way to victory as he held off Norris and the two Mercedes.

Charles Leclerc is a demon over one lap, especially on street tracks, just look at some of his laps around Baku and Monaco from the last five years – two of the most challenging venues on the F1 calendar.

He will be eager to bounce back from an engine issue which lost the car’s hydraulics last time out in Brazil and the very best drivers can respond from setbacks with a big performance.

What about Mercedes?

Lewis Hamilton says driving under the lights in Las Vegas will be like he's in a

Lewis Hamilton says driving under the lights in Las Vegas will be like he’s in a “casino movie”

Toto Wolff labelled Brazil as Mercedes’ “worst weekend” since they returned to F1 in 2010 as George Russell retired and Lewis Hamilton dropped down the order to eighth.

Worryingly, Mercedes were down in the speed traps at Interlagos, which doesn’t bode well for the long straights in Las Vegas. It’s likely that Brazil was an outlier as Mercedes set the car up wrongly and the ride height was too high, following their disqualification in USA two weeks earlier.

Traditionally, Mercedes fare well in cold conditions and Hamilton is exceptional on the brakes, another key area to crack in Las Vegas with five big braking zones.

Hamilton has the ability to brake very late and his the brakes hard, without locking up, almost rolling the car into the corner, but still has good exit speed. That feeling is something you can’t teach and if we get a repeat of the slippery Turkey 2020 conditions, where Hamilton claimed a seventh world title, Mercedes could come into the game.

The likelihood though is that the actual track surface will have enough grip and it will just be about bedding the tyres in, perhaps doing multiple warm-up laps in qualifying before going for a flying lap.

Las Vegas GP kerbs

Las Vegas GP kerbs

When to watch the Las Vegas GP live on Sky Sports

Thursday November 16

  • 5:30am: Drivers’ Press Conference (reshown at 8am and 10:45am)
  • 1:45pm: Las Vegas GP Opening Ceremony

Friday November 17

  • 4am: Las Vegas GP Practice One (session starts at 4.30am)
  • 7:45am: Las Vegas GP Practice Two (session starts at 8am)
  • 9:15am: The F1 Show: Las Vegas

Saturday November 18

  • 4:15am: Las Vegas GP Practice Three (session starts at 4.30am)
  • 7am: Las Vegas Grand Prix Qualifying build-up (also on Sky Showcase)
  • 8am: Las Vegas GP Qualifying (also on Sky Showcase)
  • 10am: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook

Sunday November 19

  • 4:30am: Grand Prix Sunday: Las Vegas GP build-up (also on Sky Showcase)
  • 6am: THE LAS VEGAS GRAND PRIX (also on Sky Showcase)
  • 8am: Chequered Flag: Las Vegas GP reaction (also on Sky Showcase)
  • 9am: Ted’s Notebook (also on Sky Showcase)

Get ready for the big one: Formula 1 in Las Vegas! See drivers race down the Strip, and past landmarks like Caesars Palace and the Bellagio, on F1’s newest street track. Watch the whole Las Vegas GP weekend live on Sky Sports F1, starting this Friday with lights out on Sunday at 6am. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW



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Sky Sports F1 Podcast: Damon Hill reveals ‘anxiety’ over Mercedes aero department following horror Sao Paulo GP

The Sky Sports F1 Podcast is your one-stop shop to stay across all the biggest stories in Formula 1; download and subscribe via Spotify, Apple, Spreaker and listen to the latest episode via the podcast player below

Last Updated: 07/11/23 11:03pm


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Speaking on the Sky Sports F1 Podcast, Naomi Schiff and Damon Hill discuss why Mercedes is still struggling with the W14 after Toto Wolff believed Brazil was his ‘worst weekend in 13 years’

Speaking on the Sky Sports F1 Podcast, Naomi Schiff and Damon Hill discuss why Mercedes is still struggling with the W14 after Toto Wolff believed Brazil was his ‘worst weekend in 13 years’

Damon Hill has expressed doubt over whether the Mercedes aerodynamics department is capable of closing the gap to Red Bull under Formula 1’s current regulations.

Red Bull have dominated since radical changes to the regulations were introduced at the start of the 2022 campaign, romping to back-to-back constructors’ titles after Mercedes had won the previous eight in a row.

