Formula 1 Racing

Verstappen overcomes penalty and damage to win Las Vegas Grand Prix · RaceFans

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Max Verstappen recovered from an early time penalty and front wing damage to pass Charles Leclerc and win the first Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Over an eventful inaugural race around the Las Vegas Strip Circuit, Verstappen chased down the Ferrari driver and overtook him with 13 laps remaining to win. Leclerc beat Sergio Perez to second place after overtaking him on the final lap.

Prior to the start of the race, nearly the entire field lined up on the grid on medium tyres, with tenth-placed Lewis Hamilton the only driver in the top 16 starters to opt to start on hard tyres.

When the lights went out, pole winner Charles Leclerc found Max Verstappen alongside him on the run into turn one. The pair both ran wide into the first corner, with Verstappen taking the lead despite both cars running off track. Further back, Fernando Alonso appeared to spin by himself, while Carlos Sainz Jnr also spun after hitting Lewis Hamilton into the first corner.

The Virtual Safety Car was deployed as the stewards announced that the first corner was under investigation. When the race resumed at the start of lap three, Lando Norris suddenly lost control of his car in turn 11, crashing heavily into the barriers at the following corner. The full Safety Car was deployed, with Norris able to climb out of the car unassisted.

The race resumed at the start of lap seven, with Verstappen leading from Leclerc, George Russell in third and Pierre Gasly in fourth. Verstappen pulled out a lead of almost two seconds on the first green flag lap. However, the stewards announced that Verstappen would be handed a five second time penalty for forcing Leclerc off the track at the start.

Leclerc kept with the leader who began to struggle with his tyres. Eventually, Leclerc caught and overtook the Red Bull down the straight to take the lead down the Strip, with Verstappen immediately pitting for hard tyres and to serve his penalty. Behind, Hamilton clashed with Oscar Piastri into turn 14, with both drivers suffering punctures as a result.

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Leclerc eventually pitted for hard tyres at the end of lap 21, emerging in third, comfortably ahead of Verstappen in seventh and behind Perez and Lance Stroll, who had both pitted under the early Virtual Safety Car for hards.

Verstappen made his way through the cars ahead until attempting to pass Russell into turn 12. The pair collided, causing debris to be jettisoned across the circuit. The Safety Car was deployed, with Perez…

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