Verstappen wins Las Vegas Grand Prix
Photo by F-1
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Max Verstappen emerged on top at the end of an action-packed Las Vegas Grand Prix, beating Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc and Red Bull team mate Sergio Perez to the chequered flag in a race punctuated by several incidents and Safety Car periods.
Verstappen took the lead from Leclerc at the start of the race but was promptly handed a five-second time penalty for forcing his rival off the track and then got overtaken by the pole-sitter before serving it at the first round of pit stops.
Leclerc went longer into the race before changing tyres in an opening stint dominated by graining concerns, only for a Safety Car shortly afterwards to allow Verstappen and several other drivers to pit again under caution.
At the decisive restart, Leclerc initially controlled proceedings from Perez, who had benefitted from an early stop after an incident on the first lap, though ageing tyres meant he came under severe pressure.
Verstappen lit up the timesheets in the final laps to clear both his team mate and the leading Ferrari for a landmark win in the City of Lights, while Perez had followed him through to form a one-two, only to be re-passed by a determined Leclerc on the final lap.
Behind, a remarkable rise from Esteban Ocon netted fourth place for himself and Alpine, despite being narrowly beaten by Mercedes’ George Russell to the line. However, Russell had been carrying a five-second time penalty for a clash with Verstappen that brought out the aforementioned Safety Car.
Russell’s penalty also promoted the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll to fifth, while Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz and the sister Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton – who clashed at Turn 1 – also benefitted to take sixth and seventh positions.
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