The Dutch Max Verstappen (Red Bull) signed its eighteenth victory of the season in Las Vegas by beating the Monegasque team Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and the Mexican Sergio Perez (Red Bull) in a race in which the Spanish Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) and Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) spun at the start and finished sixth and ninthrespectively.
The city of Las Vegas, which is characterized by its nightlife in the casinos, also had the circuit built through its streets and returned, 41 years later, to host Formula One with a race full of overtaking that compensated for the problems with the sewer with which it started on Friday.
In a start in which the Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull) made the first corner long and forced the Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) to go wide, which deserved only a 5-second penalty according to the criteria of the stewards, it was that first turn in which the first two Spaniards complicated their options.
Both Alonso (Aston Martin) and Sainz (Ferrari) spun in the first turn of the start as a result of poor grip due to the low temperature of the Las Vegas asphalt -20 degrees Celsius. Alonso had a good reaction in the first meters, but when braking on the inside the tires did not respond as he expected, he went wide, lost the rear of the car and spun. Crossing the track, the Finnish Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) collided with his front wing and the Mexican Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) could not avoid both cars. An incident that caused the three to have to stop in the pits after the first lap. As did Carlos Sainz who also entered long into turn 1 and touched the British Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes).
Three drivers, Alonso, Sainz and Pérez who were left out of position, at the back of the grid during the first few laps in which they gave a show, overtaking each other on several occasions and in which they were grouped together after the safety car came out. due to an accident by the British Lando Norris (McLaren) on lap three.
The race fulfilled what was promised. Ease of overtaking on the long 1.9 kilometer straight, also caused by several drivers being out of position. Furthermore, on this occasion, the fight reached the first position.
Verstappen, accustomed, except in the Singapore GP, to dominating easily, found himself in difficulties due to the five-second penalty and, above all, due to the wear on his tires.
On lap 16, Leclerc overtook him and the Dutchman had to stop in the pits due to his high degradation. He complied with the time penalty that made him start eleventh, in traffic and behind the British George Russell, who, when he tried to defend his place on lap 25, touched Max and caused the second safety car of the night to come out in Las Vegas.
For the eighteenth time, out of 21, it was Max Verstappen who took the Checkered Flag victory and the usual starter, but different in its achievement.
The five-second penalty and the traffic made him sweat to obtain the victory, with the aforementioned safety car, which regrouped the grid, helping him in his hunt for a Leclerc whom he overtook on lap 37, of 50, in the curve 14, where most of the overtaking was seen.
A Monegasque driver who, once again, has a great Saturday, but falls on Sunday. Of the 24 times he has started in first position, he has only managed to win five. In Las Vegas he gained this statistic that haunts the Ferrari driver who left, at least, with the good taste in his mouth of snatching second place from Pérez on the last lap.
A Mexican driver who saw how, once again, he lost a place in the last meters, as happened with Alonso in Brazil.
For his part, Carlos Sainz was able to recover from the 10-second penalty he received on Friday for changing the battery after a manhole cover destroyed the bottom of his Ferrari. A mistake by the organization that hindered his chances of victory. He qualified second, started twelfth on the grid, spun in the first corner and finished in a creditable seventh position.
Fernando Alonso could not overcome so many places. His good start was met with a lack of grip and a spin that dragged him through the rest of the race, in which he finished ninth. Meanwhile, his teammate, Canadian Lance Stroll, had his best race of the year, took advantage of the starting touches to advance ten positions and finished sixth in Las Vegas in the penultimate Grand Prix of the year.