This weekend’s São Paulo Grand Prix will mark the one-season anniversary of Mercedes’s last victory in Formula 1.

Mercedes that day appeared to be turning a corner after a difficult start to life under the then new regulations. The one-two led by George Russell was a shot in the arm and was assumed to be a sign that it would return to regular victory contention this season.

But 2023 has been scarcely better. Though the team has improved to second in the constructors standings, it is no closer to scoring a meritorious victory.

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Despite his deal being “emotionally” done, Lewis Hamilton remains the 2024 driver market’s biggest unplaced piece. What’s the hold-up? And Daniel Ricciardo’s 2024 outlook is explained as the Aussie seeks to cement his comeback.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Red Bull Racing must be absolutely blushing for the number of compliments it’s getting this year.

Last year’s championship-winning team appears to have penned the defining aerodynamic package of this rules era, with most teams gravitating towards its approach over the off-season.

Learning, copying — whatever you want to call it — is the natural way of things in Formula 1.

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There aren’t many Formula 1-MotoGP crossover opportunities out there, but Lance Stroll found one in Spain as he faced the prospect of sitting out months of the season with broken bones.

The connection was Dr Xavier Mir, the renowned trauma surgeon famous in part for his work on the constantly troubled forearms and wrists of motorcycle riders.

Stroll put his banged-up hands in Mir’s golden ones, and lo and behold he found his way to sixth in the first race of the season — and, in what will come as no surprise to any MotoGP fan, he did so months ahead of when conventional medical wisdom assumed he’d be back.

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The budget cap is the story that won’t go away.

When teams aren’t being accused — or accusing other — of breaking it, they’re making a virtue about how hard they’re working to stay underneath it.

Ferrari is the latest team to admit that they’ve felt the squeeze of the hard financial ceiling — and team boss Mattia Binotto says it’s why the team has fallen behind Red Bull Racing.

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Racing drivers aren’t like normal people.

When a bad case of food poisoning would be enough to keep the average person away from work and in bed for days, the same clearly doesn’t occur to a Formula 1 driver, who feels compelled to ignore the calls for natural recuperation and jump back in the car.

Just ask Lando Norris, who was running as high as third in the São Paulo Grand Prix despite having been unable to eat or drink anything for two days in Brazil.

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It hasn’t taken long for Max Verstappen’s place in the pantheon of driving greats to be weighed up.

His second championship has put him in rare air. He’s now won more titles than 17 of F1’s most iconic legends and is tied with legends like Fernando Alonso, Mika Häkkinen, Emerson Fittipaldi, Jim Clark, Graham Hill and Alberto Ascari.

Only 10 drivers have won more than two championships.

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Few drivers yet to drive a modern Formula 1 car have had their movements as heavily scrutinised as Oscar Piastri, whose sensational disruption to this year’s driver market as one of the biggest stories of the season.

The Melburnian will move to McLaren next season as Daniel Ricciardo’s replacement, but the timing of his switch from Alpine has been the subject of much speculation given the needle between the two teams and the controversy around his intended split.

But a French magazine has spotted Piastri in a private test for McLaren — albeit with some notable differences to tests set up for other drivers.

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Lewis Hamilton has a long and deep history with Brazil. Now it’s been formalised with citizenship.

The Briton has long identified Ayrton Senna as his racing hero and driving force, and it was a dream come true to win his first championship in Sao Paulo in 2008.

In that race he was the villain, defeating home hero Felipe Massa, but his passion was undimmed, and it’s a testament to his affinity for the country that he’s since won over the enthusiastic local crowd to the point that he’s now welcomed back to the circuit as a local favourite.

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The Formula 1 paddock is a cut-throat workplace, but sometimes friendships form in unlikely places.

And after two long, painful and demoralising seasons, Daniel Ricciardo has needed some friends.

Ricciardo occupies an interesting space in F1’s collective consciousness. Two years ago he was one of the most highly rated drivers in the sport, his skills beyond doubt. But his campaigning for McLaren hasn’t met the standards he set for himself.

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