Charles Leclerc will attempt to convert pole position into victory for the first time in 12 attempts at the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, as capped a sensational qualifying by beating Max Verstappen by four-tenths.
Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz was runner-up but received a harsh 10-place grid penalty meaning Verstappen starts alongside Leclerc, having taken the lead at the first corner the last two times the Monegasque driver has started on pole.
Leclerc seemed optimistic that this time could be different – he’s not won from the front since the 2022 Australian GP and hasn’t tasted victory at all in Formula 1 for almost 500 days but Ferrari do seem competitive in Las Vegas.
Third-place George Russell predicted pure race pace won’t be the main factor though, as he voiced concerns over major graining in the grand prix with heavy braking zones and cold temperatures in Nevada.
Williams were the only team aside from Ferrari to see both drivers reach Q3, as a ruthless Friday night resulted in a very jumbled-up grid for the race.
Just three of the top six drivers in the championship made it through to Q3 as Sainz, Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez and the McLarens all start out of position behind Logan Sargeant, Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas.
Hamilton needs to beat Perez by seven points to keep the fight for second place in the drivers’ championship alive, but the Las Vegas Strip Circuit does appear to promote overtaking, especially into turn 14.
Las Vegas Weather
It’s set to be another chilly night in Sin City, with temperatures hovering around 12 degrees Celsius (54 Fahrenheit). However, that’s nothing less than what they’ve dealt with already this weekend, so teams should have an idea of what to expect.
The race starts at 10 PM local time, the first time cars will have been on track in that slot, but aside from the temperature there’s nothing else extreme.
Wind speed is just 5mph – 144 less than Leclerc‘s pole position average speed – but there’s no chance of rain.