Mercedes compounded their problems by retaining their flawed 2022 design concept for the 2023 campaign, before finally moving away from it – as much as possible under the sport’s budget cap – in the early stages of the season after realising they were once more significantly off the pace.

While the expectation is that Mercedes will move towards a design more similar to the class-leading RB19 for next year, Hill appears to have doubt over whether they are capable of executing the changes.

“My anxiety is this, which is that for a long time, Mercedes’ dominance really was down to their power unit. They had the best power unit for a very long time,” Hill told the Sky Sports F1 Podcast.

“And the aerodynamics were always slightly different to Red Bull’s. And if you remember towards the end of the previous Formula 1 regulations, they persisted with their relatively flat looking rake on the car, whereas Red Bull were absolutely huge.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff gives a damning assessment the car after a 'miserable' weekend for both drivers in Sao Paulo

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff gives a damning assessment the car after a ‘miserable’ weekend for both drivers in Sao Paulo

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff gives a damning assessment the car after a ‘miserable’ weekend for both drivers in Sao Paulo

“They led the way and everyone started following Red Bull with this very high rake. It looked like a rat running along the car. It had a very high back.

“But Mercedes stuck persistently or doggedly with their with their other… they looked like they were running a different aero concept on their car in the previous regulations, and then along come a new set of regulations…

“What I’m saying is, is the Mercedes aero department missing a trick here?

Carlos Sainz makes quick work of overtaking both Mercedes during the Sao Paulo Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz makes quick work of overtaking both Mercedes during the Sao Paulo Grand Prix

Carlos Sainz makes quick work of overtaking both Mercedes during the Sao Paulo Grand Prix

“And they’ve lost quite a few good aero people to other teams as well, over time.”

Hill’s comments come the week after Mike Elliott left his position as Mercedes chief technical officer, months after he had been moved away from the role of technical director.

Schiff: How can Mercedes be outperformed by customers?

Mercedes’ decision to change design comes significantly later than some other teams, with the likes of Aston Martin and McLaren, both of whom have their engines supplied by Mercedes, appearing to have benefitted hugely from conforming towards Red Bull’s design.

While their in-season development has let them down, Aston Martin surprisingly came from seventh in last year’s constructors’ standings to start the 2023 season as Red Bull’s closest challengers.

Damon Hill discusses if Fernando Alonso's thrilling finish in Brazil was his best career drive ever after a masterclass of a defense against Sergio Perez

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Damon Hill discusses if Fernando Alonso’s thrilling finish in Brazil was his best career drive ever after a masterclass of a defense against Sergio Perez

Damon Hill discusses if Fernando Alonso’s thrilling finish in Brazil was his best career drive ever after a masterclass of a defense against Sergio Perez

Meanwhile, updates brought to the McLaren midway through the campaign have established Lando Norris as world champion Max Verstappen’s most consistent challenger over the second half of the season.

Naomi Schiff told the Sky Sports F1 Podcast: “You’ve got to ask how has a team like McLaren, who from at least the power unit perspective is a customer team of Mercedes, how have they so dramatically been able to turn it around? How were Aston at the beginning of the season, so dramatically able to turn it around and why is a team like Mercedes still struggling?

“Obviously, they didn’t bite the bullet at the beginning of the year or during the winter period last year to completely change their concept, and I think there are some major regrets about that because they could be much further forward today.

Naomi Schiff looks ahead to the Las Vegas Grand Prix and questions could the cold weather throw a spanner in the works?

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Naomi Schiff looks ahead to the Las Vegas Grand Prix and questions could the cold weather throw a spanner in the works?

Naomi Schiff looks ahead to the Las Vegas Grand Prix and questions could the cold weather throw a spanner in the works?

“But when you’re essentially working on a mechanical base that is faulty and you’re just trying to make the best of a situation, it’s not going to be great.

“At the end of the day, they’re a team who’s won multiple world championships. They know how to build a car.

“I have some faith that they will be able over this winter to turn their situation around. But then again, as I say, Red Bull is so far up the road and they’re doing the same thing over the winter period.

“So it’s always going to be a question mark to see where they end up next year.”

