2023 Las Vegas F1 GP Race analysis by Peter Windsor
The inaugural Las Vegas street race, with its extended straights, challenging corners, and dual DRS zones, delivered an electrifying spectacle of Formula 1 racing. The weekend activities, from practice to qualifying, hinted at a fierce contest primarily between the teams of Red Bull and Ferrari, predictions that were soon realized in an intense battle on the track.
Early in the race, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc seemed set for a triumphant finish, displaying remarkable skill and control. However, a strategic decision by Ferrari to keep Leclerc on slightly older hard Pirelli tyres, while Red Bull opted for fresh ones during a crucial Safety Car intervention, proved pivotal. Leclerc, despite regaining the lead and demonstrating resilience, faced increasing challenges with tyre wear, eventually securing a commendable second place after a gripping duel with Red Bull's Sergio Perez.
Meanwhile, Max Verstappen of Red Bull overcame a series of setbacks, including a five-second penalty due to an early incident with Leclerc and a collision with Mercedes' George Russell, causing front wing damage. Verstappen's skillful recovery and eventual victory not only marked his 53rd career win, equaling Sebastian Vettel's record, but also contributed to Red Bull's record-breaking 19th win of the season, surpassing Mercedes' 2016 achievement.
In a twist of events, George Russell, initially finishing fourth, was relegated to eighth place following a penalty related to the incident with Verstappen. This placed him behind his teammate, Lewis Hamilton. Alpine's Esteban Ocon and Aston Martin's Lance Stroll showcased impressive performances, securing the fourth and fifth positions, respectively, while Ferrari's Carlos Sainz finished sixth. Sainz's potential for a front-row start was hampered by a penalty resulting from an earlier incident involving a loose manhole cover.
Fernando Alonso, in the second Aston Martin, had a fluctuating race, finishing ninth. In contrast, McLaren-Mercedes' Oscar Piastri managed to grab the final point and the fastest lap of the race, a notable achievement for the rookie. His teammate, Lando Norris, was fortunate to emerge unscathed from a high-speed opening lap crash, attributed to a combination of a heavily fuel-laden car and sub-optimal tyre temperatures.
Veteran F1 journalist Peter Windsor provides an in-depth analysis of these pivotal moments in his latest video review, offering insights into the strategies and performances that defined this thrilling race in Las Vegas.
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