Verstappen is F1’s King of Las Vegas with 18th win of season

LAS VEGAS   -  Red Bull’s Max Verstappen sang “Viva Las Vegas” after racing to a record-extending 18th victory of the season and joining Sebastian Vettel in third place on Formula One’s all-time winners’ list.

The triumph on a spectacular night in Sin City was the 53rd of the triple champion’s career, and sixth in a row, and came after a five-second penalty for forcing Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc off track at the start and then a collision with Mercedes’ George Russell.

Leclerc finished second after starting on pole position, losing and regaining the lead and then losing it again before passing Sergio Perez on the final lap to deny Red Bull a seventh onetwo of the season.

The win was Red Bull’s 20th in 21 races, another record for a single season, and delivered the racing that had risked being swamped in a wave of hype as Vegas hosted a grand prix for the first time since the 1980s. It also completed a sweep of three U.S. wins in 2023 for their 26-year-old Dutch driver, who was also dominant in Miami and Austin.

“It was a tough one,” said Verstappen, whose race suit paid homage to the signature jumpsuit of the late “King of Rock and Roll”, Elvis Presley. “I tried to go for it at the start, I think we both braked quite late and then I just ran out of grip and 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 ... It was definitely a lot of fun.”

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