Don’t miss an episode of the Sky Sports F1 Podcast. Subscribe now on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Spreaker

Get ready for the big one: Formula 1 in Las Vegas! See drivers race down the Strip, and past landmarks like Caesars Palace and the Bellagio, on F1’s newest street track. Watch the whole Las Vegas GP weekend live on Sky Sports F1 on November 17-19. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW



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Red Bull: Max Verstappen happy to have either Sergio Perez or Daniel Ricciardo as team-mate in 2024


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Max Verstappen laughs at rumours he could be in the Alpha Tauri for the rest of the season and would be happy with either Daniel Ricciardo or Sergio Perez as a team-mate at Red Bull for 2023.

Max Verstappen laughs at rumours he could be in the Alpha Tauri for the rest of the season and would be happy with either Daniel Ricciardo or Sergio Perez as a team-mate at Red Bull for 2023.

Max Verstappen says it would be “great” to have either Sergio Perez or Daniel Ricciardo as his Red Bull team-mate next season, amid continued speculation about the former’s future with the team.

Verstappen has produced a stunning season to secure a third successive drivers’ title, but Perez, after a strong start to his campaign, has struggled and is only 20 points clear of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in second place with three rounds remaining.

Perez is contracted to remain with Red Bull until the end of next season, but his poor form, which has seen him manage just one podium in the last seven races, has led to speculation that the team could opt to replace him sooner.

Meanwhile, after joining Red Bull’s junior squad AlphaTauri mid-way through the season, Verstappen’s former team-mate Ricciardo has been open about his ultimate goal of regaining the seat he chose to give up at the end of 2018, and at last weekend’s Mexico City Grand Prix put in an eye-catching performance by taking seventh.

A dramatic opening lap of the Mexico City GP sees Charles Leclerc collide with Sergio Perez, with the Mexican having to retire.

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A dramatic opening lap of the Mexico City GP sees Charles Leclerc collide with Sergio Perez, with the Mexican having to retire.

A dramatic opening lap of the Mexico City GP sees Charles Leclerc collide with Sergio Perez, with the Mexican having to retire.

“I always had a great relationship with Daniel when we were team-mates, when of course we weren’t,” Verstappen said ahead of this weekend’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix in Brazil.

“But at the same time also I have a great relationship with Checo so I find it a bit unfair to now sit here and say who I would prefer as a team-mate.

“They have been great team-mates and it’s not up to me, at the end of the day, to make these kind of decisions, because I’m very focused on my own performance.

F1 content creator Tommo questions whether Daniel Ricciardo will replace Sergio Perez at Red Bull following his recent run of poor form. You can listen to the latest episode of the Sky Sports F1 Podcast now.

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F1 content creator Tommo questions whether Daniel Ricciardo will replace Sergio Perez at Red Bull following his recent run of poor form. You can listen to the latest episode of the Sky Sports F1 Podcast now.

F1 content creator Tommo questions whether Daniel Ricciardo will replace Sergio Perez at Red Bull following his recent run of poor form. You can listen to the latest episode of the Sky Sports F1 Podcast now.

“If it’s Checo next year, then great. I have a great working relationship with him but also personally think he’s a great guy.

“If it’s Daniel then also we will get along fine and have a great time. But yeah, F1 can be tough sport. You ask these kind of questions, but maybe also nothing happens right? So we’ll see.”

Verstappen hopes to avoid needing to help Perez

In a rare 2022 off-day for Red Bull, Mercedes secured a one-two at last year’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix, but the disappointing display was worsened by a furious row between Verstappen and Perez as the world champion refused to help his team-mate in the closing stages of the race.

Verstappen was instructed to let Perez through in the closing stages to give his team-mate sixth place, with Perez at the time in a close contest with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc for second in the drivers’ standings, but the Dutchman refused, sighting an incident from earlier in the season.

Max Verstappen refuses to let team-mate Sergio Perez back through and is furious with Red Bull on the team radio.

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Max Verstappen refuses to let team-mate Sergio Perez back through and is furious with Red Bull on the team radio.

Max Verstappen refuses to let team-mate Sergio Perez back through and is furious with Red Bull on the team radio.

Leclerc would ultimately pip Perez to second by just three points, which means the Mexican holding onto second this season would give Red Bull a first ever one-two finish in the drivers’ standings.

Asked whether he would be willing to help Perez this time around, Verstappen said: “I think it shouldn’t always matter on me to get the points. I’m confident in Checo that he can stay ahead because I do think that on average we have the faster car.

“I think also last year, it wasn’t really well spoken about before we got into the race weekend.

