2:18 PM UTC – November 19, 2023
(Reuters) – Team by team analysis of Saturday’s Las Vegas Grand Prix, penultimate race of the Formula One season (listed in championship order):
RED BULL (Max Verstappen 1, Sergio Perez 3)
Verstappen took his record-extending 18th win of the season and Red Bull’s record 20th of the campaign. The 53rd career victory also completed a U.S. triple for the year and sent him level with Sebastian Vettel in the all-time lists. The Dutch driver started on the front row and seized the lead at the start, pushing Ferrari’s Leclerc wide and collecting a five-second penalty that he served in the pits. He then fought back from ninth, colliding with Mercedes’ Russell on the way, to finish 2.070 clear of Leclerc. Perez hit Alfa Romeo’s Bottas at the start and pitted for a new front wing before going from last to lead, dropping back as Verstappen overtook and then losing out to Leclerc on the last lap. He still secured Red Bull a first one-two in the drivers’ standings.
MERCEDES (Lewis Hamilton 7, George Russell 8)
Russell finished fourth but a five second penalty for the collision with Verstappen, that brought out the second safety car, dropped him down the order. Hamilton was tagged by Ferrari’s Sainz at the start and dropped from 10th to 14th. Further contact with McLaren’s Piastri left him with a puncture and fighting back from 19th. Mercedes are now just four points ahead of Ferrari with one race remaining.
FERRARI (Charles Leclerc 2, Carlos Sainz 6)
Leclerc started on pole but lost out at the start to Verstappen, who was punished for forcing him off. He passed Verstappen on lap 16 but pitted on lap 22 to hand Perez the lead. The Monegasque led again on lap 27 when Perez pitted, but the Mexican was in front five laps later. Leclerc took the lead back on lap 35 but Verstappen then overtook. Leclerc lost second to Perez on lap 43 but got it back on the last lap. Sainz’s race was wrecked in practice when a loose drain cover wrecked his car and left him with a 10 place grid drop to 12th.
MCLAREN (Oscar Piastri 10, Lando Norris retired)
Norris hit the wall hard on lap three, triggering the safety car. He was taken to hospital for precautionary checks. Piastri started 18th and raced into the points, with a bonus for fastest lap. McLaren are now only 11 points clear of Aston Martin, who gained ground.
ASTON MARTIN (Lance Stroll 5, Fernando Alonso 9)
Stroll gained 10 positions at the start on soft tyres, going from 19th on the grid to ninth. He made two pitstops during safety car deployments. Alonso spun at the start, making contact with Bottas into turn one and ending up facing the wrong way. The safety car helped him back into the race.
ALPINE (Esteban Ocon 4, Pierre Gasly 11)
Ocon gained a place thanks to Russell’s penalty, going from 16th at the start to fourth. He made up eight places on the opening lap and passed Gasly for fifth. Gasly had started fourth, pitted on lap 17 and then struggled on the hard tyre.
WILLIAMS (Alex Albon 12, Logan Sargeant 16)
No points after the pair lined up together on the third row but then struggled with the hard tyre, with the second safety car affecting the strategy. Sargeant was the first U.S. driver to start a home race in the top 10 since Eddie Cheever in Detroit in 1987. He did 35 laps on a set of hards.
ALPHATAURI (Daniel Ricciardo 14, Yuki Tsunoda 18)
The team never really got the tyres working in the conditions. Tsunoda started last on soft tyres, moving up to 12th but then suffering heavy tyre wear. He retired with a power unit problem towards the end but was classified.
ALFA ROMEO (Guanyu Zhou 15, Valtteri Bottas 17)
Bottas started seventh but tangled immediately with Alonso and then Perez, damaging his car’s floor and diffuser. He did 26 laps on a set of medium tyres. Zhou started on hards and moved to mediums but lacked pace.
HAAS (Kevin Magnussen 13, Nico Hulkenberg 19)
Hulkenberg retired with a power unit issue, but was classified, after starting 13th. Magnussen started eighth on mediums, switching to hards on lap 14 and pitting again for more on lap 26.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar