Action-packed Las Vegas GP saw Verstappen defeat both Leclerc and Perez to score his 18th win this season.
The Las Vegas GP may have gotten off to a rocky start, but the venue delivered plenty of action on race day. Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez all led the race at some point, but Verstappen ended up taking his 18th win of the season. And it was a hard-fought win, with Verstappen overcoming a penalty, wing damage and overtaking his rivals along the way.
- Vertsappen wins, 2.070secs from Leclerc
- Perez goes from P11 to P3
Verstappen wins Las Vegas GP thriller
Verstappen took the lead at the start, but was handed a five-second time penalty for forcing Leclerc off track. Leclerc then passed Verstappen on Lap 16, just before the Red Bull driver headed into the pits to serve his penalty.
While trying to claw his way back into the lead, Verstappen collided with George Russell, with both cars picking up some damage in the process. Russell was given a five-second time penalty for the incident.
Down the order, Sergio Perez was gaining ground, having pitted on the opening lap after contact with Valtteri Bottas. The Safety Car – brought out to clean up the debris on track following the Verstappen/Russell clash – gave Perez the perfect opportunity. The Mexican took his final pitstop and emerged just behind Leclerc. He briefly even took the lead, but Leclerc repassed him a few laps later.
All of this allowed Verstappen to catch up and he cleared both Perez and Leclerc to take victory. With this, the Red Bull driver now equals Sebastian Vettel’s tally of F1 wins. “It was a tough one,” Verstappen admitted.
“I tried to go for it [with Leclerc] at the start. I think we both braked quite late, then I just ran out of grip and we ended up a bit wide, so the stewards gave me a penalty for that. Of course, that put us a little bit on the backfoot, I had to pass quite a few cars, then the Safety Car again. At the point already there was a lot going on in the race,”
“Once we had the message to the end we could go flat-out. You could clearly see with the DRS around here it was very powerful, so even when you would take the lead, if the guy behind would stay in the DRS, he would still have an opportunity to come back at you. I think it created quite a lot of good racing here today, so it was definitely a lot of fun.”
Leclerc defeats Perez for P2
Leclerc locked up into Turn 14, handing P2 to Sergio Perez. But the Ferrari driver remained within DRS range and pulled off a move on the very last lap, into the Turn 14 braking zone, to reclaim P2.
Russell finished P4 on track, but his penalty dropped him to eighth place. This handed P4 to Esteban Ocon. Lance Stroll was fifth, followed by Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri completed the top 10.
There’s just one more F1 race to go this year, with Abu Dhabi set to host the finale on November 24-25.
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