Max Verstappen overcame a five-second penalty and front wing damage to win the first Las Vegas Grand Prix to be staged in over 40 years. The Dutchman battled with Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez during the closing stages but eventually came out on top to register his 18th victory of the campaign.
It was an incident-filled race for Verstappen, who was given a penalty for running Leclerc off the road at Turn One as they battled for position on the opening lap. He went on to pick up some front wing damage in a tangle with George Russell, with the Mercedes ace picking up a penalty of his own for turning in on his Red Bull rival.
A last-lap battle then unfolded between Leclerc and Perez, with the Ferrari man pulling off a late move to claim second place and deny Red Bull an impressive one-two finish. Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, ended up finishing in seventh after suffering a puncture while battling with Oscar Piastri.
It came after he lost a number of positions at the very start in yet another weekend to forget for the seven-time world champion, although he still managed to finish ahead of Russell due to the latter’s five-second time penalty.
Follow Express Sport‘s live Las Vegas Grand Prix updates below…
That’s all we’ve got time for today.
Thanks for joining us to follow what was an eventful Las Vegas Grand Prix, with Max Verstappen coming up trumps once again.
We’ll be back next weekend for the season finale in Abu Dhabi but make sure to stay tuned across Express Sport for all the best reaction from today.
Catch you soon!
Russell takes blame for Verstappen incident
“The incident with Max was totally my fault,” says George Russell, who picked up a five-second penalty after clashing with the Dutchman.
“I didn’t see him. Totally in my blind spot around Turn 11. I wasn’t really expecting the overtake there because you’ve got the big long straight with DRS afterwards.
“We were on course for an easy podium. It was pretty straightforward, recovered to P4 but the five seconds knocked us down to P8.
“This season is one thing after another. Ultimately, the pace was strong but not as strong as the Red Bulls and Ferraris.”
Hamilton issues Mercedes apology
“I apologise to the team after a bad qualifying,” says Lewis Hamilton in the media pen.
“There was so much overtaking, it was like Baku but better. I wasn’t expecting the track so be so great.”
Horner hails ‘great race’
“I thought it was a great race, it was exciting,” says Red Bull team principal Christian Horner on Sky Sports F1.
“You’ve got long straights and braking zones with no grip. A race like that he [Max] liked, and I think that race has changed his opinion on Vegas.
“There have been so many highlights, the 18th win for Max and 20th for us. I think Checo was brilliant today with his comeback drive after damage and he was just so unlucky to be pipped to P2.”
The celebrations begin
The champagne is flowing on the podium in Las Vegas after a highly entertaining race!
Perez bags second place in standings
Today’s result means that Sergio Perez can no longer be caught by Lewis Hamilton in the battle for second place in the Drivers’ Championship standings!
Verstappen: A lot of fun
“It was a tough one, I tried to go for it at the start,” says Max Verstappen.
“We both braked quite late and I just ran out of grip, so we ended up a bit wide. The stewards gave me a penalty for that and it put us on the back foot.
“I had to pass quite a few cars and there was the safety car, so at that point there was a lot going on, then we went flat out.
“The DRS around here was very powerful. Even when you would take the lead, if the guy behind stays in the DRS, he would still have the opportunity to come back to you.
“It created a lot of good racing today. Definitely a lot of fun.”
Leclerc: A really good race
“What a race! I enjoyed it so much,” adds second-placed Charles Leclerc.
“I’m of course disappointed to only finish second but that’s the best we could do. At the start Max on the inside lost a little bit of the grip and brought me onto the outside [of the track].
“We had good pace, we passed him back, and we were really strong overall so that was a really good race.”
The drivers speak
Sergio Perez is the first podium finisher to offer his thoughts in his post-race interview with David Coulthard.
“It started really difficult with a lot of damage initially, we broke the front wing so we basically went all the way to the back of the grid,” he says.
“Progressively, we were picking off cars one by one and things were going well. We had really strong place on that first stint, so we got ourselves back in contention.
“With the safety car, it brought us back into the race. I overtook Charles but I couldn’t overtake him pull away from him.
“I was carrying a bit too much wing on my car, so my straight line speed was a little bit down, then Max came and he passed us both.
“It was difficult out there with gusts of wind that we had. I ended up locking a few times but luckily I kept it on track.
“In the end with Charles, I wasn’t expecting him. He was 0.7 seconds behind but in the braking zone he was there, so good job to him and Max.”
