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Las Vegas GP: 5 Things We Learned From Sin City

Max Verstappen scored his 18th victory at the Las Vegas Grand Prix in a remarkable record-breaking season for the triple-world champion.


Max Verstappen scored his 18th victory at the Las Vegas Grand Prix in a remarkable record-breaking season for the triple-world champion.

However, the Red Bull driver criticised the race for being inferior in comparison to other events on the calendar. According to Sky Sports, on Saturday the Dutchman said: “Monaco is Champions League and this is National League.”

He added: “When I was a little kid, it was all about the emotion of the sport that I fell in love with and not the show. As a real racer, the show shouldn’t matter.”

Verstappen wasn’t the only person angry after the first Grand Prix in Nevada since 1982. 35,000 fans filed a class action lawsuit against the organisers after Carlos Sainz dislodged a valve cover on track forcing stewards to red flag the free practice one after only eight minutes.

We look at several other moments across the weekend that made the race in Sin City one of the most controversial on the calendar.

Ferrari and fans seek compensation – The 35,000 fans who were forced to miss Las Vegas’ first F1 practice session for over 40 years aren’t the only ones seeking financial compensation. Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur confirmed the team was hamstrung after the valve cover damaged the underside of Carlos Sainz’s car. “We have a lot of consequences on the financial side, on the sporting side, and even on the stock of spare parts, and on the budget side. For sure, it’s not an easy one,” said Vasseur.

Verstappen can win ugly too – The Red Bull driver took hits from George Russell, the stewards (five-second penalty), and graining of his tyres to finish ahead of Charles Leclerc. The Dutchman made his way through the field from 10th after pitting.

The battle for second place in the constructors’ championship continues – Russell and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton scored 10 points compared to the 26 points garnered by Leclerc and Sainz. The Merc boys got caught up in incidents (Russell’s clash with Verstappen) and Hamilton had two crashes. The Brackley-based team has a four-point lead heading into this weekend’s race in Abu Dhabi.

Leclerc puts some respect on his name – The Monegasque driver had a torrid time at the beginning of 2023. However, his pole position in Las Vegas and recent strong results showed the Ferrari man still has the goods. Seventh place in the championship is a huge disappointment to the 26-year-old.

End of a long season – The F1 season would have had 23 races after the Emilia Romagna GP was canceled due to torrential flooding. Las Vegas was the third race in North America as F1’s owners Liberty Media seek to maximise profits and grow the sport in their home territory. One wonders when the decision-makers will relook at whether adding more races to the calendar is possible and what type of strain it puts on the teams. 

Sean Parker is a motorsport journalist and sports content creator at The South African. He has worked for the country's premier motoring publications, and is a Formula 1 contributor to, the Bet Central podcast, and Vision View Sports radio.

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