“Let’s just hope that we don’t get into that situation, I think it’s better for everyone.”

Perez confident of having Verstappen ‘support’

Perez says that such a scenario reoccurring hasn’t been discussed, but that he is confident of having “support” from Verstappen if he needs it.

“We haven’t thought about it,” Perez said. “But if the situation arises. I’m sure I will have support from Max.”

Perez suffered a disastrous home race last weekend as he crashed out of the Mexico City Grand Prix at the opening corner when attempting to pass Verstappen and Leclerc around the outside for the lead.

Sergio Perez insists he is not concerned about losing his seat at Red Bull next season, insisting he has a contract and his future is 'clear'.

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Sergio Perez insists he is not concerned about losing his seat at Red Bull next season, insisting he has a contract and his future is ‘clear’.

Sergio Perez insists he is not concerned about losing his seat at Red Bull next season, insisting he has a contract and his future is ‘clear’.

The 33-year-old says he is relieved to be able to get straight back to action for the final leg of the Americas triple-header, with Sao Paulo hosting a Sprint weekend.

“It’s the best,” Perez told Sky Sports F1. “I’m so lucky that we don’t have two weekends off. I’m happy to be back here and just put everything that happened in Mexico behind me.

“I have the pace to do that (keep second). I’ve just been extremely unlucky the last few weekends, so I think it’s time to get a clean weekend and show what I can do, because I think the pace in the last few weekends has been a lot better than the results we’ve been getting.

“I really feel that we’ve made a lot of progress so we should be back in form this weekend.”

Ricciardo: No talks with Red Bull about 2024 seat

Ricciardo replaced rookie Nyck de Vries 10 races into the season, but then in just his third race back crashed and suffered a hand injury that would keep him out of five races.

The Australian returned at the US Grand Prix, before qualifying fourth – ahead of Perez and fractionally behind Verstappen – in Mexico, and backing it up with P7 in the race to deliver a statement performance.

Watch onboard as Alpha Tauri's Daniel Ricciardo hunts down George Russell in the Mercedes over the last lap of the Mexican GP.

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Watch onboard as Alpha Tauri’s Daniel Ricciardo hunts down George Russell in the Mercedes over the last lap of the Mexican GP.

Watch onboard as Alpha Tauri’s Daniel Ricciardo hunts down George Russell in the Mercedes over the last lap of the Mexican GP.

However, Ricciardo insists that he has had no discussions with Red Bull about replacing Perez next season, and that his contract for 2024 is solely to drive for AlphaTauri.

“I haven’t (spoken to Red Bull),” Ricciardo said on Thursday. “All the stuff around my contract next year has been related to AlphaTauri. I would say that’s honestly as far as that goes.

“For me personally, having a weekend like Mexico is just definitely good for the soul.

“Also for the team, I haven’t been here long, but for them to be 10th in the constructors’ (standings) and to jump two places in the space of two weekends was huge.

“I think that kind of creates a very happy atmosphere around everyone, so kind of happy doing that and just trying to keep charging on where I am.”

When to watch the Sao Paulo GP live only on Sky Sports F1

Friday November 3

  • 2pm: Sao Paulo GP Practice (session starts at 2.30pm)
  • 5.30pm: Sao Paulo GP Qualifying build-up (also on Sky Sports Main Event)
    6pm: Sao Paulo GP Qualifying (also on Sky Sports Main Event)
  • 8pm: Ted’s Qualifying Notebook

Saturday November 4

  • 1.30pm: Sprint Shootout build-up
  • 2pm: Sao Paulo GP Sprint Shootout
  • 5.30pm: Sprint build-up
  • 6.30pm: SAO PAULO SPRINT
  • 8pm: Ted’s Sprint Notebook

Sunday November 5

  • 3.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday: Sao Paulo GP build-up
  • 5pm: THE SAO PAULO GRAND PRIX
  • 7pm: Chequered Flag: Sao Paulo GP reaction
  • 8pm: Ted’s Notebook

F1 heads straight to Brazil for the final leg of the Americas triple header and the last Sprint weekend of the 2023 season. Watch every session from the Sao Paulo Grand Prix live on Sky Sports F1 from Friday, with Sunday’s race at 5pm. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW



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Sergio Perez: Red Bull driver ‘just went for it’ after Mexico City GP start overtake on Charles Leclerc ends in crash


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A dramatic opening lap of the Mexico City GP sees Charles Leclerc collide with Sergio Perez, with the Mexican having to retire

A dramatic opening lap of the Mexico City GP sees Charles Leclerc collide with Sergio Perez, with the Mexican having to retire

Sergio Perez insisted he had “just wanted to give it all” and so “totally went for it” when sensing a chance to seize the lead of his home Mexico City GP, after he made a dramatic exit from the race in a first-corner collision with Charles Leclerc.

