Race Report: Verstappen wins Vegas GP

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 18: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Las Vegas at Las Vegas Strip Circuit on November 18, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202311190274 // Usage for editorial use only //

The F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix may have started with lawsuit-inducing controversy, but the qualifying and race itself delivered some exciting results due to the long straights, big braking zones and slippery road course.

Red Bull secured their first one, two in the driver’s Championship with a terrific recovery drive from Sergio Perez. His run to third, behind Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen, was a great reminder of just how much Sergio loves a road circuit.

Max Verstappen overcame an early 5s penalty via a couple safety cars sessions and good passing to make his way back to the front for a win at a race he’d been relatively negative about all weekend long.

Win

A win for the LVGP group for a redemptive two days by delivering a good qualifying session with a mixed grid and an exciting race on a track that has taken a lot of abuse as being a boring circuit layout. FP1 and FP2 was an unfortunate start to what should have been America’s crown-jewel race and for good reason with a law suit immediately filed against them for the debacle but to be fair, the race was fun to watch and the group delivered an exciting weekend.

A win for Red Bull for taking their first one, two in the championship. Max drove a good race, despite not really enjoying the hype and show of the Vegas GP but taking a win might change his mind a bit. Also a good recovery drive for Sergio finishing 3rd and making some very good moves in the process. Goes a long way to securing his 2024 contract.

A win for Ferrari and Charles Leclerc for a P2 result. The team took it on the chin with a penalty for Carlos Sainz that wasn’t his fault and delivered a great result. It wasn’t a win but the result does bring them within four points of Mercedes for second in the Constructor’s Championship heading into the last race of the year. I was concerned that Ferrari would suffer graining but that didn’t seem to be too bad for them.

A big win for Alpine and Esteban Ocon finishing P4 with a great drive. Also a huge win for Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll for a P5 finish bringing the team within 11 points for 4th in the Constructor’s Championship.

A win for Donny Osmond who did a stellar job with the American National Anthem. Of all the anthems I’ve heard this year, Donny hit it out of the park.

Fail

A fail for LVGP group and the water valve cover as well as frog-marching the fans out of the grandstands just before FP2. I understand the reasons given for these things. As Toto Wolff said, we’ve had drain covers come up before but isn’t that the point? Shouldn’t those lesson of the past have been applied here in Vegas? Vegas shouldn’t be yet another “learning moment” about something that’s occurred a few times before. In fairness, they made the track right for the rest of the weekend and some might suggest that they need to make it right for the fans as well.

A fail for McLaren with Lando Norris crashing out and Oscar Piastri finishing down in 10th. It gives Aston Martin a real chance at taking 4th in the Constructor’s Championship. Thankfully Lando seems to be ok.

A fail for Mercedes with a bad qualifying from Lewis Hamilton and two clashes during the race for both Lewis and George Russell. They were both in the points but lost ground to Ferrari in the championship with just four points between them.

A fail for Williams who qualified incredibly well but due to graining, they dropped out of the points. To be fair, Alex said before the race that graining was going to be their issue.

WTH

I understand the appeal of the Bellagio but that was a long way away from the podium and sort of drained the energy of the moment.

That pass by Lewis on Pierre at the last turn was terrific!

I’m not 100% sure about the massive plinths for the opening show and the podium ceremony. They were nice and high but a bit awkward.

Would love to know what kept Eddie Everywhere from the biggest race on the calendar. Really? This is an event he would have absolutely been at for the camera. Odd that he was missing.

Pirelli Report:

For the start, the majority of drivers (15) went with the Medium, while Stroll and Tsunoda preferred the Soft, with Hamilton, Piastri and Zhou opting for the Hard. The first Safety Car saw several drivers take the opportunity to switch immediately to the C3 to try and move up the order, thus mixing things up with those who chose to stay out on track. The second Safety Car, following the collision between Russell and Verstappen which left debris strewn on the track, then saw the advantage swing in favour of those who had pitted very early on and had not yet made a second stop, as it minimised time lost in pit lane.

