Las Vegas Grand Prix: Verstappen victorious in Vegas
Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Max Verstappen claimed his 53rd race victory around the streets of Las Vegas, leveling him third with Sebastian Vettel for the most races won in Formula 1 history.

Charles Leclerc snatched second place from Sergio Perez on the final lap, denying the Red Bull driver the chance to make it seven 1-2 finishes for the team in 2023.

Despite losing out last minute, Sergio Perez's third-place finish secured second place in the Driver's Championship for the Red Bull driver.

  • Race Recap

Heading down to turn one on the opening lap, Verstappen forced Leclerc off the track to take the lead of the race, a move that would grant the triple World Champion a 5-second time penalty.

Further back, the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso suffered a spin as a result of the slick, cold track surface.

He was met with contact from Alfa Romeo's Valtteri Bottas as Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz also suffered spins, sending them towards the back of the grid.

The virtual safety car emerged on lap two following the opening lap chaos, allowing Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso to file into the pits to change their tyres and front wings.

The full safety car was deployed on lap four as McLaren's Lando Norris suffered a heavy crash into turn 12, the lack of grip evident as he lost control at high speed long before the corner.

"It was a big hit. We're just happy he's okay." - McLaren team boss, Zak Brown.

Verstappen pitted on lap 16 after a tyre struggle allowed Leclerc to overtake for the lead.

Lewis Hamilton and Oscar Piastri shared contact forcing both into the pits with punctures.

Verstappen and George Russell replicated a similar collision, the Red Bull losing a front wing end plate, damage that would be taken to the chequered flag.

"Mate he just turned in on me!" reported Verstappen.

As a result, Russell was handed a 5-second penalty for causing the collision.

Debris littered the track and brought out a second safety car, allowing a flurry of action to take place in the pits as half the grid swapped onto fresh rubber on lap 26.

Sergio Perez claimed the race lead from Charles Leclerc on lap 33 but his higher downforce package prevented him from opening a gap between himself and the Ferrari tailing closely behind.

Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images

As a result, Leclerc reclaimed the lead two laps later heading into turn 14 as Verstappen trailed the pair closely, eventually passing his teammate just a lap later.

It wasn't long before he was overtaking the leading Ferrari for first position, a place Verstappen would retain up to the chequered flag.

Going wide into turn 14, Leclerc allowed Sergio Perez to overtake for second position, making it a Red Bull 1-2 on track.

However, the Monegasque driver would redeem his second place in the closing moments of the final lap, passing Perez around the final chicane.

In the closing few laps, Nico Hulkenberg and Yuki Tsunoda both peeled off the track as a result of mechanical issues, totaling three cars retiring from the race.

  • Driver of the race

Charles Leclerc had an impressive run, starting from pole position and keeping up with the Red Bulls who have been rapid across the whole 2023 season.

Despite being unlucky with the turn-one incident with Max Verstappen, he stuck with it to claim his fifth podium of the season.

The Ferrari proved to be handy with its ability to follow the Red Bull’s closely, allowing Leclerc the opportunity to snatch second place away from Sergio Perez in the closing moments of the race.

Despite feeling like he let the win slip away, there was no doubt Leclerc would finish on the podium as his strong pace across all 50 laps could only be bettered by Max Verstappen.