Officially there are 11 left-hand and six right-hand corners. The 1.9 kilometre flat-out section down the city’s famous Strip (which is between turns 12 and 14 in the lap) is the second longest full-throttle section of a circuit in F1. That trumps the 1.875km stretch between the exit of La Source and braking for Les Combes at Spa, but comes short of the 20-corner Baku circuit where drivers can go at least 2km at full throttle from the exit of turn 16 before approaching turn one.
The highest speed achieved in F1 so far this year was by Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas at the Mexican Grand Prix, going through the Mexico City speed trap at 361.9kph. Teams’ predictions of what speeds will be possible in Las Vegas have varied, with 350kph definitely possible but matching the 359kph of Monza or 361kph of the high altitude Mexico track might not be in reach.
It is expected that 4.84km of the lap in Las Vegas will be covered while at full throttle, equating to 66% of the lap time. In distance covered at full throttle as a percentage of the whole lap that puts the track only behind Jeddah, Bahrain and Monza, but there are eight circuits where F1 drivers spend a greater proportion of the lap time flat-out.
At the end of the Strip is one of the lap’s five braking zones, only three of which are expected to be significant braking events.
This is the first bespoke section of track, on an area of land that was mostly grit and sand before F1 bought it for a nine-figure sum. The pit lane runs alongside on the left, and does the same into turns one and two where it rejoins the track.
Turn one (also pictured top at night) is the first of three heavy braking zones in the lap and is a hairpin that leads directly into the minimal direction change of turn two which drivers will accelerate out of for the very short blast to turn three.
Drivers will want to hug the barrier on the right as they increase their speed into turns three and four, and this is not only because it is the fastest way though the continual right-hander but also because the pit exit is on the left between turns two and three and therefore a wide turn-in could result in contact with an unsighted car exiting the pits.
Turn three looks like one of few fairly quick corners, which opens up at its exit.
After turn four is the first long straight of the lap, and at the end of it is the next heavy braking zone of turn five.
This 90-degree right-hander takes drivers into the section of track that goes around Madison Square Garden’s recently opened Sphere. F1 originally planned for turn five to be a 180-degree corner in the style of turn four at the Sochi Autodrom. However a slower design was chosen instead.
Drivers will experience the first half of the planned left-hander, so taking them around one-quarter of the Sphere, before a slow-speed section.
To navigate the next quarter of the Sphere, there is a sharp left-hander followed swiftly by a right-hander. From there the drivers soon arrive at turn nine which starts off tight but gets wider as it straightens out and heads onto Sands Avenue.
Sands Avenue snakes right then left – two corners which would have been tackled at much higher speeds under the original design – and the track follows it for turns 10 and 11 and with increasing speed.
This left-hander has some run-off due to the speed drivers approach it at. It is likely to be one of the most important corners on the track due to the long, high-speed section which follows it.
Drivers go around the Venetian Resort and onto the Strip, the road that this whole circuit was designed to include and also one of the longest full-throttle stretches on the F1 calendar.
On the Strip the drivers rush past several casinos, including the Caesars Palace hotel that F1 raced in the car park of in 1981 and 1982, the Bellagio fountain and Paris Las Vegas with its replica Eiffel Tower copy.
This is a high-speed kink in The Strip that will be taken at full throttle and is arguably less of a challenge than what follows, which is the barriers on either side shifting to the right mid-straight to channel the drivers into the lanes on the right of what would usually be a very wide road if F1 was not racing there.
The third heavy braking zone after 1.9km of increasing speeds leads into a left-right-left chicane and E Harmon Avenue. Drivers go past Planet Hollywood as they exit the Strip.
After blasting along E Harmon Avenue, there’s a high-speed left-hander to tackle which will feature a change in asphalt since this is the newly built section. The pit entrance is at the apex of turn 17, which means drivers have to make sure they have the inside line if they have other cars nearby and that they brake hard as they enter the pit lane. It is the last corner of the lap, with the timing line just beyond the exit.
This content was originally published here.