The 2023 F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix came and went. It was an excellent reason to visit the enticing Sin City, and the atmosphere was something special. F1 has had a resurgence in the US leading to Grand Prixs in Miami, Austin, and Vegas. This is partially due to the Netflix documentary series covering the drivers and races. Your buddy’s girlfriend now knows who Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc are. But that’s a good thing. More attention and more awareness of motor sports is always a good thing.
I flew to F1 Las Vegas with no tickets and no expectations. If I caught a glance of a Formula 1 car and had a single beer it still would have been a good weekend. I have been fortunate enough to see many racing events in 2023, from karting to NHRA drag racing. Being in the same town as an F1 Grand Prix would be a kick-ass cherry on top.
F1 Returned To Las Vegas After 41 Years.
Yes you read that correctly. And it’s true. Las Vegas held F1 races in the 80s for a short stint except it was called the Caesars Palace Grand Prix. These GPs were first held in 1981 and 1982. Then in 1983 and 1984 the city hosted the Indy car series on the circuit instead of F1.
Watching The F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix Without Tickets.
Formula 1 tickets for Vegas were absurdly high. I saw videos on social media showing what a $45,000 F1 paddock experience gets you. It was admittedly pretty cool and purchasers could get right up next to the race cars and even handle some of the gear like an F1 steering wheel.
On StubHub, I watched the cheapest tickets sell for around $800. It wasn’t worth it to me as I would likely only get a small vantage point, to then watch the cars drive by in a split second.
So I opted to see what I could of the race without purchasing “official” tickets.
I had two views of the track from my hotel room at Caesars Palace. It was super neat, but at the same time hard to tell which cars were which. I watched from the room with the TV for a little, and then I ventured out to see what other views could be found.
In the Caesars Palace shopping and restaurant area there was a view on the second floor with a large bay window, but the area had gathered a crowd. It only would have been worth it to stay for a tall person who could see over everyone.
Next, I walked along the Vegas Strip. Police were out in impressive numbers patrolling the fence along the track. They were quick to tell onlookers to back up, or keep moving. But there were a few areas that you could stop at if you were far enough back from the law enforcers. At a few of these areas pedestrians could slightly see over the fence, but most importantly the visibility through the fence was decent.
Here Is A video I Recorded At F1 Las Vegas:
The best experience to view the event without tickets had to be as close as you could get to the fence while watching the TV coverage on a mobile phone. I’m sure watching from high up in a hotel right on the strip would have been great, but It’s something special to be right next to the track where the drivers reach their top speed (212mph at Vegas). The noises, smells, and atmosphere get better the closer you get.
A Thrilling Race
The 2023 Heineken F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix was an exciting event for Formula 1 enthusiasts. It was one of the most anticipated races of the season and it delivered thrilling moments and intense competition for a majority of the 50 laps.
Max Verstappen put on a great performance and won the Las Vegas Grand Prix. That makes it his 18th win in 2023.
Before the race began, loose drain covers had to be fixed, as one damaged both Carlos Sainz’s and Esteban Ocon’s cars forcing a practice to be canceled. This has happened before though at the 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
We also got some pole position drama before the race. Charles Leclerc secured a solid pole position and championship leader Max Verstappen was not happy about it.
Grand Prix Highlights
When the lights went out, Verstappen went full throttle and proceeded to push Leclerc’s Ferrari wide and off the track in the first corner. Consequently several cars in the back bumped into each other. For this move Verstappen was issued a 5 second penalty.
Then on lap 3, McLaren’s Lando Norris wrecked off of turn 12 becoming the first car out of the race. (He was OK)
We saw Charles Leclerc overtake Max Verstappen on lap 16 to become the race leader.
On lap 25, Verstappen made contact as he passed Mercedes driver George Russell on turn 12 which forced a safety car out onto the track.
Red Bull driver Sergio Pérez had a nice overtake on lap 18 to slide into 2nd. And then on lap 32 he passed Leclerc to be the 3rd race leader of the night (and he started in 11th).
Max Verstappen worked his way up to 3rd place after he pitted early and rejoined in 11th. On lap 36 he passed his fellow Red Bull driver Sergio Pérez to get into 2nd.
Just one lap later Verstappen passed Ferrari’s Leclerc to once again lead the race.
During lap 43 Leclerc was late on his brakes and a little too wide on turn 12 which allowed Pérez to get back into 2nd place.
But in the final lap Charles Leclerc managed to get back in front of Sergio Pérez. It was an incredible finish.
Both Red Bull drivers benefited heavily from the safety car near the end where they both fitted new tires
The 2023 Heineken F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix resulted in a 1st place win for Max Verstappen, 2nd place for Charles Leclerc and 3rd for Sergio Pérez.
Grand Prix Analysis
The Las Vegas Vibe
What was it like in Vegas when F1 came to town you ask? Well for starters, the locals were not happy. The taxi driver on our way to the hotel lamented about how the city had been turned upside down and he was most definitely not excited about racing or motorsports.
The casinos were somewhat busy. I saw people playing cards and betting on sports. It’s hard for me to really gauge Las Vegas traffic though, as it’s been close to a decade since I visited Sin City.
Weather was great for November. I know it’s not ideal for the F1 tires, but I didn’t need a jacket as I walked the sidewalks next to the circuit. The whole track is 3.85 miles and I surveyed a good chunk of it including the length of the Strip and up around the Vegas Sphere. It was pretty neat to see up close all the turns and corners. There are a total of 17 turns, 2 quick bends, and 1 long straightaway that runs down the Strip. Vegas is actually the 2nd fastest track of 2023. Monza, Italy is the only track where drivers can go faster. At Monza they can reach just over 220 mph compared to 212 mph at Vegas.
Here are a couple photos from my walk around the F1 Las Vegas Circuit:
Another aspect of the general vibe was the attendance of people from around the world. As I walked through the airport and along the Vegas Strip I overheard Italian, Japanese, and French. F1 is truly a world wide sport and it was cool to see it first hand at the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Final Thoughts On F1 Las Vegas
Overall, the 2023 F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix lived up to the hype, showcasing top-tier racing on an exhilarating track. I enjoyed the event and didn’t even need tickets. Furthermore, the city, atmosphere, and food were top notch. I look forward to visiting again.
I also look forward to the next F1 race I can check out. Stay tuned.
Thanks for reading.👍
Founder and writer for Motor Speed News. Current garage: 02 WRX, 05 Toyota Tundra, 86 Yamaha Virago XV1100