2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix - Saturday

2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix - Saturday

Incidents leave strong pace without true reward; team left rueing what could have been on the streets of Sin City

  • Lewis Hamilton finished seventh and George Russell eighth in Saturday night’s inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix.
  • The team opted to split our tyre strategy with George lining up P3 on the Medium tyre, with Lewis P10 on the Hard compound.
  • George held position of the line but Lewis was unfortunate to be tagged by the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz. Whilst he avoided damage, it did cost him several positions.
  • After an early Safety Car period, both drivers focused on tyre management with George switching to the Hard tyre on Lap 15.
  • Lewis was making forward progress but contact with Piastri gave him a puncture that frustratingly he had to complete a full circuit with. When he re-joined, after switching on to the Medium tyre, he was last of the 19 runners.
  • On their new tyres, both were showing strong pace but as Verstappen fought with George, there was contact between the two. George would receive a five-second time penalty for the incident and under the subsequent Safety Car, both drivers took another set of the Hard tyre.
  • With good pace, George moved up from P9 to P4 on the road; Lewis from P17 to P8. With George’s penalty applied, that left our duo in P7 and P8 in reverse order from how they finished on track.
  • The battle for P2 in the Constructors’ Championship will go down to the final race in Abu Dhabi; our advantage over Ferrari now four points.

Driver

Grid

Result

Fastest Lap

Start Tyre

Stop One

Stop Two

Lewis Hamilton

P10

P7

1:35.716

Hard

Medium (L17)

Hard (L26)

George Russell

P3

P8

1:36.071

Medium

Hard (L15)

Hard (L26)

Lewis Hamilton

It was a really challenging race. I started on the Hard tyre, which was tricky in the beginning. I had a big hit from Sainz into turn one and was then trying not to hit other cars ahead of me. I fell back several places. After that, I was focused on making my way back through the pack and I was feeling great. The tyres were feeling good, and the pace was strong. I went up the inside of Piastri and I am not sure exactly what happened. I felt a big hit from behind, but I think it was a racing incident. I didn’t have a puncture immediately and as I passed the pit entry, I felt the rear moving. I had to do a whole slow lap on it.

I was grateful that I was able to still come back from re-joining in last to score some points. There are strengths in our car but sometimes it’s hard to extract all the performance from it. That is what happened in Qualifying yesterday but I am pleased we were able to show our pace in the race. I am also grateful that the race was exciting. I wasn’t expecting the track to be so great but there was lots of racing and overtaking opportunities. For all those who were so negative about the weekend, I think Las Vegas proved them wrong.

George Russell

Today was on me; I simply didn’t see Verstappen. He was totally in the blind spot, and we made contact; it was completely my fault. We knew they were much quicker than us and I was happy to concede the position. I knew our fight wasn’t with Verstappen and tyre management was more important. It was a real shame as we were on course for a podium. It changed the dynamic of the race too with the Safety Car. It feels like we’ve thrown another one away today and I am really disappointed right now. It is the story of our season.

There are positives we can take into Abu Dhabi. We were in the fight for second on the road today, but we will have to put in a strong showing in the final race to claim P2 in the Constructors’ Championship.

Toto Wolff, Team Principal & CEO

It’s frustrating to say but today was another example of a Grand Prix where we’ve had good pace and not got the result that pace has deserved. Once George was given the five-second time penalty, it was pretty much game over for him in terms of the podium. He definitely had the speed to challenge those at the front, maybe not Verstappen, but possibly Leclerc and Perez. It is what it is though. Lewis also had contact, twice in fact, with neither his fault. He was starting further back on the grid but as others around him showed, there was still a good result up for grabs. His pace was strong throughout, but those two incidents cost him today. We now need to refocus ahead of Abu Dhabi. It’s a tight battle in the Constructors’ Championship and we hope to be able to deliver a strong result there.

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

There wasn't anything that went our way tonight. Sainz made contact with Lewis at the start which cost him a number of positions. We then had a puncture with Lewis after contact with Piastri and didn’t have enough time to react and box him before he went past the pits. Finally, George got a penalty after contact with Max. Overall, those three incidents contributed to a frustrating race for us this evening.

Our list of positives isn't a long one, but it was at least encouraging that the car had good pace. We weren't as good at controlling the graining on the Medium tyre as Ferrari, so we need to look into that.  However, the pace on the Hard tyre was strong so as bad as this race was, it wasn't anything like as painful as Brazil where we were just plain slow. It’s going to be an exciting battle with Ferrari for P2 in the Constructor's Championship in Abu Dhabi. We'll use the next few days to prepare for that. The points gap is small enough that it will, in all likelihood, come down to who scores the most next Sunday. Everything to play for!

2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, Saturday - Sebastian Kawka
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2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, Saturday - Sebastian Kawka
2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, Saturday - Sebastian Kawka
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2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, Saturday - Sebastian Kawka
2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, Saturday - LAT Images
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2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, Saturday - LAT Images
2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, Saturday - LAT Images
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2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, Saturday - LAT Images
2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, Saturday - LAT Images
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2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, Saturday - LAT Images
2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, Saturday - LAT Images
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2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, Saturday - LAT Images
2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, Saturday - LAT Images
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2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, Saturday - LAT Images
2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, Saturday - LAT Images
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2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, Saturday - LAT Images
2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, Saturday - LAT Images
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2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, Saturday - LAT Images
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