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Las Vegas Grand Prix 2023

Winners and Losers from 2023 F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix

A thrilling Las Vegas Grand Prix was arguably one of the races of the season as headlines of the right sort were made in Nevada.

Verstappen Las Vegas
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

If you woke up and just saw the result of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, you'd be safe in thinking the race had panned out exactly how you thought.

Max Verstappen won from a Charles Leclerc pole position, Leclerc took second and Sergio Perez bagged a first podium since the Italian Grand Prix.

But oh boy, you'd be wrong.

The 50-lap race was a genuinely strong race with plenty of overtaking - although an improvement could be made by removing the DRS zone on the Strip altogether for 2024 as it was so powerful.

As such, we unusually don't start our round-up of Winners and Losers with a driver or team.

Winner - Las Vegas Grand Prix

After the farcical scenes of Thursday and Friday, this is exactly what the Las Vegas GP needed.

A smooth Grand Prix with people talking about the racing, not the shambles of drain covers.

It was unfortunate that it hit Las Vegas, given the millions pumped into the race by F1, and there have been teething troubles, as with any new race.

The efforts to try and block fans without tickets from viewing the race have been laughable in places, with some watching in reflections, riding escalators up and down or by simply peering through the barriers put in place.

As is ever with a new race, there will be problems, and these were highlighted tenfold for Las Vegas with the tiniest of problems magnified into a crisis.

The track itself was decent for racing throughout with overtaking spots aplenty and it bodes well for the future.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Loser - Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez got mugged on the final lap at Turn 14 by Leclerc.

For a driver renowned for his defensive race-craft, it was a lapse in judgement that cannot be explained.

Even if you thought Leclerc was nowhere near being able to divebomb you, why would you not cover the inside line just in case?

Running a bigger rear-wing and being down on straight-line speed should have made this an even easier decision, but Perez stuck to his line and left a huge door marked 'P2 AVAILABLE HERE' for Leclerc to barge into.

Perez did secure P2 in the Drivers' - Red Bull's sole remaining goal in 2023 to round out its greatest season in F1, but should have celebrated becoming the first team to 20 wins in a season with a one-two, not a one-three.

What did Perez say?

"I ended up locking up a few times, but luckily we kept it on track. Then in the end with Charles, I wasn't expecting him [to make the move]."

			© RN365/Michael Potts
	© RN365/Michael Potts

Winner - Max Verstappen

The numbers.

This was Verstappen's 18th win of the season from 21 races. It is his 16th in the last 17th races, sixth on the trot, and the 53rd of his career, bringing him level with Sebastian Vettel on 53 for third in the all-time list.

That's 26-year-old Verstappen third on the all-time wins list behind only Lewis Hamilton's 103 and Michael Schumacher's 91. At this rate, he smash past those two sometime in the 2026 season.

But he had to work for this one.

His move on Leclerc at Turn 1 was over the top, and while a penalty was harsh, he should have given the place back immediately. His Lap 25 move on George Russell that led to the contact at Turn 12 also reeked of impatience.

He was clearly going to get past with the DRS, so it felt like a needless move, but he survived anyway.

It was far from a clean drive, but at the end of the day, they all count

What did Verstappen say?

“I didn't mean to push Charles off the track, but I couldn't slow it down and I just kept sliding wide on four wheels. So that's why we had to go wide. At the time, you're also full of adrenaline and I was not happy with the decision. But looking back at it was probably the right call."

			© RN365/Michael Potts
	© RN365/Michael Potts

Loser - Mercedes

Losers for different reasons.

Lewis Hamilton was just plain-unlucky to receive a puncture for his minor contact with Oscar Piastri that wrecked his afternoon.

By as late as Lap 25, he was 15th on the board, and climbed to seventh by the flag. That is a job well done on a weekend the Mercedes had pace but just couldn't unlock it.

As for Russell, he confessed to the Verstappen contact being his mistake as he did not see the Red Bull coming, but a five-second penalty was harsh. It did not deserve such a sanction.

Russell rallied to fourth on the road with a charging final stint, but dropped to eighth once it was applied.

It means Mercedes' 20 point lead over Ferrari in the Constructors' has been whittled to four heading to Abu Dhabi.

At least that will provide something interesting to follow at Yas Marina.

What did Russell say?

"I just totally didn't see him in the blind spot. I wasn’t expecting an overtake. I wasn't even really fighting him because we knew that Max wasn’t in our race."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Winner - Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon was dumped in Q1 following a skirmish with Verstappen but capitalised on the Turn 1 chaos and made eight places up on Lap 1 to climb back to respectability and a base from which he could build his race.

His move on Pierre Gasly for fifth place was sketchy with the team-mates coming within inches of throwing away a bucket full of points, but the move arguably made Ocon's race as Gasly became something of a cork in the bottle allowing Ocon to escape up the road from the faster Carlos Sainz, Russell, and Hamilton etc...

He was passed for fourth on the final lap by Russell, but took P4 was his penalty was applied.

It was a much-needed return to a big result for a driver who has somewhat been in the dumps this season.

What did Ocon say?

"It was a chaotic start and we managed to keep it clean and gain eight positions on lap one. After that, we had to be patient, execute a clean race and managing the tyres was really the key. I made some good overtakes along the way and to finish fourth at this amazing venue is really a great result, especially considering how I was left feeling after Qualifying."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Loser - Pierre Gasly

And then we have Gasly.

He started fourth and finished 11th, having been passed by a charging Piastri for the final point late on.

It compounded a miserable night for the Frenchman, who struggled with graining on the Hard tyres and lost all the pace he had.

Alpine seem to be able to have a great race with one car, but never both. It's time the team worked to rectify that.

What did Gasly say?

“It’s a disappointing outcome on my side of the garage to go from fourth on the grid to outside of the points in eleventh place. There are many things for us to review as that is not what we set out to achieve today."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

F1 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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