Formula 1 arrives in Las Vegas for the penultimate grand prix of the 2023 season, with teams facing many more questions than answers as they prepare to race down The Strip for the first time – and 14 drivers have celebrated with special helmet designs.
Max Verstappen could become the first-ever driver to win three races in the same country in an F1 season, after triumphing at the Circuit of the Americas and in Miami, as he looks to further extend his record-breaking lead at the top of the drivers’ championship.
Heading to the world capital of gambling, there’s lots of potential for some ambitious yet classy designs – as Monaco has been proving for years. Lewis Hamilton‘s roulette-adorned lid for the 2010 Monaco GP was a particular highlight.
Aside from the heady intrigue, there’s plenty of other talking points heading to Las Vegas.
Sergio Perez can confirm second-place in the drivers’ standings – and Red Bull‘s first-ever championship 1-2, as long as he finishes within 6 points of Hamilton after Mercedes‘ nightmare weekend in Brazil.
Toto Wolff admitted Mercedes got their setup wrong at Interlagos (alongside wider issues of uncompetitiveness), but despite three practice sessions in Las Vegas it doesn’t get much easier, with qualifying starting at midnight and temperatures set to plummet as low as 12 degrees Celsius.
It will be a challenge for all the teams though – only FP2 will simulate qualifying conditions (though even that could be disrupted by rain) – and the grand prix will be the first time all weekend that drivers have been on track in that time slot.
Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari should be the most competitive teams, while Mercedes and Aston Martin could struggle more with the high-speed, low-grip track.
However, ultimately it will come down to which team has put in the right simulator and free practice work to nail their setup, something Red Bull and Verstappen have usually nailed in 2023.
Verstappen‘s design isn’t too out-there, especially compared to other possibilities, but fits in well with the light show theme of Vegas.
Sergio Perez showcases the Las Vegas skyline, while the lightbulb name at the back is a nice touch too.
Charles Leclerc‘s special design isn’t his best of 2023, but pairs well with Ferrari‘s one-off livery for Las Vegas.
Carlos Sainz has already tasted victory once in Las Vegas as champion of the Netflix Cup golf tournament alongside Justin Thomas. But as anyone who’s played roulette in Sin City or anywhere else knows, doubling that win is twice as hard.
Anyone with ophidiophobia, look away now.
Oscar Piastri‘s been outshone by Lando Norris in recent races, but manages to win this teammate battle before FP1’s even started.
Fernando Alonso‘s impressively managed to weave an unmistakably Las Vegas look into his usual helmet design, this lid might be the pick of the bunch.
If Lance Stroll‘s pace is as hot as his helmet, he’ll pick up his first-ever grand prix win this weekend.
It’s unconfirmed whether Esteban Ocon just picked this helmet design so he’d get chance to meet Ryan Reynolds. Bonus points if so.
Not a particularly Vegas design from Alex Albon, but it’s still a stunner.
Expect Daniel Ricciardo to be racing fast and furious on The Strip.
Yuki Tsunoda might have had the best helmet designs of the entire F1 grid in 2023. Why isn’t he verified on Twitter though?
The great news for Valtteri Bottas is design only needs a few tweaks and he can use it if F1 ever races in Orlando or Houston too.
A decent attempt, but this design doesn’t quite match Kevin Magnussen‘s Route 66-inspired lid for the Circuit of Americas a month ago.