Former Formula 1 team boss Peter Windsor once again finds it almost magical to see how Max Verstappen always manages to drive around problems. The Dutchman had damage to the car and had to survive half a race with an understeering car, and he made it seem as if it was no trouble at all for him. Windsor did see Verstappen make one mistake.
Verstappen did not have a flawless race to victory in Las Vegas. It started on the first lap when he passed Charles Leclerc and then forced the Ferrari driver very wide. The Dutchman received a five-second penalty for this, which Windsor thought was justified. He thought the action to take the lead was brilliant. “You could see what Max was doing, he has such a good racing brain,” Windsor points out in his analysis on his YouTube channel. “He went for the inside, then he went a little wide, like: the tires are cold, it’s not my fault,” Windsor laughs. “I think he just wanted to make sure Charles didn’t get him.”
In the first stint, however, Windsor did not think he was as aggressive as Verstappen can be. This allowed Leclerc to continue to follow closely. The relegation forced the three-time world champions to enter a little earlier. As a result, he fell back a little further. “I caught him with one small mistake there,” says the Brit. ‘He was trying to overtake Russell, who is never really easy to overtake. I think he misread the situation.” When Verstappen started his overtaking action, the gentlemen came together, causing damage to both cars. “Anyway, it’s incredible how Verstappen can drive around the problems, he made that car look perfect.”
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A race that Ferrari could have won
Ferrari had been Red Bull’s biggest opponent all weekend. Leclerc was extremely fast in qualifying, and in the race the pace also seemed to be going better than was initially apparent from the long runs. “Charles was really in excellent form,” Windsor praised the Monegasque. ‘They made good use of the top speed and for the first time on a circuit like this they made good use of the downforce. He took the lead from Max before the Dutchman went in, and that’s quite a statement. He could have won this race,” Windsor said.
Who could not have won this race was Pérez. For a while it seemed like it was, the Mexican was in the lead, but he quickly had to relinquish that lead. ‘It’s like Brazil happened again!’ says Windsor, referring to the moment when Fernando Alonso overtook the Mexican just before the finish. That happened again in Las Vegas. “Can you imagine this was the moment when Pérez could have won Las Vegas? But he couldn’t. Pérez held the lead, and then Charles took him again. Max saw this was going on and showed everyone who’s boss.”