Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing clinched his 18th victory of the season in a dramatic Las Vegas Grand Prix. The Dutch driver faced a series of hurdles, including a time penalty, a clash with George Russell, and multiple Safety Car periods, yet emerged victorious in a spectacular fashion.
Verstappen's race began aggressively with a bold maneuver on pole-sitter Charles Leclerc at Turn 1, a move that led the stewards to impose a five-second penalty for forcing Leclerc off the track. Reflecting on this, Verstappen said, “It was a tough one.
I tried to go for it [with Leclerc] at the start...then I just ran out of grip and we ended up a bit wide." This early setback put Verstappen on the defensive, compelling him to make several overtakes throughout the race.
Strategy and Skill Lead to Victory
Despite the initial challenges, Verstappen demonstrated his racing prowess and strategic thinking. He commented on the potency of the Drag Reduction System (DRS) at the Las Vegas track, noting how it contributed to the race's dynamic nature and his strategy.
“You could clearly see with the DRS around here it was very powerful...I think it created quite a lot of good racing, so it was definitely a lot of fun,” he reflected. The incident with Russell at Turn 14 posed another challenge for Verstappen, who had to contend with a damaged front wing for the remainder of the race.
"It looked already quite broken...There was always a bit more understeer, but luckily we could still win the race,” Verstappen explained, underlining his ability to adapt under less-than-ideal conditions. Verstappen's victory was a testament to his skill and adaptability, further cementing his status as one of the premier drivers in Formula 1.
His parting words to the American fans were filled with gratitude and excitement: “A great crowd. I hope everyone enjoyed it – we definitely did. I’m already excited to come back here next year and hopefully try to do something similar”.
A Missed Opportunity for a Red Bull One-Two
While Verstappen celebrated his victory, his teammate Sergio Perez narrowly missed out on making it a Red Bull one-two finish. Charles Leclerc, recovering from his own earlier setback, managed to split the Red Bull drivers, securing a second-place finish and adding to the race's high-stakes drama.