Verstappen hits the Jackpot Once Again
Formula 1 was welcomed in style and glamour only Las Vegas can provide. This was the first race in Las Vegas since 1982, where it was held at Ceaser’s Palace. This time, a parking lot would not be converted into a circuit; instead, the infamous Las Vegas strip and other roads became the track for drivers to endure. The race was held on Saturday Night, providing a spectacle of epic proportions with the bright lights of Hotels and everything else Las Vegas has to offer. The anticipation for the race was tremendous, and fans would not be disappointed with it.
Nonetheless, there was controversy during the practice sessions when Carlos Sainz and his Ferrari ran over a loose manhole, severely damaging his car and causing a red flag. Fans were furious as the sessions were forced into the wee hours of the night. Despite all this drama at the start of the weekend, the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix redeemed itself on race day.
The qualifying round laid the groundwork for a thrilling race, with Charles Leclerc securing the pole position and Max Verstappen lining up alongside him at the front. A critical development was Carlos Sainz’s 10-place grid penalty, resulting from Ferrari’s replacement of multiple power unit parts, including the engine, Energy Store, and Control Electronics, after an incident in practice. This incident involved Sainz colliding with a drain cover, causing substantial damage to his vehicle. Despite Ferrari’s appeal for an exemption to replace the Energy Store without incurring a penalty, the stewards enforced the standard penalty in accordance with the regulations. Fans and teams alike found it absurd that they had to be penalized for repairs caused by a faulty track.
The 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix showcased strategic racing and driver skill, highlighted by Max Verstappen’s impressive performance. Verstappen initially took the lead but faced a setback with a five-second penalty for forcing Charles Leclerc off the track. Despite this, he managed a stunning comeback in the later stages. The race began under a Virtual Safety Car due to debris from various incidents involving Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton. Tyre strategies played a pivotal role throughout, with Leclerc initially leading before his pit stop and Verstappen dropping back due to his penalty. The mid-race was marked by intense competition, especially a notable clash between George Russell and Verstappen, leading to another Safety Car intervention.
Verstappen demonstrated his racing prowess in the final laps by overtaking both Leclerc and his teammate Sergio Perez, clinching the victory. In a thrilling final lap maneuver, Leclerc managed to overtake Perez to secure second place. Esteban Ocon also delivered a notable performance, finishing fourth, capitalizing on Russell’s penalty post-collision with Verstappen. Despite starting from a disadvantaged position and an early collision with Hamilton, Carlos Sainz showcased resilience and skill to finish sixth. The race was a testament to Verstappen’s driving acumen and highlighted the strategic depth and excitement inherent in Formula 1, particularly under the dazzling lights of Las Vegas.
The Formula 1 season draws to a close at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where teams and drivers will fight to finish as high as they can in the rankings. The higher they finish, the more money and wind tunnel time teams will receive. So, despite the Championships being secured by Verstappen and Red Bull, plenty is on the line in the season finale.
|CARLOS SAINZ JR
|LANDO NORRIS-LAP 2