Ferrari’s Leclerc, meanwhile, directly addressed the boos he received from the Perez-supporting crowd as he was interviewed after the race on the track by saying he “had nowhere to go” in the incident.

In a rapid getaway from fifth on the grid on the long run down to the circuit’s first corner, Perez placed himself on the outside of pole-sitter Leclerc, who had Verstappen attacking for the lead on his inside, but as he turned into the right-hander, tagged the Ferrari’s front-left wheel.

The impact sent Perez’s car briefly up onto three wheels and flying off the circuit. Although he was able to drive back to the pit lane, the damage sustained was such that Red Bull had to immediately retire his car.

Perez appeared crestfallen in the cockpit as Red Bull wheeled his car back into the garage but, speaking to Sky Sports F1 a short while later, the Mexican struck a defiant tone when discussing why he felt he was right to launch a challenge for the lead.

He said he would have regretted not trying the bold around-the-outside move at his home race and was “proud” of how he had driven this weekend, even if he was “sad” about how it had ultimately ended. He also said that although he had expected Leclerc to brake earlier he felt the accident was a “racing incident”.

“I had a tremendous start. The gap was there and if I’m fully honest, since I was starting the race, I would be really disappointed to be on the podium today knowing I had a chance to go for the lead and I didn’t take it,” Perez said.

Sergio Perez reflects on a heartbreaking day for him in Mexico as he suffered a first-lap DNF in his home race

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Sergio Perez reflects on a heartbreaking day for him in Mexico as he suffered a first-lap DNF in his home race

Sergio Perez reflects on a heartbreaking day for him in Mexico as he suffered a first-lap DNF in his home race

“I just went for it. To be honest, I didn’t expect Charles – he was in the middle, he had less room to manoeuvre – to brake as late as Max and I did.

“I think simply there was no room for three cars. It was a total racing incident and with hindsight…I shouldn’t say that…but in hindsight, I should back off and go home. Especially at your home Grand Prix and two times in a row on the podium. I just wanted to give it all and totally went for it.”

Perez, who has never won his home race in eight attempts and has found himself coming under increasing pressure and scrutiny over his performances in recent months next to Verstappen, insisted: “I’m very sad with the end result because on the first lap, to end the race at your home Grand Prix it’s definitely really sad.

“On the other side, I am extremely proud of myself because I gave it all. I’m very proud of my team. We gave it all for the whole weekend and probably the best start of the year, so we just went for it.”

Christian Horner reflects on an eventful Mexico City GP, with Sergio Perez crashing out on the opening lap, Max Verstappen claiming a 16th win of the season and Daniel Ricciardo picking up P7

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Christian Horner reflects on an eventful Mexico City GP, with Sergio Perez crashing out on the opening lap, Max Verstappen claiming a 16th win of the season and Daniel Ricciardo picking up P7

Christian Horner reflects on an eventful Mexico City GP, with Sergio Perez crashing out on the opening lap, Max Verstappen claiming a 16th win of the season and Daniel Ricciardo picking up P7

Horner defends Perez: ‘You can’t blame him’ for trying for lead

Red Bull have continued to back Perez, who has a contract at the team until the end of next season, amid a run of form which has not only seen him drop a long way away from runway champion Verstappen in the points standings but fall into the clutches of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in a battle for second place.

By finishing runner-up to Verstappen in Sunday’s race, Hamilton is now just 20 points behind Perez with three Grands Prix and one Sprint to come over the season’s final four weeks. Indeed, had the Briton not been disqualified from the runner-up finish in Austin last week on technical grounds, the pair would now be level on points.

Perez’s latest setback came on a weekend that Daniel Ricciardo, who has made clear his desire to return to the seat next to Verstappen in future, produced a brilliant drive to take seventh place for his first points since returning to AlphaTauri in the summer.