Here’s a look at the final classification after 50 laps of racing in Las Vegas…
1. Max Verstappen
2. Charles Leclerc
3. Sergio Perez
4. Esteban Ocon
5. Lance Stroll
6. Carlos Sainz
7. Lewis Hamilton
8. George Russell
9. Fernando Alonso
10. Oscar Piastri
VERSTAPPEN WINS IN LAS VEGAS!
Max Verstappen takes the chequered flag to win the Las Vegas Grand Prix!
Charles Leclerc manages to hold off Sergio Perez at the death to deny Red Bull a one-two finish.
George Russell comes home in fourth but slips down the order to eighth as a result of his five-second time penalty, which he failed to serve during the race.
Leclerc gets Perez!
Charles Leclerc pulls off a last-gasp move on Sergio Perez to claim second place!
What a move and what a time to get it done!
Yuki Tsunoda grinds to a halt at the side of the circuit after suffering a gearbox issue.
The Japanese driver will take no further part in this race.
Leclerc not giving up
Charles Leclerc is trying his best to get himself within DRS range of Sergio Perez.
Can the Ferrari man regain second place before the chequered flag drops?
Hamilton passes Alonso
Lewis Hamilton overtakes Fernando Alonso to move into eighth place as we enter the closing stages in Las Vegas.
Elsewhere on the track, Nico Hulkenberg pulls over into the run-off area and retires from the race with an unspecified mechanical issue.
Hamilton into the points
Lewis Hamilton moves up into the points as Oscar Piastri pits from fourth before rejoining the action in 12th position.
Sergio Perez, meanwhile, is already pulling away from Charles Leclerc and looks set to finish as the runner-up behind Max Verstappen.
Further down the order, Pierre Gasly is dropping like a stone as Hamilton finds his way past the Frenchman and up into ninth.
Leclerc locks up!
Charles Leclerc locks up under minimal pressure, which allows Sergio Perez to get himself into second place.
It seems as though it will be a Red Bull one-two at the first Las Vegas Grand Prix to be staged in over 40 years.
Six laps to go…
Ten laps to go
Charles Leclerc is still within DRS range of Max Verstappen at the front, but only just.
Sergio Perez remains in third ahead of Oscar Piastri, Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly.
George Russell is currently running in eighth place, while Lewis Hamilton finds himself down in 11th after pulling off a clever move on Alex Albon.
Verstappen gets past Leclerc
Max Verstappen wastes no time at all in getting himself past Charles Leclerc to regain the race lead.
The Ferrari man remains within DRS range of Verstappen but still needs to keep Sergio Perez at bay, with Red Bull having unlocked some extra pace over the last few laps.
Verstappen into second place
Max Verstappen breezes past Sergio Perez with DRS assistance on the home straight.
The Dutchman will now have 13 laps to chase down Charles Leclerc, who still leads but only by five-tenths of a second.
Leclerc into the lead again!
Charles Leclerc retakes the lead of the Las Vegas Grand Prix with a fine move on Sergio Perez!
The Red Bull man was unable to build up a gap on his Ferrari rival and will need to get past all over again.
Verstappen passes Piastri
Max Verstappen finds a way past Oscar Piastri to get himself up into third.
Further down the order, the Alpine duo of Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon battle for fifth place before the latter emerges ahead of his team-mate.
Perez snatches the lead
Sergio Perez gets past Charles Leclerc to move into the lead of the race!
Can the Mexican driver hang on to claim only his second Grand Prix victory of the season?
Piastri up into third
Oscar Piastri sweeps past Pierre Gasly to get himself up into third.
The McLaren driver has been quietly chipping away throughout this race and could be in a strong position to finish on the podium if things continue to go well.
Verstappen noted for unsafe release
Max Verstappen, meanwhile, is noted for a potentially unsafe release in the pit lane but no further action is taken.
It has certainly been a busy night for the stewards up to now!
Russell given time penalty
George Russell has been handed a five-second time penalty by the race stewards following his tangle with Max Verstappen.
The Mercedes driver is deemed to have been at fault for the collision that saw Verstappen lose part of his front wing.
We’re back underway in Las Vegas, with Charles Leclerc leading from Sergio Perez.
Pierre Gasly is now running in third ahead of Oscar Piastri, Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon.
The safety car is deployed, with plenty of debris scattered across the track as a result of Max Verstappen’s heavy-handed battle with George Russell.
Sergio Perez takes the opportunity to make his first pit stop of the day.
He is followed into the pit lane by a gaggle of other drivers including George Russell, Carlos Sainz, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Russell makes contact with Verstappen
Max Verstappen and George Russell collide at Turn 12!
The Dutchman goes for a move down the inside of his British rival and manages to get the job done, but not without clipping off the end of his front wing.
He is told to stay out by his race engineer.
Meanwhile, it remains unclear if Russell’s car has also been damaged.
The incident is quickly noted by the race stewards.
Sainz battles Russell and Verstappen
Carlos Sainz loses two positions on one straight as he is overtaken by George Russell and then Max Verstappen.
The Ferrari man was simply not quick enough to keep them at bay, especially with DRS assistance.
Russell and Verstappen pass Alonso
George Russell finds a way past Fernando Alonso before Max Verstappen sails by the Spaniard at Turn One.
The Mercedes driver is now running in fifth place, with his Red Bull rival not too far behind…
Leclerc pits for new tyres
Charles Leclerc pits from the race lead to fit a new set of hard tyres.
He rejoins the track in third place behind Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez.
It’s a jumbled-up order at the moment, with many of the drivers near the front yet to make their first pit stops.
Charles Leclerc still leads ahead of Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll and Carlos Sainz.
George Russell currently finds himself in seventh, with Max Verstappen just behind the Mercedes ace in eighth.
Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, is running in 18th place after overtaking Daniel Ricciardo.
No penalty for Hamilton
The stewards have decided against penalising Lewis Hamilton or Oscar Piastri despite the pair making contact while battling for position.
Their brief scrap has been deemed a racing incident.
Hamilton into the pits
Lewis Hamilton is called into the pits for a new set of boots and it’s a slow stop from his Mercedes pit crew.
He is also noted for potentially causing a collision with Oscar Piastri, who also dives into the pit lane before rejoining the action in 14th place.
Hamilton, meanwhile, is now running in dead last.
Trouble for Hamilton!
Lewis Hamilton picks up a puncture after making contact with Oscar Piastri while attempting to pull off an overtake!
The Mercedes ace is really struggling for pace out there and has quickly slipped down to 10th.
Leclerc passes Verstappen
Charles Leclerc breezes past Max Verstappen with the help of DRS to regain the lead in Las Vegas!
The Red Bull man responds by pitting for a new set of tyres after serving his five-second penalty.
He’s now running in ninth place.
Leclerc chasing Verstappen
Charles Leclerc is within DRS range of Max Verstappen, who appears to be struggling for grip on his worn medium tyres.
Can the Ferrari driver pull ahead or will Verstappen run him off the road again?
Piastri and Hamilton sweep past Sargeant
Oscar Piastri pulls off a routine move down the inside of Logan Sargeant before Lewis Hamilton follows suit almost immediately.
The Aussie driver is now running in seventh place but will have Hamilton on his tail before long…
Perez chipping away
Sergio Perez is wasting no time in getting himself up the order after his front wing change on the opening lap.
He breezes past Lance Stroll to move into 12th place and will have high hopes of claiming plenty of points today.
Carlos Sainz, meanwhile, is told by his race engineer that he needs to cool his engine or risk being forced to retire.
Sainz overtakes Alonso
Carlos Sainz dives down the inside of Fernando Alonso to get himself up into 16th place.
Elsewhere on the track, Lewis Hamilton sails past Kevin Magnussen with DRS assistance on the home straight and is now running in ninth.
Hamilton gets past Tsunoda
Lewis Hamilton pulls off a fine move around the outside of Yuki Tsunoda to move up into 11th place.
The Mercedes ace will have to make up plenty of lost ground in order to end up on the podium today.
Verstappen gets time penalty
Max Verstappen has been handed a five-second time penalty for running Charles Leclerc off the road on lap one.
He issues a salty response via team radio, saying: “Send them my regards!”
The Dutchman is currently leading his Ferrari rival by a margin of two seconds.
We’re racing again at the end of lap six as Max Verstappen leads Charles Leclerc across the line.
Oscar Piastri pulls off an opportunistic move on Yuki Tsunoda to get himself into the top 10.
Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso go wheel-to-wheel near the back of the grid before the Ferrari driver emerges ahead of his fellow Spaniard.
Max Verstappen still leads, with Charles Leclerc just behind him in second place.
George Russell is third ahead of Pierre Gasly, Alex Albon, Logan Sargeant and Esteban Ocon.
Lewis Hamilton is all the way down in 12th after losing a few positions at the start of the race.
Further back, Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz are running in 16th and 17th place respectively.
Lando Norris loses the rear end before skidding off the track and into the barriers at Turn 12.
Thankfully, the McLaren driver appears to be okay after a heavy impact.
The safety car is promptly deployed, with marshals working furiously to clear Norris’ stricken car and repair the barriers.
