Max Verstappen managed to achieve his 53rd victory during the Grand Prix of Las Vegas, and also won in the US for the third time this year. Although the result was not very surprising, the race in the gambling city certainly provided some exciting racing moments, and Verstappen was also able to show his driving skills. In addition, tire problems and several collisions between the drivers predominated on the on-board radios.
The start of the race in Las Vegas was quite chaotic, and the drivers made their displeasure known via the on-board radios. At the front of the field, Verstappen and Charles Leclerc left the track together, an action for which Verstappen later received a five-second time penalty. It was not immediately clear that the fault lay with Verstappen, and that is why Verstappen’s engineer Gianpiero Lambiase told the Dutchman to maintain the leading position in the field. “We agree that you were at the front when you went off track, so we’d like to stay there.” ‘Of course I was at the front!’ was Verstappen’s answer.
However, Leclerc did not agree that Verstappen continued to drive at the front. “This needs to be dealt with now,” the Monegasque complained over his on-board radio. ‘It’s a joke if he gets to keep the position. He pushed me off.’ A little later the message came that Verstappen received a five-second penalty for the incident, but that did not seem to bother the Limburger. “Yes, that’s fine, say hi to them!” Verstappen simply said.
Tire problems everywhere
Prior to the Grand Prix, it was predicted that many drivers might experience problems with tire temperatures, due to the expected cold temperatures in the desert city. Some drivers also shouted via the on-board radio that they were experiencing tire problems. For example, Verstappen shouted on lap 16 that his ‘tires are really going to shit now’, and Leclerc had a small moment where he lost control on lap 28. ‘Ah, I almost lost it there, the tires are fucking cold,’ said the Monegasque.
Russell did not see Verstappen coming
The moment when George Russell crashed into Verstappen on lap 26, and subsequently suffered damage himself, was also heard on the on-board radio. “Mate, he ran into me. Check my tires and front wing,” Verstappen shouted after the incident. Lambiase assured Verstappen that his tires looked good and that he could continue. Two laps later, Lambiase said the incident was being looked into by the stewards. “Okay, it looked like he didn’t see me at all. He just ran into me. I don’t think he expected me to overtake there.’
Verstappen and Pérez work together
In the second half of the race, Leclerc was in the lead for a while, but both Verstappen and Pérez were close on his heels. With his teammate close behind him, the Dutch driver suggested they work together to overtake Leclerc. “Let’s work together, we can get him.” Pérez was told over the on-board radio to stay close to his teammate: ‘Stay with him, let’s create a double tow here. We work together.’
Verstappen managed to pass the Ferrari driver on lap 37, and his teammate followed on lap 43. But the collaboration between the two Red Bull drivers did not end there. ‘If you can keep the gap to Checo (Pérez, ed.) at 2.5 seconds, then you can pull him along with you.’ Verstappen then did this, but Pérez still lost his P2 position to Leclerc on the very last lap.
Although Verstappen was joyful after the finish line, the Dutchman apologized for not being able to help Pérez get P2. “I’m sorry, I tried everything on the last lap to tow him.” Lambiase reassured Verstappen: “It was good, Max.” Then the party could really start for Verstappen, and he sang ‘Viva Las Vegas’ loudly along with Elvis Presley over the on-board radio. “To the pit lane, Max, or shall I call you Elvis?” Lambiase joked.
MAX27: box box (SC)