Max Verstappen has confessed that he still has “a lot to do” to prepare for the new Las Vegas Grand Prix having crashed a lot while sampling the circuit on the F1 game.
The three-time World Champion clinched his 17th victory of the 2023 season at last weekend’s Brazilian GP, where he dominated from pole position, and has now won 42 of the last 64 races stretching back to the start of his maiden title-winning season in 2021.
Two more victories in the season-ending double header in Vegas and Abu Dhabi would see Verstappen surpass fellow Red Bull icon Sebastian Vettel’s tally of 53 career wins, leaving only Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton ahead of him in the all-time list of grand prix winners.
Will Max Verstappen finish F1 2023 with a flourish?
The street circuit in Vegas promises to throw up a unique challenge for teams and drivers, with temperatures expected to sink below 10 degrees Celsius during the Saturday night race.
Verstappen has admitted that he still doesn’t know the circuit, with his experience of the Vegas venue limited to the F1 video game.
Asked how much he will relish the challenge of racing in Vegas, he replied: “I’ll deal with that once I arrive to the track.
“There’s still a lot to do. I still need to go on the simulator. I still don’t even know the track, to be honest. The last time I tried it on the F1 game, I think I hit more walls than I was going straight, so let’s hope that’s not the case when I start driving there!
“But it’s going to be very different to [Brazil]: very low temperatures, of course, in the night there. Street circuit. We have no experience there. We don’t know the track grip. All new, so maybe it will give you a few surprises. I don’t know.”
Despite his formidable form, which earlier this season saw him break the record for the most consecutive wins with 10, Verstappen has tended to struggle more on street circuits relative to team-mate Sergio Perez over recent years.
All five of Perez’s victories in Red Bull colours since 2021 have come on street circuits, with the Mexican outperforming Verstappen to win in Baku in April – just weeks after triumphing from pole in Jeddah.
Verstappen has won in Miami and Monaco this season, but saw his 10-race winning streak end during F1’s last visit to a street circuit in Singapore in September as Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz became the only non-Red Bull driver to win a race in 2023.