Max Verstappen has admitted that he simply “ran out of grip” whilst trying to overtake Charles Leclerc at the opening corner of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, sending both drivers off the circuit.
The three-time World Champion was victorious for the 18th time this season very early on Sunday morning in Sin City, but he was forced to work extremely hard for it.
Starting from second on the grid, Verstappen made an excellent start despite being on the dirty side of the circuit.
However, as he tried to brake for the first corner whilst sliding up the inside of pole sitter Leclerc, Verstappen simply failed to make the turn.
A significant lack of grip for all the drivers led to chaos at the first corner, with Verstappen having taken the lead by forcing Leclerc off the circuit.
Leclerc was livid and insisted that Verstappen had to give the position back, Red Bull disagreed though.
Verstappen was informed by Red Bull not to give the spot back; despite the fact the incident was under investigation.
The Dutchman ended up receiving a five-second time penalty, which he took during his first pit-stop, demoting him to ninth and promoting Leclerc into the lead.
It looked like victory was off the cards for Verstappen, especially after he suffered front-wing damage following a collision by George Russell.
Russell didn’t see Verstappen and turned in on him, resulting in the Mercedes driver receiving a five-second time penalty.
The front-wing damage just seemed to make Verstappen faster, as he worked his way to the front, before finding himself behind Leclerc.
Verstappen used DRS down the monster main straight to power past the Monegasque, who tried to out-brake the Dutchman.
The reigning World Champion was simply too strong, though, with Leclerc not being able to stop Verstappen from winning once again.
It was certainly one of Verstappen’s most difficult wins of the year, which was made harder by himself for running Leclerc wide at the very beginning.
After the race, he admitted that he had zero grip at the first corner, resulting in the incident.
“It was a tough one, I tried to go for it at the start,” Verstappen said, as reported by RacingNews365.com. “I think we both braked quite late and then I just ran out of grip.
“We ended up a bit wide so the stewards gave me a penalty for that. That put us a little bit on the back foot.
“I had to pass quite a few cars and of course [there was] the Safety Car again. So at that point already there was a lot going on in the race.
“I had to the past few cars to get into the battle with them [Leclerc and Sergio Perez]. But then you could clearly see with the DRS around here it was very powerful.
“Even when you take the lead, if the guy behind would stay in the DRS, he would still have an opportunity to come back at you which I think created quite a lot of good racing here. So it was definitely a lot of fun.”