Verstappen still leads
Max Verstappen has, somehow, not been asked to give his place back to Charles Leclerc despite running him off the road.
He was not ahead at the apex and only managed to get the move done by pushing Leclerc over the white lines on the outside of Turn One.
Virtual safety car
The virtual safety car has been deployed, with debris scattered across the track at Turn One.
Sergio Perez responds by diving into the pit lane for a new front wing.
Replays show that Carlos Sainz was one of several drivers to spin around at the start of the race, with plenty of cars struggling to avoid each other at Turn One.
LIGHTS OUT! Verstappen takes the lead
Max Verstappen runs Charles Leclerc off the road at Turn One!
The Dutchman emerges ahead of his Ferrari rival to move into an early lead.
George Russell stays third, while Lewis Hamilton has slipped all the way down to 14th!
Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, is complaining that he has picked up some damage.
Here we go
The majority of drivers have chosen to start on the medium tyre compound, although the likes of Lance Stroll and Yuki Tsunoda are on softs.
Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, is running hards.
The formation lap is now in progress and we’re just moments away from the start of the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Don’t go anywhere!
Here’s a reminder of the starting order in Las Vegas, with just 10 minutes until the formation lap begins…
Hamilton expecting tough race
Lewis Hamilton played down his chances of getting on the podium after yesterday’s qualifying session, with the Brit set to start from 10th on the grid.
“It’s going to be super tough,” he said. “It’s a short run down to Turn One and I’m in the thick of it, so that’s not the best place to be.”
Potential tyre strategies
We could see a split in tyre strategies today if Pirelli’s official guidance is anything to go by…
Leclerc unsure of Ferrari pace
Charles Leclerc, who starts from pole today, has raised doubts over Ferrari’s race pace in comparison to Red Bull.
“I like the track, it’s fun to drive, I always like street tracks but this one is a good one,” he said after yesterday’s qualifying session.
“We look quite strong for now. Difficult to understand exactly where we are on race pace, but in quali pace we seem strong.
“We still have to work and do a step forward for tomorrow, but it’s a good start.”
Two drivers have been handed grid penalties by the FIA in Las Vegas, with Carlos Sainz receiving a 10-place drop after an incident in practice on Friday.
The Spaniard hit a loose drain cover during the early stages of FP1, causing damage to several components which needed to be changed.
Even though he could have done nothing about the incident, he was still penalised for changing power unit parts in a decision which has not gone down well in most quarters.
Lance Stroll, meanwhile, has been given a five-place grid penalty for overtaking under double waved yellow flags in FP3.
Verstappen far from happy
Max Verstappen has intensified his criticism of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, with the Dutchman not fazed by the glitz and glamour in Sin City.
The ‘show’ appears to have taken priority over the racing at times and Verstappen has not shied away from making his feelings known.
“I think Monaco is like the Champions League, this is National League,” he said earlier this weekend.
“I love Vegas but not to drive in a Formula One car. I love to have a few drinks, throw everything on red, have some nice food but emotions, passion? It’s not there compared to some old-school tracks.
“It’s more about the proper race tracks, Spa, Monza. Seeing the fans there is incredible and when I jump in the car I am fired up and I love driving around these places.”
What happened in qualifying?
Charles Leclerc edged out Carlos Sainz to claim pole position at the Las Vegas Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton suffered another qualifying nightmare.
The Monegasque driver set the quickest lap times in all three sessions and was duly rewarded with his second pole in three races.
He was closely followed by Sainz, who was less than one-tenth behind his Ferrari team-mate but will start today’s race from 12th after being handed a grid penalty on Friday.
However, it was a different story for Hamilton, who was knocked out in Q2 alongside Sergio Perez after failing to make the most of Mercedes’ impressive pace.
Catch up on the full story from qualifying HERE.
Oil spill on track
There is a lot of oil on the grid at the moment, with one of the classic cars used in the driver parade having leaked all over the track.
Most of the oil appears to be just in front of Max Verstappen’s second-placed grid spot.
A clean-up operation is underway and it seems as though everything will be fine for the start of the race.
Hello and welcome to Express Sport‘s live coverage of the first Las Vegas Grand Prix to be staged in over 40 years.
Charles Leclerc will line up on pole position today, with Max Verstappen breathing down his neck in second place on his quest for yet another victory.
Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, starts 10th and will need to unlock some extra pace in order to get himself on the podium in Sin City.
We’re just an hour away from lights out and will be keeping you updated with the action as it happens. Stay tuned!
- Support fearless journalism
- Read The Daily Express online, advert free
- Get super-fast page loading
Source: Read Full Article