Round 22 F1 GFT AI Driver Rankings: Verstappen wins Las Vegas GP, Checo Perez locks up P2 in 2023 Rankings
19 November 2023
By Bob Francis, Managing Editor
Go Full Throttle Racing News
LAS VEGAS, NV — What a crazy week in Las Vegas! Lots of concern after the Practice 1 Red Flag track issue that damaged the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz and the subsequent removal of all fans from the track area and seating hours later. While forcing fans to leave after they sat and waited for Practice 2 to start created quite a backlash and furor online, the rest of the weekend went according to plan. Practice 3 and Qualifying on Friday night was drama filled, resulting in Charles Leclerc setting the fastest time in Q3 and earning Pole position.
Verstappen Goes to Work
It was ON from the start as Max Verstappen pushed Leclerc hard from the lights out grid start into Turn 1 on a slick, cold track and little heat in the tires. The result was Verstappen taking the lead away from Leclerc, but the move brought with it a 5 second time penalty for pushing the Ferrari wide.
After mid-race pit stops for tires, an epic battle between Sainz, Russell and Verstappen emerged for P4–6. As it sorted out and laps wore on Verstappen regained the lead setting up an ongoing battle between Red Bull Racing teammate Checo Perez and the Ferrari of Sainz.
As the final laps counted down, Leclerc stayed within DRS range of Perez waiting to strike, which he did on the final lap overtaking the Red Bull racing into the Turn 14 braking zone.
Verstappen secured the victory, Leclerc drove all out all the way to the finish holding off Perez setting the podium, however for Perez P3 did secure 2nd place for the season in the drivers’ standings.
UPDATED F1 Go Full Throttle AI DRIVER RANKINGS after Las Vegas
While Checo Perez did score enough points with his P3 finish to lock down 2nd overall in the Drivers points, delivering a Red Bull 1–2, there were no changes in the rankings after Las Vegas. With one race remaining on the F1 calendar this weekend in Abu Dhabi, Red Bull Racing has won everything with the exception 1 race, The Singapore GP, where Carlos Sainz broke Red Bull’s Juggerknot on the 2023 season.
“It was a tough one,” said race-winner Verstappen. “I tried to go for it [with Leclerc] at the start. I think we both braked quite late, then I just ran out of grip and we ended up a bit wide, so the stewards gave me a penalty for that. Of course, that put us a little bit on the backfoot, I had to pass quite a few cars, then the Safety Car again. At the point already there was a lot going on in the race.
“Once we had the message to the end we could go flat-out. You could clearly see with the DRS around here it was very powerful, so even when you would take the lead, if the guy behind would stay in the DRS, he would still have an opportunity to come back at you. I think it created quite a lot of good racing here today, so it was definitely a lot of fun.”
The final race on the 2023 F1 calendar will be Yas Marina for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this coming weekend, November 24–26.