Max Verstappen took the F1 Las Vegas GP win in an exciting finish where Charles Leclerc passed Sergio Perez for second.
It was a slippery start to F1 Las Vegas GP where Red Bull’s Max Verstappen passed pole-sitter Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari at Turn 1. The Dutchman went deep in the corner taking the Monegasque along for which he was handed a 5s time penalty.
Mercedes’ George Russell was third from Alpine’s Pierre Gasly with the Williams pair of Alexander Albon and Logan Sargeant slotting in fifth and sixth. The American driver lost to Haas’ Kevin Magnussen at the start but got back on the same lap.
The Dane was seventh from Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll where both jumped up into the Top 10 after starting from back of the grid. Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the Top 10 after multiple spins at Turn 1.
Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso went for a move on the inside at Turn 1 on Sargeant, but spun due to lack of grip which caught out Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. They all needed to pit to change their front wings and also tyres.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz also spun on his own to drop down the order under the Virtual Safety Car period. Post the re-start, McLaren’s Lando Norris had an unusual moment to hit the barrier and crash out to bring out the safety car.
Multiple cars pitted but the leaders stayed out as the re-start had Verstappen still in the lead from Leclerc, Russell, Gasly, Albon and Sargeant in the Top 6, with Ocon passing Magnussen for seventh while Hulkenberg was ninth and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda in 10th.
The fights down the order were interesting involving Alonso, Stroll, Perez and Sainz. The Mexican was the driver who was on the move along with the Ferrari driver as they climbed back up to the Top 10 after passes and other cars pitting.
The pack just ahead had Ocon on the move along with McLaren’s Oscar Piastri and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. But the Brit had puncture after a touch with the Australian where both pitted but the Mercedes dropped down the order.
At the front, Verstappen started to lose his tyres and Leclerc caught him well to pass him to lead the F1 Las Vegas GP after which the Dutchman pitted to serve his 5s penalty. Post his return, he was fighting against Russel for track position.
The two touched at Turn 12 when Verstappen tried a move on the inside and Russel turned into him for which he was handed a 5s time penalty. There was another safety car period to clear the debris which helped couple of drivers like Perez and Stroll to pit.
Leclerc had the lead after safety car re-start but Perez was on his tail with Gasly third from Piastri, Verstappen, Ocon, Stroll, Albon, Russell and Sainz to be in the Top 10 with Alonso just outside in 11th as Hamilton climbed his way up to 12th to join the pack.
At the front, Perez passed Leclerc for the F1 Las Vegas GP lead as Piastri passed Gasly who was also passed by Verstappen. The Frenchman then had to fend off teammate Ocon who passed him at Turn 1 but the former re-passed him soon.
However, Ocon came back to re-take fifth as Verstappen passed Piastri for third. Leclerc, meanwhile, came back on Perez to re-take the F1 Las Vegas GP lead. The Mexican lost to Verstappen for second as the Dutchman started to chase Leclerc.
He caught him well and passed to take the F1 Las Vegas GP lead with Leclerc being chased by Perez. A late stop for Piastri dropped him outside the Top 10 as Ocon moved up to fourth from Stroll after Gasly started to lose out while managing a battery issue.
Even Russell, Sainz, Alonso and Hamilton passed him. In fact, the Brit started to close in on Stroll while Hamilton passed Alonso for eighth. Gasly held 10th but Piastri was fast catching him to take the final point away from him in a late charge.
While Verstappen led the way, a moment at Turn 12 allowed Perez to take second from Leclerc but the Monegasque stayed with him. Behind Ocon held fourth but Russell caught him well towards the end after passing Stroll, who well in the clutches of Sainz.
Hamilton was eighth from Alonso as Piastri cut 8s on Gasly to take 10th. At the front, Verstappen tried to help Perez on the final lap but it was not enough as Leclerc managed to pass him for second and keep it on the line by 0.171s.
Verstappen eventually won F1 Las Vegas GP from Leclerc and Perez, as Russell passed Ocon for fourth but a 5s penalty dropped him to eighth allowing the Frenchman to end up fourth from Stroll after starting in 16th and 14th respectively.
Sainz was sixth from Hamilton with Russell, Alonso and Piastri rounding out the Top 10. Gasly was 11th from Albon with Magnussen 13th, AlphaTauri’s Daniel Ricciardo 14th, Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu 15th, Sargeant 16th and Bottas in 17th as Tsunoda and Hulkenberg were late retirements.