The 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix is the latest edition to the Formula 1 calendar and Oscar Piastri became the first driver to take the fastest lap at the race with a 1:35.490 which he set on Lap 47 shortly after pitting for medium tyres to comply with regulations.
It began with drama as the lights went out. Max Verstappen aimed to overtake Charles Leclerc for the lead but completely missed the corner and forced the Ferrari off for which he would later earn a five-second time penalty for.
Whilst Carlos Sainz hit Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez appeared to hit Valtteri Bottas and Fernando Alonso rocketed into the corner with far too much speed and spun. For the trio of incidents, no investigations were held.
Lando Norris crashed out of the race on Lap 4 in a strange incident that saw his McLaren just seem to lose its stability despite running in a straight line.
Verstappen attempted to push on to build a gap to serve his penalty but in the process he hurt his tyres and Leclerc came back at him to take the lead. The reigning world champion, in his eagerness to get back to the front after pitting, also managed to crash with George Russell‘s Mercedes leaving the latter with damage.
It was a lead that he would maintain until the second half of the latest American race, before he was passed by Perez. He then momentarily took the lead back off Perez before later dropping behind both Red Bulls whilst struggling with tyre degradation.
However it wasn’t over yet. On the final tour of the Las Vegas Strip Circuit, the Ferrari came back at the Red Bull in the second last-lap drama for Perez in as many weeks. Leclerc made a brave all-or-nothing move and got the runners-up back from the Mexican, before they had a scrap all the way to the finish line with the Monegasque managing to get there by just 0.171 of a second.
Las Vegas GP surprisingly good
Verstappen went on to win his 18th race of the year, and on paper the final classification would make it seem as though it was a boring race but it was fairly interesting.
With drivers battling the colder temperatures, racers were rewarded if they were more confident on the brakes than their rivals and it was certainly an incentive to take risks.
Combined with the difficulty in keeping temperature in the tyres, the grid faced a tough challenge to get over the line and the race was full of highlights and drama.
With the jury still out on the circuit in the long term, considering it’s a new surface and very cold, if the race can retain it’s winter spot on the F1 calendar then it might prove to be a grand prix to look forward to in the future.