Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez continued their 2023 dominance with a brilliant win and third, respectively, for Oracle Red Bull Racing at the first ever Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix, with the team’s 20th season win breaking the previous constructors’ record of 19 wins that Mercedes set in 2016.
Verstappen got past Leclerc at the start but was handed a five-second penalty as Pérez had to go in the pits with a front wing change after a few laps, with Leclerc overtaking Verstappen on lap 16 – forcing the three-time world champion into the pits for a tyre change.
Pérez overtook Leclerc for the lead on lap 32, only for the positions to reverse on lap 35, with Verstappen getting past both to lead on lap 37 as he held on for his record 18th victory with Leclerc edging out Pérez on the last lap to end in between the two Oracle Red Bull Racing drivers.
Max Verstappen, Driver, Red Bull Racing
The race was exciting, fun and very hectic! We really had to work hard for it today. There was a lot of overtaking and racing, which made it really fun. It was a tough start on the mediums, but once we went on to the hard tyre, it was better. The five-second penalty at the start was unfortunate. I really didn’t mean to push Charles off, we both braked late into turn one, and there was no grip. We had a lot more pace in the car after we pitted for hard. I also had a damaged front wing, so I definitely lost a lot of downforce with that. It was still driveable, so we opted to carry on. We were pushing flat out to the end, and on the final lap, I tried to help Checo to give him a bit of slipstream. It’s a shame we couldn’t convert the one-two in this race, but it’s great that we’ve secured the one-two in the Championship this year. Now we head to the final race in Abu Dhabi.
Sergio Pérez, Driver, Red Bull Racing:
It was a very intense race from the start, damaging my front wing, thinking everything was over, but then the pace on the hard during the first stint was tremendous, and that really brought us back into the race. The safety car came at the right time for us, and from then on, we were looking good. I overtook Charles, and I thought I was going to pull away from him, but we were carrying a little bit too much wing on the car, and I couldn’t. It’s a shame I lost second place, but we were lacking a little bit of top speed. I am very proud to secure the Team’s first one-two in the Drivers’ Championship tonight. It’s a massive piece of history for us. It has been a very intense year. The highs in the year have been extremely high, but the lows have been super low. As a driver and a human being coming back from those tough moments is what I take the most from this season. Mentally it was very tough at times, but we have managed to overcome all those issues and get the job done. Thanks to my Team and everyone who supported me.
CHRISTIAN HORNER – CEO and Team Principal, Red Bull Racing
That was a great race. The speeds around here are insane. With long, fast straights, lots of slipstreams and big breaking zones, Las Vegas was not short on excitement. Max revels in a race like that, even though he was on the end of a penalty, the way he came back, the way he fought, it was fantastic. I think he may have changed his mind about Vegas. Checo was brilliant today as well. He came from a nose change at the back of the field, making his way up to lead the race eventually. He was so unlucky to lose out on second place, but it was enough to see him secure second place in the Championship, and we are extremely happy for him and the team. It was a fantastic drive from both of them, and it sums up the year we have been having. So, Max’s 18th win was a 20th victory for us and our first P1 and P2 in the Drivers’ Championship. It really has been a fantastic year. One more race to go, and we certainly won’t be letting our foot off the gas just yet.