Perez’s Red Bull team boss, Christian Horner, defended the Mexican’s right to attempt the overtake.

“For Checo, just absolutely gutting. [His] home race,” Horner told Sky F1. “He had a rocket-ship launch and had so much momentum going into that first corner, you can’t blame him for going for it to try and take the lead at his home race.

“He’s got 13 years of experience in Formula 1 and when you’re going through a difficult moment it’s important to support him. He was having a great weekend up until that point and he was going for the lead at his home race, in Mexico City. It’s insane the amount of support behind him. Three into one doesn’t go and unfortunately, he was just on the wrong side of it.”

The verdict of the Sky F1 pundits on the Perez-Leclerc collision

Jenson Button, Danica Patrick and Natalie Pinkham discuss Sergio Perez's early incident that led to his retirement from the Mexico City GP

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Jenson Button, Danica Patrick and Natalie Pinkham discuss Sergio Perez’s early incident that led to his retirement from the Mexico City GP

Jenson Button, Danica Patrick and Natalie Pinkham discuss Sergio Perez’s early incident that led to his retirement from the Mexico City GP

Martin Brundle:

“Sergio rolled the dice a little bit. He instinctively thought he was on the racing line, he would brake later, had a lot of momentum, those on the inside, the dirtier part of the track and more acute angle into the first corner might brake a little bit earlier.

“But Charles Leclerc didn’t. He braked every bit as late, as he’s entitled to do. Leclerc had a few centimetres to his right but nowhere near enough to avoid that contact with Perez.

“Perez said he ‘went for it and was proud of myself. I would have hated myself if I hadn’t had gone for it’. I feel very sad for him and sad for the crowd.”

Danica Patrick:

“Sergio had a run and I understand you’re trying to do what you can with that run. Maybe he thought that Charles was going to lift [off the throttle] because he had momentum but, at the end of the day, the last one in, first one out, and three wide is not going to work.

“He’s got to just trust that he has an incredible car. He has a Red Bull car – just be patient and let the race play out a little bit and get a solid finish and get on the podium.”

Jenson Button:

“Three into one through here does not work. Charles had nowhere to go.

“I think Checo thought he had enough room for Charles on the inside, else he wouldn’t have turned in. He didn’t want to crash, but he just didn’t judge the situation of two cars inside him.

“This is the issue when you have cars that start really well and cars that don’t start so well, and the drag is so long to Turn One. What is Checo supposed to do? He couldn’t just lift off before the corner and pull in behind because looking at that [replay] there were cars there. So they would have had the opportunity to drive down the outside of him and cause mayhem,

“So it’s tricky but it’s when you get to that point of deciding ‘I’m going to turn in now but I need to give them room. Maybe I’ll just run off track a bit and come back on.'”

Leclerc: ‘I couldn’t do anything’ to avoid crash

Charles Leclerc said he couldn't do anything to avoid a collision with Sergio Perez on the opening lap of the Mexico City Grand Prix

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Charles Leclerc said he couldn’t do anything to avoid a collision with Sergio Perez on the opening lap of the Mexico City Grand Prix

Charles Leclerc said he couldn’t do anything to avoid a collision with Sergio Perez on the opening lap of the Mexico City Grand Prix

Leclerc, who sustained front-wing damage in the collision but was able to continue and finished third, said he felt sympathy for Perez but stressed the incident was out of his hands.

“I tried my best to stay on the right as close as possible to Max but I think Checo didn’t know that, started to turn in and we collided,” said the Ferrari driver.

“It’s a bit of a shame that it happens to Checo at his home race. I could hear that many fans were disappointed, and I can understand that, but on the other hand, I couldn’t do anything better, unfortunately.”

Podium finishers react to the crash | Hamilton: ‘He did me in Qatar!’

Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen were in the cool-down room to review a chaotic Mexico City GP which saw crowd favourite Sergio Perez crash out on the first lap.

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Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen were in the cool-down room to review a chaotic Mexico City GP which saw crowd favourite Sergio Perez crash out on the first lap.

Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen were in the cool-down room to review a chaotic Mexico City GP which saw crowd favourite Sergio Perez crash out on the first lap.

Watch in the video above as Verstappen, Hamilton and Leclerc react to the sight of Perez’s flying Red Bull in replays of the start collision, in the cool-down room at the end of the race.

