Las Vegas casinos are accustomed to the expression “the house always wins.” But, on the occasion of the return of Formula 1 to the city of gaming, forty-one years after the Grand Prix at Caesars Palace, Max Verstappen proposed a reinterpretation: in F1, the Dutchman always wins. Already assured of a third world champion title, the Red Bull driver won the Las Vegas Grand Prix on Saturday November 18 (Sunday morning in France), his 18th victory in 21 races for the 2023 season, and the third in the United States. After Austin and Miami, the Red Bull driver completed his triptych.

Max Verstappen beat the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc and the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez, who will be vice-world champion at the end of the season. Frenchman Esteban Ocon (Alpine), who started at the back of the grid, took 4th place.

Starting in second position, Max Verstappen did not wait for the end of the first turn to deliver the blow to Charles Leclerc, who had taken pole position in the streets of Las Vegas. But, penalized by five seconds for this maneuver deemed illicit – he pushed the Monegasque out of the limits of the track – the man with 52 wins had to give up his position to the Ferrari driver on the 16th lap, out of the 50 that counted for the Grand Prix. Price.

« Long live Las Vegas »

But, as often this season, the Dutchman showed relentless mastery. To the great dismay of Charles Leclerc, who definitively gave in to the Dutchman in the 37th round. The Monegasque also had to resist the return of the second Red Bull from Sergio Perez.

A fierce resistance which pleased the person concerned. “What a ride! I really liked. I’m disappointed to finish second, but it’s the best we could do, conceded the Monegasque after the race. At the first corner it was very tense because Max pushed me to the outside. But we had the rhythm, we were able to come back. We were very strong, it was a very good race. I enjoyed this battle for second place. »

Celebrated with great fanfare, the return of F1 to Las Vegas, forty-one years after two races contested in the Caesars Palace parking lot, in 1981 and 1982, suffered some criticism and began with an embarrassing day on Thursday, to begin with. tests, greatly disrupted by… a manhole cover. Liberty Media, the company that owns F1, invested heavily in this Grand Prix, which required months of work and affected traffic on the famous Las Vegas Strip and its many hotels.

Yet critical of the race this week, deploring the quality of the circuit and the place of the show in relation to the sporting aspect, Max Verstappen sang “Viva Las Vegas” on his radio after cutting the line under the flag checkered square held by artist Justin Bieber.

“Everyone criticized Las Vegas, but ultimately it was a great race,” noted Ferrari boss Frédéric Vasseur after the race. In the constructors’ standings, the Italians have returned to within four points of Mercedes for 2nd place behind Red Bull, already titled, before the 22nd and final Grand Prix of the season, which will take place on November 26 in Abu Dhabi.