At last, the Las Vegas Grand Prix has come and gone and all that is left behind is the confetti on the street and the controversies that stemmed from the weekend.
The Las Vegas Grand Prix could be described with one word: a spectacle. The weekend started off with the opening ceremony in which many artists like Keith Urban, Steve Aoki, and John Legend performed. After the performance, the drivers were then presented to the fans on platforms while their teams were announced. The presentation of the drivers was compared to “Hunger Games” style presentations similar to how the district tributes were presented to the Capitol before the games. Red Bull driver even criticized the event by saying, “I think it is 99 percent show, 1 percent sporting event.”
After the criticism that the opening ceremony received, there was still time for redemption for the weekend. The first free practice was on Thursday, Nov.16 from 8:30-9:30 but only lasted approximately 9 minutes. This was due to the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz receiving damage after a manhole cover caused damage to his engine. The cover of the manhole caused sparks to appear on the rear of Sainz’s car and ultimately killed the engine. When the damage was reviewed, it was concluded that Sainz’s Ferrari would need a new engine in order to compete for the weekend. Controversy started when the FIA handed Sainz a 10 place grid penalty due to having an engine replacement. Many fans were not satisfied by this decision considering that it was the track and the construction of it that caused the engine replacement and not the team or Sainz himself that called for this decision.
When the race began on Saturday, there was already chaos at the first turn on the first lap when several cars collided and caused a brief yellow flag. After the yellow flag was cleared, the race continued smoothly up until the fourth lap when McLaren driver Lando Norris crashed into the barriers on turn 12 of the circuit. Norris unfortunately had to retire from the race and was taken by the medical team to further assess his injuries. Norris was not the only one who did not finish the race. Hulkenberg retired with a power unit issue and Tsunoda retired with the same issue as well. The race continued with Verstappen in the lead after overtaking Leclerc in the first lap. Although he received a five-second penalty, he still managed to win the race by 2.070 seconds.
Verstappen was not the only winner of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez managed to secure the second place spot in the overall standings for the Driver Championship. This is the first time in the team’s history to ever have a one-two finish in the standings. Aside from adding this accomplishment, the Red Bull team also broke a record for most wins in the season by achieving 20 wins this season.
The Las Vegas race might not have been the race that everyone expected it to be but it was a great show overall. This might have been the first Las Vegas Grand Prix but it will certainly not be the last seeing as the contract for the race has been signed for a total of 10 years. Fans can be hopeful that the future of the Vegas Grand Prix will improve and continue to bring excitement towards the sport.