The Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix was primed to be spectacular and the race certainly didn’t disappoint.
Although Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen notched yet another win, a record 18th this season, he was under pressure to the end and only managed to finish a couple seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. Red Bull’s Sergio Perez rounded out the top three, finishing a few fractions of a second behind Leclerc.
Saturday’s race, which started at 10 p.m., was the first F1 race in Las Vegas since 1982. It took place on a street circuit that incorporated the famous Las Vegas Strip, and saw action right from the start, when Verstappen ran pole-sitter Leclerc off the track at Turn 1 to take the lead.
Farther back some drivers spun out of control, causing the virtual safety car to come out to clear some debris. Racing resumed on lap three, but then McLaren’s Lando Norris crashed into the barriers, requiring the actual safety car to emerge.
Once racing resumed for the second time, Verstappen was still in the lead but was then given a five-second penalty for his first-lap incident, which enabled Leclerc to reclaim the lead on lap 16, drawing cheers from the spectators. Meanwhile, Verstappen was working his way back to the lead, and at one point encountered wheel-to-wheel contact with Mercedes-Benz AMG’s George Russell, for which the Mercedes driver was given a time penalty. The safety car was again required to clean up debris from the incident.
After the race resumed, Leclerc was still in the lead but with older tires than Verstappen and Perez. Verstappen made a successful pass on lap 36 to demote Leclerc to second, and then Perez managed a move as well on lap 43. However, Leclerc wasn’t giving up and he and Perez fought hard to the finish for the final three laps. Leclerc made a brilliant move on Turn 14 of the final lap to reclaim second from Perez and hold it to the end of the race.
Despite Perez only finishing third, he’s now won enough points to secure second in the championship. Verstappen was already named the champion following October’s Qatar Grand Prix. Red Bull was also named the champion in the constructors’ standings following September’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Following the weekend’s action, Verstappen’s unbeatable points tally in the 2023 Drivers’ Championship stands at 549 points. Perez is second with 273 points and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton is third with 232 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull sits on 822 points. Mercedes is second with 392 points and Ferrari is third with 388 points. The final round of the 2023 season, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, is scheduled for this weekend.
Below are the full results from the 2023 Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix:
1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
2) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari +2.070 seconds
3) Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing +2.241 seconds
4) Esteban Ocon, Alpine +18.665 seconds
5) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin +20.067 seconds
6) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari +20.834 seconds
7) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz AMG +21.755 seconds
8) George Russell, Mercedes-Benz AMG +23.091 seconds
9) Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin +25.964 seconds
10) Oscar Piastri, McLaren +29.496 seconds
11) Pierre Gasly, Alpine +34.270 seconds
12) Alexander Albon, Williams +43.398 seconds
13) Kevin Magnussen, Haas +44.825 seconds
14) Daniel Ricciardo, AlphaTauri +48.525 seconds
15) Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo +50.162 seconds
16) Logan Sargeant, Williams +50.882 seconds
17) Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo +85.350 seconds
18) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri – DNF
19) Nico Hulkenberg, Haas – DNF
NC) Lando Norris, McLaren – DNF
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