5 Winners and 5 Losers from Las Vegas – Who hit the jackpot in Sin City?
Las Vegas delivered a showstopper for the first ever Formula 1 Grand Prix to race on the famous Strip, with world champion Max Verstappen belting out the Elvis Presley classic ‘Viva Las Vegas’ after delivering another sensational drive to clinch victory.
But while the Red Bull driver will leave the American city all smiles, the same can’t be said for all of his rivals. We pick out five winners and five losers from the iconic race in Sin City.
Winner: Max Verstappen
The Max Verstappen show continued with aplomb in Las Vegas, the Red Bull racer overcoming a five-second time penalty and dropping from the lead to fifth to secure a trio of wins in the United States this year.
The three-time world champion has won 16 of the last 17 events, and 18 in total this year, extending his own single-season record in the process.
Victory in the Entertainment Capital of the World was his 53rd career win, pulling him level with Sebastian Vettel in the all-time list. Only Michael Schumacher (91) and Lewis Hamilton (103) are ahead – and he grabbed a 20th podium in 2023 (he’s got a trophy at every race this season bar Singapore).
Loser: Lando Norris
Lando Norris admitted McLaren had a “reality check” after both papaya cars were knocked out of Q1 – and his race didn’t last long either, after a crash at high-speed in the early stages.
Fortunately he was passed fit by doctors, following what was his first retirement since last year’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix. He had been on the second longest finishing streak behind Verstappen.
The Briton – who arrived in Vegas on a run of five podiums in six events – dropped to sixth in the drivers’ championship, but remains in contention in the fight for fourth, just five points behind former team mate Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso who are tied on 200-points.
Winner: Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclerc may have now failed to win from his last 12 starts from pole (which incidentally pulls him one short of Rene Arnoux’s unwanted record set between 1979 and 1982) but it was his most accomplished performance of the season.
The Ferrari driver has had a disappointing season and currently sits winless in seventh, three places and 18-points behind team mate Carlos Sainz.
However, he delivered a near perfect weekend in Las Vegas – and produced a brilliant last lap overtake to get back past Sergio Perez and snatch second in what was his fifth podium finish of the season.
Loser: Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly was one of the stars of qualifying as he secured his best starting position of the year in fourth.
However, he suffered with tyre graining more than most – and that meant he couldn’t extend his first stint like team mate Esteban Ocon.
That led to a slow and painful drop down the order once his tyres went off, the Frenchman ultimately ending up 11th, one place outside the points.
Winner: Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez has endured a painful run of results in the last six Grands Prix, but he showed a glimpse of why Red Bull hired him in the first place in Sunday’s race.
The Mexican showed impressive pace on the hard tyre and used the Safety Car appearance to his advantage to haul himself into contention, not just for a podium but for the outright win.
And while he ultimately couldn’t generate the same speed in the final stint as his team mate, and lost a place on the last lap for the second consecutive race, third was his first podium since Monza (seven races ago) and enough to secure a career-best second in the drivers’ championship.
AlphaTauri’s scoring streak came to an end after three races as both Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda struggled with front graining for most of the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
That meant Tsunoda’s gamble to start on the soft – which vaulted him up the order to comfortably run inside the top 10 – ultimately came to nothing.
The Japanese driver retired with a suspected power unit issue, while Ricciardo couldn’t fight his way into the points and ended up 14th.
Winner: Esteban Ocon
Ocon was downbeat after a disappointing qualifying, as he failed to follow Alpine team mate Pierre Gasly through into Q3.
But his mood did a 180 on Sunday after a brilliant drive to fourth, the Frenchman making up an impressive 12 places.
That was his second-best result of the season (after a podium in Monaco) and moves him just four points shy of team mate Gasly in the drivers’ championship.
Williams had high hopes of scoring points with their slippery car (that is very quick on the straights) in Vegas – and that looked like a strong possibility as Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant both made it into Q3 to lock out the third row on the grid.
They ran fifth and sixth early on, but like AlphaTauri, the blue cars struggled to control the graining and that saw them both slip down the order and out of the points.
They now head to the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi with a seven-point lead over AlphaTauri in the fight for seventh in the constructors'.
Winners: Aston Martin
Aston Martin’s hopes of finishing fourth in the constructors’ championship looked all but over a few weeks ago as McLaren went on a superb podium run.
However, they turned things around in Brazil and carried that momentum into Vegas, with Lance Stroll fighting back from 19th to fifth and Fernando Alonso recovering from facing the wrong way at Turn 1 on the opening lap to take ninth.
They are now within striking distance of McLaren (11 points behind, having clawed 10 on them in Vegas) heading to the final race in Abu Dhabi.
Mercedes had the pace to finish on the podium in Vegas, but the Silver Arrows left the American street track with only P7 and P8 to show for their efforts.
George Russell saw the flag in fourth, but a five-second time penalty for clumsily colliding with Verstappen dropped him back four places while first-lap contact plus a racing incident clash with Oscar Piastri – the latter causing a puncture – ruined Lewis Hamilton's afternoon.
Mercedes saw their once healthy lead over Ferrari in the fight for P2 in the constructors’ championship slashed to a meagre four points with one race to go.