It’s Monday, November 20, 2023 and this is Racing Recap, your summary of last weekend’s motorsports action. The Las Vegas Grand Prix weekend had a rocky start after a drain cover destroyed a Ferrari, but Max Verstappen emerged victorious after a surprisingly entertaining race. In Qatar, Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia extended his MotoGP points lead with only one race remaining.
Verstappen Outruns Leclerc And A Penalty In Vegas
Heading into the race on Saturday night was the literal damage control after a drain cover shot into Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari, ended Free Practice 1 and delayed Free Practice 2 to the point when spectators were told by police they had to leave. Sainz’s teammate Charles Leclerc would win pole the next night in qualifying, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen lining up second on the grid.
The first corner of the race was chaotic because a classic car used in the drivers’ parade dropped oil on the inside line of Turn 1. Verstappen would pass Leclerc while running both the Ferrari and his own Red Bull off the track. Fernando Alonso spun his Aston Martin and Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas had nowhere to go but into Alonso’s front wing.
Race officials handed Verstappen a five-second time penalty for taking the lead off of the track. Two laps later, Lando Norris went careening into the TecPro barriers at Turn 12 after losing control of his McLaren. The next safety car period would be caused by a collision between Mercedes’ George Russell and Verstappen. The reset allowed the reigning world champion a better chance of winning the race.
Once Verstappen fought his way back to the front, the focus shifted to the back for second place. Sergio Perez had the chance to secure Red Bull Racing’s first 1-2 finish since the Italian Grand Prix in September. However, Leclerc made an audacious pass at the end of the Strip on the final lap to steal second from the Mexican driver.
1. – Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
2. – Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – +2.070 seconds
3. – Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – +2.241 seconds
4. – Esteban Ocon (Alpine) – +18.665 seconds
5. – Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) – +20.067 seconds
Jorge Martin’s MotoGP Start Fading In Qatar
Like Formula 1, MotoGP held the penultimate race of its season over the weekend at night. The Qatar Grand Prix was the maiden victory of Gresini rider Fabio Di Giannantonio’s MotoGP career. The 25-year-old Italian out-dueled the reigning world champion Pecco Bagnaia, slightly hindering the Ducati rider’s hopes of defending the title. Bagnaia’s title rival Jorge Martin was nowhere to be seen as he struggled for pace on Sunday and finished tenth.
1. – Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini)
2. – Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) – +2.734 seconds
3. – Luca Marini (VR46) – +4.408 seconds
4. – Maverick Viñales (Aprilia) – +4.488 seconds
5. – Brad Binder (KTM) – +7.246 seconds