As for tonight’s longest stints, Sargeant did 35 laps on a set of Hards and Bottas did 26 on the Medium tyre and also noteworthy, considering the fuel load at that point, was Leclerc’s 21 laps on the set of C4 he used from the start.

Las Vegas Grand Prix Results:

POSNODRIVERCARLAPSTIME/RETIREDPTS
11Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT501:29:08.28925
216Charles LeclercFERRARI50+2.070s18
311Sergio PerezRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT50+2.241s15
431Esteban OconALPINE RENAULT50+18.665s12
518Lance StrollASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES50+20.067s10
655Carlos SainzFERRARI50+20.834s8
744Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES50+21.755s6
863George RussellMERCEDES50+23.091s4
914Fernando AlonsoASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES50+25.964s2
1081Oscar PiastriMCLAREN MERCEDES50+29.496s2
1110Pierre GaslyALPINE RENAULT50+34.270s0
1223Alexander AlbonWILLIAMS MERCEDES50+43.398s0
1320Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI50+44.825s0
143Daniel RicciardoALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT50+48.525s0
1524Zhou GuanyuALFA ROMEO FERRARI50+50.162s0
162Logan SargeantWILLIAMS MERCEDES50+50.882s0
1777Valtteri BottasALFA ROMEO FERRARI50+85.350s0
1822Yuki TsunodaALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT46DNF0
1927Nico HulkenbergHAAS FERRARI45DNF0
NC4Lando NorrisMCLAREN MERCEDES2DNF0
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Overall Race
race-report-verstappen-wins-vegas-gpA fun race to watch with lots of exciting elements. Passing and some interesting results both in qualifying and the race.
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Fuzzy St John

I saw a bit of the old more aggressive Max He was penalized for the move on Leclerc and Russel didn’t even see him. But yea a good race made up for all the rest of the weekend.

Xean Drury

I can’t decide if the race was good because the track was actually good after all, but rather I think the race was good because the track was that bad. Now don’t get me wrong; I hope that every LVGP is this mixed up and exciting. BUT I feel like the main reason why it was so mixed up is because of the asphalt quality. All weekend it looked like it was just not rubbering in, hence cars doing pirouettes and getting sideways often. Also I wonder what the race would be like without DRS. If there were a race… Read more »

Worthless Opinion

Agreed, pretty typical for F1 these days it only works when it doesnt work. A track with super high speeds no grip and no runoff isn’t the right way to make good racing and we’re getting a bad combination of cars closed and boring enough to allow racing on dangerous tracks.

Worthless Opinion

There are some racers who would realize their car is so much faster than everyone else’s they can afford to drive with dignity and sportsmanship. Then there’s Max, who sees it and thinks ‘i can nullify any penalty with this speed so now i can run people off the trac even more”

Peter

exactly. What I fear is that, perhaps like Lauda, one day he’ll have that terrible accident which will cause a rethink. Wish he could rethink now, since he IS so talented, he doesn’t need to be so “casse-coup.”

Last edited 6 months ago by Peter
Xean Drury

IMO the FIA is as much to blame. They’ve not often, in fact one might as well say “never”, slapped Max’s hand for his aggressive style of driving. Thus he’s only been rewarded. Now that the style’s been adopted up and down the grid, there’s no real stopping it. And now that Max IS in a car that can nullify a 5 second, then you can’t blame the kid when its the parents that spoiled them.

Peter

Look, I get it. We’re all so starved for good racing that we happily fall into the mode of finding ANYTHING resembling good racing in the middle of total lowbrow spectacle entertainment. Business demands regulations and constraints to build a marketable platform. I get that too… so we have DRS, failing tires, ridiculously expensive same-spec powerplants. Without the need for business constraints, imagine a 1,300 hp V-12 in a current chassis… no DRS, etc. But the business IS a business and so we get the desperate F1 need to “buy” America with the Vegas la-di-dah show…(think Redford’s line in The… Read more »