With the 2023 Formula 1 driver’s title practically in the hands of Max Verstappen, Formula 1 fans are now focusing on an all-Spanish duel, that between Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz. The early races of Fernando’s 2023 season were exceptional, with six podium finishes in the first six races, including Monaco where he was in contention for pole on Saturday and was hindered by rain on Sunday.
It should be noted that these races coincided with the darkest period for Ferrari when the SF-23 faced tire degradation issues, lacked race pace, and was unpredictable on any type of circuit. However, from the Spanish Grand Prix, the Maranello team started closing the gap to the English teams by introducing significant updates. Although, in Canada, the two-time world champion delivered one of his best races, even challenging Verstappen for the win, Sainz finished fifth, showing that the new upgrades were starting to work.
Upon arriving in Hungary, Aston Martin had the lowest point of the season, while Ferrari’s car, driven by number 55, performed well. Only Charles Leclerc‘s undercut prevented Carlos Sainz from finishing even higher. In Belgium, fortunes reversed, with Carlos falling victim to a collision in the first corner at the Spa track, resulting in his exclusion from the race after just a few hundred meters.
Monza: Ferrari’s turning point
However, from Monza, Ferrari changed its game entirely. It secured pole position at the Italian track with Sainz and ultimately finished in third place behind the two Red Bulls. The real surprise came in Singapore when the “smooth operator,” one of the nicknames for the Ferrari driver, clinched pole position and victory on the city circuit. Last but not least, he secured sixth place in Suzuka, making it three times that Sainz Jr. finished ahead of his compatriot Alonso, significantly reducing the gap in the standings.
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Looking at the trend of both cars, the British one seems to be struggling while the Prancing Horse is on the rise, also gathering data for the 2024 car. Over the remaining six events, we will see who comes out on top, even though neither of them seems to be particularly concerned about this battle for the “best Spanish driver on the grid.”