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Verstappen sweats to win memorable race in Las Vegas

The dutch Max Verstappen (Red Bull) has signed its eighteenth victory of the season in Las Vegas by winning ahead of the Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and the Mexican Sergio Perez (Red Bull) in a race in which the Spanish Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) spun at the start and finished sixth and ninth, respectively.

The city of Las Vegas, which is characterized by its nighttime activity in the casinos, also had the circuit built through its streets. 41 years later it has once again hosted Formula 1 with a race full of overtaking that compensated for the problems with the sewage system that started on Friday.

The cold takes its toll on the first corner

In a start in which Verstappen made the first corner long and forced Leclerc to go wide, which according to the stewards’ criteria deserved only a 5-second penalty. It was that first turn in which Alonso and Sainz complicated their options. Both the Asturian and the Madrid They spun on the first turn at the start as a result of poor grip due to the low temperature of the Las Vegas asphalt (20 degrees Celsius).

Fernando Alonso had a good reaction in the first meters, but when braking on the inside the tires did not respond as expected, he went wide, lost the rear of the car and spun. Crossed on the track, the Finn Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) collided with its front wing and Checo Pérez could not avoid both cars. An incident that made the three of them have to stop in the pits after the first lap. As did Carlos Sainz who also entered long into turn 1 and touched the British Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes).

Three drivers, Alonso, Sainz and Pérez, who were left out of position, at the back of the grid during the first few laps in which they gave a show by overtaking each other on several occasions and in which they were grouped together after the departure of the lead car. security for a accident of the British Lando Norris (McLaren) on lap 3.

Tension, overtaking and safety car

The race fulfilled what was promised. Ease of overtaking on the long 1.9 kilometer straight, also caused by several pilots being out of position. Furthermore, on this occasion, the fight reached the first position.

Verstappen, accustomed to dominating almost all the races of the season with great ease, found himself in difficulties due to the five-second penalty and, above all, due to the wear on his tires.

On lap 16, Leclerc overtook him and the Dutchman had to stop in the pits due to his high degradation. He complied with the time penalty that made him start eleventh, in traffic and behind the British George Russellwho, when trying to defend his place on lap 25, touched Max and caused the second safety car of the night in Las Vegas to come out.

The usual one wins, but fighting

For the eighteenth time, out of 21, it was Max Verstappen who took victory on Sunday. checkered flag and the usual headline, but different in its achievement. The five-second penalty and the traffic made him sweat to obtain the victory, with the aforementioned safety car, which regrouped on the grid, helping him in his hunt for a Leclerc whom he overtook on lap 37. Specifically at turn 14 , which was where most of the overtaking was seen.

The Monegasque had a great Saturday after achieving pole position but crashed on Sunday. Of the 24 times he has started in first position, he has only managed to win five. In Las Vegas he increased this statistic that haunts the Ferrari driver, who at least He left with the good taste in his mouth of snatching second place from Checo Pérez in the last lap. The Mexican has seen again how he lost a place in the last meters, as happened with Fernando Alonso in Brazil.

For his part, Carlos Sainz was able to recover from the 10-second penalty he received on Friday for changing the battery after a manhole cover destroys the bottom of his Ferrari. A mistake by the organization that hindered their chances of victory. He qualified second, started twelfth on the grid, spun in the first corner and finished in a creditable sixth position.

His compatriot Fernando Alonso could not make up as many places. His good start was met with a lack of grip and a spin that dragged him through the rest of the race, in which he finished ninth. His teammate, the Canadian Lance Strollhad his best race of the year, took advantage of the starting touches to advance ten positions and finished fifth in Las Vegas.

This weekend, Sin City experienced the penultimate Grand Prix of 2023. Abu Dhabiin seven days, waits to give the final signal to a season in which Max Verstappen has been the great dominator without any discussion.

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