Hamilton can be heard likening the incident to the one he took fault for at the Qatar GP on October 8, when he crashed out at that race’s first corner after clipping team-mate George Russell’s wheel as the Mercedes drivers went three abreast into the first corner with Verstappen.

F1 heads straight to Brazil for the final leg of the Americas triple header and the last Sprint weekend of the 2023 season. Watch every session from the Sao Paulo Grand Prix live on Sky Sports F1 from Friday, with Sunday’s race at 5pm. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW



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Mexico City GP: Can Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz deny Max Verstappen record-breaking F1 victory?


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Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc says he is not celebrating pole anymore despite finishing first in Q3, while Carlos Sainz says he expects Max Verstappen to be quicker in Sunday’s Mexico City GP

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc says he is not celebrating pole anymore despite finishing first in Q3, while Carlos Sainz says he expects Max Verstappen to be quicker in Sunday’s Mexico City GP

Very few people expected Ferrari to lock out the front row for the Mexico City Grand Prix but Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz performed when it mattered most at the business end of qualifying.

The Ferrari duo got their tyres into the optimal working range as Max Verstappen admitted his Red Bull car got away from him as he pushed a little too hard.

But, given Red Bull have only been beaten once on a Sunday all season, world champion Verstappen inevitably remains favourite for the 71-lap race – which starts at 8pm live on Sky Sports F1 – when he will aim to beat his own record of 15 wins in a single campaign

Much of Ferrari’s hopes will likely rest on the race’s opening seconds and holding one-two formation on the long run down to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez’s first corner.

In 2019, Leclerc started from pole alongside then-Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel and they kept the field at bay after the 811m charge to the opening right-hander. But, it can get very feisty there as Lewis Hamilton and Verstappen showed in that same race when they made contact just behind the leaders.

In 2021, Verstappen made a stunning move late on the brakes to overtake the Mercedes of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, so don’t be surprised if we see a three-wide moment going into the first corner.

Look back at some of the most dramatic moments to have taken place at the Mexico City Grand Prix

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Look back at some of the most dramatic moments to have taken place at the Mexico City Grand Prix

Look back at some of the most dramatic moments to have taken place at the Mexico City Grand Prix

“It’s a very difficult race. Everything can happen, especially with the cooling. Whichever car is behind can do a bit more management, so it can play in our favour but for that, we need a good start,” said Leclerc.

“Starting first here is always tricky to keep that position into the first corner but we have had pretty good starts here, so I’m confident we can keep that place.

“This year Max has been extremely strong on the race pace so at the moment we still have a lot of work to do to match them with our race pace.

“It’s a very special track for strategy, especially with high altitude, tyre management will be a huge thing. We will have to be on top of this. For the strategy, we will adapt on the go to try and keep that first place.”

Charles Leclerc claimed pole position in a hectic Mexico City qualifying, with Lando Norris failing to make it out of Q1

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Charles Leclerc claimed pole position in a hectic Mexico City qualifying, with Lando Norris failing to make it out of Q1

Charles Leclerc claimed pole position in a hectic Mexico City qualifying, with Lando Norris failing to make it out of Q1

How might Ferrari play the start to keep Verstappen behind?

If all goes to plan for Ferrari, Leclerc should immediately move over to the right-hand side from pole to tow team-mate Sainz down to Turn One and leave Verstappen with no slipstream, potentially leaving the Dutchman vulnerable to Daniel Ricciardo – who qualified a superb fourth for AlphaTauri – or the Mercedes’ of Hamilton, sixth, and George Russell, eighth.

Then, Sainz should go to the outside of Leclerc in the braking zone and not race his team-mate too hard so the Ferrari pair can retain their one-two positions.

Asked by Sky Sports F1 if the team-mates can work together at the start, Sainz said: “If we can of course. But it’s impossible to predict whether we will be able to do so. A few metres better start than Max or Charles and suddenly we cannot play with slipstreams anymore.

“I will just try and do the best possible start because I am starting on the dirty side so my start will be weaker than Max and Charles, then we can see where we are at.”

