The 2023 United States Grand Prix was a first for me at Jalopnik: after ages of wondering how to get access to the Formula 1 pre-race grid, I finally figured it out just in time to scoop up access to two grids in one weekend: the sprint race grid and the proper Grand Prix grid.
There’s a lot to take in on an F1 grid. The cars are obviously the stars of the show, but if you’re a keen fashionista or a celebrity aficionado, you’d have been as equally at home; this is a place where the worlds of motorsport and pop culture collide. I know absolutely nothing about fashion or celebrities (to the point where I usually just prowl through Getty to identify the people I could tell were important but could not place), so the focus here is on the cars and their drivers. I wish I could have brought back the rest of the sensory experience as well — the unrelenting heat of the sun, the smell of hot rubber and cooked brakes, the tidbits of multilingual chatter drowned out by the sound of a power unit firing up — but for now, these photos will have to do.
Valtteri Bottas’ No. 77 Alfa Romeo is pushed to its grid slot for the 2023 United States GP weekend sprint race.
And He’s Out
Drivers pilot their cars from pit lane around the track to the starting grid, which means they’re suited and booted well before the start of the event.
Logan Sargeant is currently the only American driver on the grid, but his Williams team went all-out to celebrate his second of three home races.
AMERICA (Part 2)
Haas is theoretically an American team that does just about everything it can to prove it’s actually quite international, thank you very much. Its USGP livery, however, fully adopted the American theme.
Charles Leclerc’s No. 16 Ferrari was de-shoed just before the start of the race.
Don’t look at the Ferrari, it doesn’t have its shoes on!
Many drivers chose to tuck their helmets away while waiting for the race to begin. Not so with Lewis Hamilton, who left his iconic lid on display.
Race Ready Red Bull
Red Bull Racing isn’t an American team, and it also doesn’t have any American drivers, but the crew went all-out with a stars-and-stripes themed livery for the 2023 USGP — on a car it delivered to Austin via helicopter.
The Look Up Turn 1
TV really doesn’t do T1 justice.
Last Minute Tweaks
Some teams set up barriers around their cars to prevent the keen grid-goer from getting too close. Haas is not one of those teams.
A Race Day Sky
Race day dawned hot and sunny in Austin, TX. Keeping the extra tires in the sunlight is quite an ingenious way of keeping them warm.
Carlos Sainz Jr.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. exits his car to wait for the start of the Grand Prix.
No Watches In The Race Car
Watch Guys, I’m sure you’ll all have something to say about Lando Norris’ wristwear.
Pierre Gasly’s Tribute Helmet
Personally, Pierre Gasly stole the show for me this weekend by donning a tribute helmet to François Cevert. Cevert won a single race — the U.S. Grand Prix — in 1971. Two years later, he died at the same event.
Finish The Sentence: Bono My...
Legendary designer Adrian Newey ponders the No. 11 Red Bull — probably wondering why that car is so damn slow compared to his other machine.
Cool As A Cucumber
Check out the little buckets of ice attached to Esteban Ocon’s Alpine. It was grossly hot in Texas, so any amount of cooling was welcome.
Charles Leclerc was ultimately disqualified from the U.S. Grand Prix, but his car looked pretty damn good prior to the start.
My husband and I have this thing we do with our cats, where we lift them over our heads and chant “raise him and praise him.” That is what I think every time someone lifts the nose of an F1 car.
Some More ‘Merica
How cute is the Duracell battery branding on the Williams?
Big Bad Max Verstappen
There it is: the car that has been wholly unstoppable all season long.
Ricciardo’s Pit Board
Daniel Ricciardo made his second debut this season in Austin after finally recovering from a hand injury.
A Look Back
Four cars started the 2023 U.S. Grand Prix from the pit lane, so the starting grid was a little sparse.
On To The Start
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