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I can't wait for the F1 race in Las Vegas this weekend! As much as I like the current grid in its state, I always make a fantasy grid of all the drivers I wish was racing instead. There's a number of drivers to choose from, but I like to pick the ones that would have the best odds to win a championship (or just make a fun race). Sometimes, I even like to pick a driver at a certain point in their career for some extra chaos!

I was reviewing my list this morning, and realized I left out my favorite driver of all! But in hindsight, I guess he never could have made the list in the first place.

Here's my wish-list grid (in qualifying order):

Logan Sargeant
Daniel Ricciardo
Kimi Räikkönen (2019)
Marcus Ericsson (2018)
Sergio Perez
Pastor Maldonado (2015)
Fernando Alonso
Jules Bianchi
Lance Stroll
Felipe Massa (2016)
Kevin Magnussen
Alexander Albon
Zhou Guanyu
Nico Hulkenburg
Esteban Ocon
Michael Schumacher (1991)
Antonio Giovinazzi (2017)

Can you tell me who my favorite driver is? And why I couldn't have included him in the list?

HINT 1:

This puzzle really only works with the Vegas Grand Prix... although I guess I could have posted it during Monaco

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think this is enough for a partial answer yet, but I have noticed that (rot13) gur qeviref' tevq cbfvgvbaf ner qrpvqrq ol gnxvat gurve pne ahzoref, rvgure sebz 2023 be sebz gur yvfgrq frnfba, naq fbegvat gurz va nfpraqvat beqre. I've also noticed that (rot13) zbfg bs gurz sbez n pbagvahbhf frg bs cevzr ahzoref, ohg bar cevzr vf zvffvat naq fvk aba-cevzrf ner zvkrq va gurer. $\endgroup$
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Nov 16, 2023 at 19:41
  • $\begingroup$ I immediately noticed that rot13(bar jryy xabja qevire vfa'g zragvbarq ohg V cerfhzr gur chmmyr vg gb svther bhg jul ur qbrfa'g znxr gur yvfg). $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 16, 2023 at 21:07
  • $\begingroup$ Another observation following Hint 1: (rot13) nyy gur qeviref' pne ahzoref nccrne ba n ebhyrggr jurry. $\endgroup$
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 8:00

1 Answer 1

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I noticed immediately that

the drivers' grid positions are decided by taking their car numbers, either from 2023 or from the listed season, and sorting them in ascending order.

Logan Sargeant: 2
Daniel Ricciardo: 3
Kimi Raikkonen (2019): 7
Marcus Ericsson (2018): 9
Sergio Perez: 11
Pastor Maldonado (2015): 13
Fernando Alonso: 14
Jules Bianchi: 17
Lance Stroll: 18
Felipe Massa (2016): 19
Kevin Magnussen: 20
Alexander Albon: 23
Zhou Guanyu: 24
Nico Hulkenburg: 27
Esteban Ocon: 31
Michael Schumacher (1991): 32
Antonio Giovinazzi (2017): 36

Thanks to Hint 1, I noticed that

all of their car numbers appear on a standard roulette wheel, which contains the numbers from 0 to 36. Las Vegas and Monaco are both known for their casinos, hence why this grid only works for those races.

After some nudging from M Oehm, I realised that the next step was to

map out those numbers on the roulette table's betting layout and see if they made a pattern: enter image description here

The resulting pattern is in fact

Braille: ⠃⠕⠞⠞⠁⠎

That Braille spells out the name of your favourite driver: Valtteri BOTTAS.

The reason he couldn't be included in the list is that

his car number is 77, which doesn't appear on a roulette wheel - though you will find 7s on a slot machine!

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  • $\begingroup$ You are so much closer than you realize! $\endgroup$
    – JGibbers
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 13:12
  • $\begingroup$ Probably! There must be some sort of clue pointing in the right direction, but I just can't see it. $\endgroup$
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 13:45
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    $\begingroup$ Your findings are ingenious, but I think you are looking at the wrong representation of the grid. (And if have connected the dots properly, your assumption is correct, too.) $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Commented Nov 18, 2023 at 8:18
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps you're just too blind to see. :) (Imagine yourself to the left of the betting layout.) $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Commented Nov 18, 2023 at 10:49
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    $\begingroup$ @MOehm I guess I was. Thanks for the help! $\endgroup$
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Nov 18, 2023 at 11:16

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