Daniel Ricciardo says it's 'pretty cool' to qualify fourth for the Mexico City Grand Prix and admits having a lot of cars behind him on the grid is a nice feeling

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Daniel Ricciardo says it’s ‘pretty cool’ to qualify fourth for the Mexico City Grand Prix and admits having a lot of cars behind him on the grid is a nice feeling

Daniel Ricciardo says it’s ‘pretty cool’ to qualify fourth for the Mexico City Grand Prix and admits having a lot of cars behind him on the grid is a nice feeling

Will Ferrari be able to manage their tyres?

On paper, strategy shouldn’t be too difficult for the Mexico City Grand Prix because it’s a low-degradation track, so a one-stopper should be the way forward.

The only big threat Ferrari will face if they are one-two is from an undercut or overcut. It’s likely that Verstappen will have to overtake one, or both, of Leclerc and Sainz on the track – perhaps in a similar fashion to Monza back in September when he overcame both to win.

It’s tyre management where Ferrari could be vulnerable compared to the usually exceptional wear Red Bull have had this year. Keeping the tyres in the right window will be just as important as the wear though given the altitude of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, which is 2.2km above sea level.

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff says that the Ferraris came out of nowhere after they took a shock one-two ahead of Max Verstappen at the Mexico City GP

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Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff says that the Ferraris came out of nowhere after they took a shock one-two ahead of Max Verstappen at the Mexico City GP

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff says that the Ferraris came out of nowhere after they took a shock one-two ahead of Max Verstappen at the Mexico City GP

Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur suggested that there could be other factors that come into play due to the nature of the track.

“On the long stints, we mainly focused on cooling (on Friday), like Mercedes, McLaren and Red Bull. Everyone will be more focused on the brakes and engine,” said Vasseur.

As for Sainz, he may have to play rear-gunner behind Leclerc in order to keep Verstappen behind and he is not too optimistic about his chances.

Max Verstappen says he doesn't understand why he is under investigation for stopping in the pit lane and causing a traffic jam during Q1 of the Mexico City GP

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Max Verstappen says he doesn’t understand why he is under investigation for stopping in the pit lane and causing a traffic jam during Q1 of the Mexico City GP

Max Verstappen says he doesn’t understand why he is under investigation for stopping in the pit lane and causing a traffic jam during Q1 of the Mexico City GP

“It will be very difficult because of the race pace they have. Normally one way or the other, or by simply offsetting their pace with a tyre advantage, they can finish ahead,” admitted the Spaniard.

“Given their race pace, at one point or another, he will have a chance to overtake us and it will be up to us to manage the strategy and situation to keep him behind.”

As for Verstappen, he didn’t have much to say post-qualifying and appeared to be quietly confident about his chances of winning as long as he can get through the opening corners unscathed.

Max Verstappen and George Russell are under investigation for stopping in the pit lane causing a traffic jam during Q1 of the Mexico City GP

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Max Verstappen and George Russell are under investigation for stopping in the pit lane causing a traffic jam during Q1 of the Mexico City GP

Max Verstappen and George Russell are under investigation for stopping in the pit lane causing a traffic jam during Q1 of the Mexico City GP

“I always learned that you can never repeat the same start,” said Verstappen in response to a question about whether he could repeat that surging Mercedes-beating getaway from the same position on the grid two years ago.

“Of course you can look at it. Depends on how good your start is, the line into the first corner, track conditions.

“It’s more just an instinct and once you do your start you make your mind up on what you want to do. It’s a long race. It’s not won or lost at the first corner.”

Asked about his confidence in winning he said: “Good. Yep. I also have two hard tyres. Nobody else has them around me, so that could be an advantage.”

Ferrari certainly caused a surprise on Saturday and victory for them on Sunday would be a shock going by Verstappen’s calm manner.

Pit lane chaos continues as another queue forms at the end of Q2 and Yuki Tsunoda runs over a rear jack

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Pit lane chaos continues as another queue forms at the end of Q2 and Yuki Tsunoda runs over a rear jack

Pit lane chaos continues as another queue forms at the end of Q2 and Yuki Tsunoda runs over a rear jack

When to watch the Mexico City GP live only on Sky Sports F1

Sunday
6.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday Mexico City GP build-up (also on Sky Sports Main Event)
8pm: The MEXICO CITY GRAND PRIX (also on Sky Sports Main Event)
10pm: Chequered Flag: Mexico City GP

F1 is in Mexico for the middle leg of the Americas triple header. Watch the Mexico City Grand Prix live on Sky Sports F1, with Sunday’s race at 8pm. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW



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