The Las Vegas GP encountered a bumpy beginning, yet the venue ultimately provided a thrilling spectacle on race day. Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, and Sergio Perez each took turns leading the race. In the end, Verstappen clinched his 18th victory of the season after overcoming a penalty, wing damage, and successfully overtaking his competitors throughout the challenging contest.
Verstappen emerged victorious, securing a 2.070-second lead over Leclerc, while Perez showcased an impressive performance by surging from P11 to claim the third spot on the podium.
Verstappen wins Las Vegas GP
Verstappen seized the lead at the beginning but faced a setback with a five-second time penalty for forcing Leclerc off track. On Lap 16, Leclerc managed to overtake Verstappen just before the Red Bull driver entered the pits to serve his penalty.
In an attempt to reclaim the lead, Verstappen encountered a collision with George Russell, resulting in damage to both cars. Subsequently, Russell received a five-second time penalty for the incident.
Further down the field, Sergio Perez made significant progress, opting for an early pit stop in the aftermath of contact with Valtteri Bottas on the opening lap. The deployment of the Safety Car, necessitated by the Verstappen/Russell collision and the ensuing debris on the track, presented a strategic opening for Perez. Seizing the moment, the Mexican executed his final pit stop and re-entered the race just behind Leclerc. Perez momentarily even claimed the lead, but Leclerc managed to retake the position a few laps later.
This sequence of events allowed Verstappen to close the gap, eventually surpassing both Perez and Leclerc to secure the victory. With this triumph, the Red Bull driver has now equaled Sebastian Vettel's total F1 wins. Verstappen openly acknowledged the challenges, stating, "It was a tough one. I tried to make a move at the start with Leclerc. We both braked late, and I ran out of grip, causing us to go a bit wide. Consequently, I received a penalty from the stewards. That set us back, and I had to navigate through several cars, further complicated by the Safety Car intervention. By that point, the race was already quite eventful."
Leclerc secures P2 finish
Leclerc experienced a lock-up into Turn 14, conceding P2 to Sergio Perez. However, the Ferrari driver showcased resilience, staying within DRS range and executing a decisive move on the final lap, reclaiming the coveted second position at the Turn 14 braking zone.
Despite finishing P4 on the track, Russell's penalty saw him drop to eighth place, elevating Esteban Ocon to P4. Lance Stroll secured fifth place, trailed by Carlos Sainz and Lewis Hamilton. The top 10 was rounded out by Fernando Alonso and Oscar Piastri.
With just one more F1 race remaining this year, all eyes are on Abu Dhabi, set to host the grand finale on November 24-25.
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