In a thrilling showdown at the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix, Max Verstappen faced both the highs and lows of racing as he secured his 18th win of the season. The race was filled with drama, controversy, and adrenaline-pumping action that kept fans on the edge of their seats.
Verstappen, starting alongside polesitter Charles Leclerc on the front row, wasted no time making his move. He dove down the inside of the treacherous Turn 1, eager to seize the lead. However, the brand-new surface of the circuit provided limited grip, making it a challenging endeavor for all drivers. This lack of grip was evident as Fernando Alonso spun off behind them, and other competitors found themselves making contact.
As Verstappen pushed the boundaries of his Red Bull machine, he ventured deep into the run-off area, inadvertently taking Leclerc with him. Despite this bold move, he managed to maintain his lead while the stewards launched an investigation into the incident. Ultimately, the stewards handed down a five-second penalty to Verstappen for pushing another driver off the track.
In the heat of the moment, Verstappen held a different perspective from behind the wheel. He explained, “We both braked quite late to defend the position but I was a bit on the inside. As soon as you go offline here, it’s super low grip. And that’s what happened. I braked and there was no grip. I didn’t mean to push Charles off the track, but I couldn’t slow it down and just kept sliding on four wheels wide. At the time, I was also full of adrenaline, and I was unhappy with the decision. But looking back at it, that was probably the right call.”
Instead of letting the penalty deter him, Verstappen faced another challenge. By the end of the first medium tire stint, Leclerc closed the gap, and the Monegasque driver executed a skillful overtake right before Verstappen’s pitstop. However, a mid-race safety car period gave Verstappen a lifeline. He pitted and donned fresher hard tires, setting the stage for a thrilling comeback.
With the scent of victory in the air, Verstappen showcased his prowess, catching and passing Leclerc once again. Along the way, he had a heart-pounding encounter with Mercedes driver George Russell. Verstappen attempted to pass Russell into Turn 12, but an unsuspecting Russell closed the door, resulting in a collision. Russell was also handed a five-second penalty for his role in the incident.
Verstappen, ever the sportsman, commented on the collision with Russell, saying, “He didn’t do that on purpose. I think he just didn’t expect me to pass him into that corner. Because that’s how it felt, I put it on the inside and he just turned in like there was no one there. So, I guess he didn’t see me.”
In the end, it was a race filled with twists and turns, both on and off the track. Verstappen’s penalty, initially met with disappointment, ultimately proved to be a just call. As he clinched his 18th victory of the season, fans were left with a spectacle that showcased the intense drama and adrenaline rush that makes Formula 1 such an electrifying sport.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about F1 Las Vegas GP
What was the key incident involving Max Verstappen in the F1 Las Vegas GP?
In the F1 Las Vegas GP, Max Verstappen made a daring move by diving down the inside of Turn 1 to grab the lead. However, due to the limited grip on the new track surface, he went deep into the run-off area, unintentionally taking Charles Leclerc with him. This incident led to Verstappen receiving a five-second penalty for pushing another driver off the track.
How did Max Verstappen’s race unfold after the penalty?
Despite the penalty, Max Verstappen’s race was far from over. After an intense battle with Charles Leclerc, he saw his lead evaporate but later retook the lead after a pitstop under a mid-race safety car. Verstappen’s fresher hard tires enabled him to catch and pass Leclerc, securing his 18th win of the 2023 season.
What happened when Max Verstappen encountered George Russell?
Max Verstappen attempted to pass George Russell into Turn 12, but Russell closed the door, resulting in a collision. It’s important to note that Verstappen believed Russell’s actions were not intentional, as Russell likely didn’t expect Verstappen to make a move at that point. Both drivers received five-second penalties for their roles in the collision.
How did Max Verstappen reflect on his penalty after the race?
Initially, Max Verstappen was unhappy with the penalty and had a different perspective from behind the wheel. However, upon reflection, he acknowledged that the penalty was probably the right call, considering the challenging track conditions and the unintended nature of the incident.