The penultimate Grand Prix weekend of the year has already arrived: the Grand Prix of Las Vegas. After much show and spectacle, the drivers finally took to the track at 5:30 am Dutch time, but the session was quickly stopped. The second free practice was originally scheduled to start at 9:00 AM, but was postponed until 11:00 AM due to repairs to the manhole covers. The drivers will then get an hour and a half of training time, instead of one hour.
The weekend in Las Vegas is a ‘normal’ race weekend, which means that, unlike many previous weekends, the drivers will have three free practice sessions. The weekend is a bit different in terms of times, as the sessions in Las Vegas take place in the late evening, with the race locally at 10pm on Saturday evening, and qualifying not until midnight.
Low track temperatures can provide a spectacle
The city of Las Vegas is located in the middle of the Mojave Desert, which means that it can get quite cold in the city during the winter months. All F1 sessions this weekend, including the race, will be held in the evenings. As a result, all teams have to deal with low track temperatures. The softest C5 tires will most likely be the most suitable choice, which is why the teams are likely to use all the hard rubber during the Friday sessions.
Verstappen already won the other two races on American soil earlier this year, in Miami and Austin respectively, which gives him a unique opportunity to go for a third victory in one country in one season. The Ferrari team could well pull off a surprise this weekend and join the battle for victory. The layout of the track in Las Vegas, long straights and few long fast corners, should suit the Ferrari car well. Ferrari is also good at tire warming, which will be necessary this weekend with the low track temperatures.
False start for Las Vegas and Sainz
The teams will not yet have much data from the first free training. After just eight minutes a red flag was waved, and the session was subsequently not resumed. The culprits were the manhole covers, which turned out not to be properly secured. Carlos Sainz had to shut down his SF-23 with heavy damage, including a floor broken in half. Other drivers, including Esteban Ocon, are also said to have suffered damage. In the first eight minutes, Charles Leclerc was by far the fastest, ahead of Nico Hülkenberg and Kevin Magnussen. Verstappen was the fastest driver on medium tires with a fourth fastest time.
The original timetable was changed because the repairs to the manhole covers took a lot of time. The second training was therefore postponed by two hours, and will not start until 2:00 am local time, and will then last an hour and a half. For the drivers this means that they will not go to bed until very late, and for the Dutch viewer this means that the spectacle should take place between 11:00 am and 12:30 pm.
Verstappen can take his eighteenth win of the season this weekend in Las Vegas. Also betting on F1? Via this link from JACKS you are eligible for 60 euros in free bets! If you play responsibly, you keep it fun. What does gambling cost you? Stop on time, 18+