Resurgent Lance Stroll Ends Lando Norris & Co.’s Misery as Chilly Las Vegas Drowns Papaya Army’s Dreams

Published 11/18/2023, 3:36 AM EST

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Las Vegas is known for its gambling. McLaren seemed to have gambled their chip at the Las Vegas Street Circuit and lost out. Lando Norris matched Max Verstappen for pace at the Brazilian GP, but coming into Las Vegas, the fortunes seemed to have tumbled. McLaren’s evening was cut short by the resurgent Lance Stroll. But how?

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Lando Norris, when asked about McLaren’s chances at Las Vegas, suggested that he isn’t sure of what it’s going to be like. However, he did advise that they weren’t going to be as strong as they were in Brazil. During the practice sessions in Las Vegas, their pace put them somewhere in the midfield. However, nobody was expecting what happened in Q1.

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Both McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri were eliminated in the Q1 session. Oscar Piastri strapped on a new set of tires but wasn’t fast enough to make it, whereas Lando Norris gambled by staying in the pits and paid the price as others improved behind him. It was the resurgent Lance Stroll who managed to improve on his new set of tires and knocked Norris out. 

Lance Stroll has himself had quite an underwhelming year, but his performance in Brazil showed the underlying pace that the Aston Martin driver has. Unfortunately, the Canadian was knocked out in the very next session and was also issued a five-place grid penalty for the race. But why exactly were the McLarens caught out? 

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Track Evolution at Las Vegas cost McLaren heavily

The Las Vegas Strip Street Circuit is a newly surfaced street circuit. The temperatures are super low with the grip non-existent for the drivers. As a result, the track continues to evolve with every passing minute as the cars lay down the rubber. Also, the tires perform better as they get up to the optimal operating window. In Las Vegas’ case, it’s seen the driver needs at least 2-3 laps to get the peak performance out of the tires. 

via Reuters

Lando Norris became a victim of the track evolution as he sat inside the garage as the team expected him to get through to Q2 on his first stint. However, the track evolution was massive, and many jumped the McLaren driver. On the other hand, Oscar Piastri became a victim of the cold tires as he only had time for one flying lap on his new tires. As we’ve seen throughout the weekend, the tires need at least 2 laps to get up to temperature. 

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Watch this Story: Rich History of F1 races in Las Vegas Throughout the Years

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Written by:

Pranay Bhagi

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Pranay Bhagi is an F1 Content Analyst at EssentiallySports. Having completed his graduation from a premier institute, he has set foot into Sports Journalism with absolute enthusiasm and fervor. Being an ardent fan of F1, he has been following the pinnacle of motorsport for over a decade now.
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Edited by:

Akash Pandhare

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