The 2023 Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix was meant to be spectacular, and it did not disappoint. Looking at the finishing order, with Charles second behind Max Verstappen and ahead of Sergio Perez and Carlos in sixth, one could be forgiven for thinking it had been a race like any other this year.
However, between the walls on the Strip, Scuderia Ferrari was a true front-runner to the point that there can even be a bit of disappointment at the final result, as Leclerc had a genuine possibility of taking the win. Carlos, too could have finished higher up the order if he had not been caught up in the chaos on the opening lap, which saw him spin and have to fight his way up the order from the back of the pack. However, overall this was a positive day as the SF-23 proved to be competitive, just as expected, resulting in Ferrari making up 16 of the 20 points by which it trailed Mercedes coming into this weekend in its fight for second in the Constructors’ championship. In a few days’ time, it will be all to play for in Abu Dhabi.
Carlos Sainz #55
It’s been a good weekend for the team, even though it was a tough race for me. We struggled with engine temperatures because we were racing in the middle of the pack, and it was difficult to make up positions quickly.
However, we nailed the strategy switching to a two-stop, and the second part of the race was better, making up a few places to finish P6. It was a case of damage limitation after the penalty and scoring very important points for the Constructors’ championship. I can’t wait to race in Abu Dhabi next week. The fight for second is still on, and we’ll do everything we can to take it!
Charles Leclerc #16
I didn’t leave anything on the table today, and the team executed the race perfectly, so I am satisfied with our performance. Unfortunately, we had just pitted 5 laps before the Safety Car, and I struggled to get our used Hards back up to temperature at the restart. That’s where Max (Verstappen) and Checo (Perez) gained an advantage on fresh tyres, and unfortunately, that cost us the win.
That said, it was an exciting race with really good battles and a lot of adrenaline. I’m glad that the weekend came together well and that the inaugural Grand Prix in Las Vegas was exciting for drivers and fans. I look forward to coming back next year!
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
This first race in Las Vegas delivered the show that everybody was expecting, so well done to Formula 1, as this was one of the best races of the season. From our side, there were several positive aspects, even if it wasn’t a straightforward race with Safety Cars, thrilling duels and amazing overtakes. We scored good points and were not far off a win with Charles, who would have deserved that result. I think we overtook a Red Bull three times in the race, and our performance was good with both cars considering Carlos staged a great comeback after what had been a tough weekend with what happened in FP1, the penalty and the spin at the start.
With Charles, we had put everything in place to bring home the win as we had looked after the tyres at the beginning, and then we overtook Max on track. The Safety Car didn’t help him, as he struggled with graining after the restart but was able to manage it, and in the closing stages, he was again very competitive, to the point of overtaking Perez for P2. I think Charles delivered one of the best drives of his career today, while Carlos also had a very strong second part of the race.
We must keep the momentum going into Abu Dhabi. Both drivers are doing a fantastic job, and I believe we can catch Mercedes in Abu Dhabi. We won in Singapore when Red Bull was off the pace, but this time we were fighting them right up to the final corner.