Verstappen Wins in Las Vegas, Red Bull Clinch 1-2 in the Drivers Championship

November 18, 2023Ramon Jones
Formula 1

The Las Vegas Grand Prix started off with the majority of the drivers starting on the medium tires. The track was very dusty especially off of the main racing line. At the start contact between Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) came together and Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) spun out. A virtual safety car was released which gave those with damage a chance for a cheap pit stop for new wings. The cars were off and Verstappen built up a 1.5 second lead before Lando Norris (McLaren) crashed out of the race. Norris lost the rear heading into turn 14 which resulted in him contacting the wall and sliding off into the crash lane. The car was totaled, and he was not able to continue. Norris was taken to the hospital for precautionary checks.

Verstappen Penalized for Turn 1 Incident

Max Verstappen was handed a 5 second penalty for forcing Leclerc off of the track into turn 1 at the race start. Verstappen struggled for grip into the first turn. The decision came after 7 laps had gone. When notified via the team radio, Verstappen seemed unbothered by the notion responding with “Thanks, send them [referring to the FIA Stewards] my regards”. At that point Verstappen had already build a 2.3 second lead in the race. He was able to pit just before the half way mark and serve the penalty and come out in P9.

Verstappen made contact again this time with George Russell at the half way point resulting in some front wing damage on the Red Bull and possible floor/side damage on Russell’s Mercedes. The incident was investigated by the stewards and George Russell received a 5 second penalty for turning in on Verstappen. The incident brought out a safety car for debris on the track. After the safety car Verstappen began his charge to the front.

Leclerc Regained Lead

After the Safety car came out for the Verstappen-Russell incident a number of pit stops were triggered which allowed Leclerc to regain the lead of the race. Unfortunately for Leclerc, Perez had just pitted for fresh Hard tires which gave him a major grip advantage. By lap 32 Perez got past Leclerc at the end of the long straight into turn 11.

Perez built up a 1.2 second gap one lap later. However, Leclerc took advantage of a late braking mistake after the long straight to get back ahead of Perez. By this point Verstappen had move his way up and passed Leclerc leaving Perez and Leclerc to battle it out for P2. Leclerc unfortunately returned the favor to Perez on lap 44 where he was also late on the brakes, and ran wide allowing Perez to pass him with ease. Leclerc wasn’t done fighting though. On the final lap of the race Leclerc over took Perez at the end of the long straight stealing away P2. Perez’s P3 finish would however clinch 2nd place in the drivers championship for the Mexican.

Aston Martin Secure a Double Point Finish

Despite a spin out on the first lap, Fernando Alonso was able to bring the car home in the points finishing P9. Stroll who had a a very quiet race. However, he was able to bring home a P5 finish due to George Russell not having served his 5 second penalty. Russell effective finished P8. The finish was exactly what Aston Martin needed. The Aston’s took advantage of Norris crashing out to the race in the battle for fourth in the constructors championship. The double points finish brings Aston Martin within 11 points of McLaren.

With the result Red Bull broke the single season win record at 20 wins in Las Vegas while also securing a 1-2 in the Drivers Championship.

Full Las Vegas Grand Prix Results

1Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT501:29:08.28925
2Charles LeclercFERRARI50+2.070s18
3Sergio PerezRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT50+2.241s15
4Esteban OconALPINE RENAULT50+18.665s12
6Carlos SainzFERRARI50+20.834s8
7Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES50+21.755s6
8George RussellMERCEDES50+23.091s4
9Fernando AlonsoASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES50+25.964s2
10Oscar PiastriMCLAREN MERCEDES50+29.496s2
11Pierre GaslyALPINE RENAULT50+34.270s0
12Alexander AlbonWILLIAMS MERCEDES50+43.398s0
13Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI50+44.825s0
14Daniel RicciardoALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT50+48.525s0
15Zhou GuanyuALFA ROMEO FERRARI50+50.162s0
16Logan SargeantWILLIAMS MERCEDES50+50.882s0
17Valtteri BottasALFA ROMEO FERRARI50+85.350s0
19Nico HulkenbergHAAS FERRARI45DNF0