Viva Las Vegas as Oracle Red Bull Racing Secure 1-2 in Drivers Championship
Las Vegas didn’t fail to disappoint at the weekend and produced one of the most thrilling F1 races of the year, and while triple world champion Max Verstappen took home the win, a third-place finish for Sergio Perez earned Oracle Red Bull Racing their first ever 1-2 finish in a Drivers Championship – a great year keeps getting better for Christian Horner’s team.
A jubilant Verstappen summed it up when speaking afterwards, labelling the race “fun and very hectic” – how very Las Vegas!
“We really had to work hard for it today,” explained the Dutch race, “there was a lot of overtaking and racing which made it really fun. It was a tough start on the mediums but once we went on to the hard tyre it was better.”
He continued: “The five second penalty at the start was unfortunate, I really didn’t mean to push Charles off, we both braked late in to turn one and there was no grip. We had a lot more pace in the car after we pit for hard. I also had a damaged front wing so I definitely lost a lot of downforce with that, it was still driveable so we opted to carry on.”
Verstappen added: “We were pushing flat out to the end and on the final lap, I tried to help Checo to give him a bit of slip stream, it’s a shame we couldn’t convert the one-two in this race but it’s great that we’ve secured the one-two in the Championship this year. Now we head to the final race in Abu Dhabi.”
Hectic is also an excellent word to describe Sergio Perez’s race, with the Mexican driver claiming a podium finish despite some high drama and incident.
“It was a very intense race from the start, damaging my front wing, thinking everything was over but then the pace on the hard during the first stint was tremendous and that really brought us back into the race, offered Checo, when speaking afterwards. “The safety car came at the right time for us and from then on we were looking good, I overtook Charles and I thought I was going to pull away from him but we were carrying a little bit too much wing on the car and I couldn’t.”
He continued: “It’s a shame I lost second place, but we were lacking a little bit of top speed. I am very proud to secure the Team’s first one-two in the Drivers’ Championship tonight, it’s a massive piece of history for us. It has been a very intense year, the highs in the year have been extremely high but the lows have been super low.”
Perez added: “As a driver and a human being to come back from those tough moments, is what I take the most from this season. Mentally it was very tough at times but we have managed to overcome all those issues and get the job done. Thanks to my Team and everyone who supported me.”
Oracle Red Bull Racing Team Principal and CEO, Christian Horner had nothing but high praise for both his drivers given their own individual battles and successes.
“That was a great race. The speeds around here are insane. Long fast straights, lots of slip stream and big breaking zones, Las Vegas was not short on excitement. Max revels in a race like that, even though he was on the end of a penalty, the way he came back, the way he fought, it was fantastic. I think he may have changed his mind about Vegas.”
Horner added: “Checo was brilliant today as well. Coming from a nose change at the back of the field, making his way up to eventually lead the race. He was so unlucky to lose out on second place, but it was enough to see him secure second place in the Championship and we are extremely happy for him and the team. It was a fantastic drive from both of them and it sums up the year we have been having. So, Max’s 18th win, a 20th victory for us and our first P1 and P2 in the Drivers’ Championship. It really has been a fantastic year. One more race to go and we certainly won’t be letting our foot off the gas just yet.”