By Michael Madyira
Max Verstappen came out tops of a thrilling Las Vegas Grand Prix to seal a record-extending 18th victory of the 2023 season.
The Dutchman beat Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc and Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez to the chequered flag in this action-packed race.
It was Verstappen’s 53rd career win as he went at par with Sebastian Vettel in third on Formula One’s all-time list of winners.
Leclerc started from pole although his chances were dented by the Safety Car’s timing but a final-lap overtaking of Perez saw him settling for second.
Generally, it was a race marked by a number of incidents and Safety Car periods but it lived up to its billing as Formula One returned to Las Vegas for the first time since 1982.
To his credit, Verstappen defied a collision and a five-second time penalty after forcing Leclerc off the track but still went on to claim this penultimate race of the 2023 season.
“It was a tough one,” Verstappen said after the race as per Sky Sports.
“I tried to go for it at the start. We [himself and Leclerc] both braked quite late and I just ran out of grip, so we ended up a bit wide.
“The stewards gave me a penalty for that and it put us on the back foot. I had to pass quite a few cars and there was the Safety Car, so at that point there was a lot going on.
“Then we went flat out. I had to pass a few cars to get into the battle with them. The DRS around here was very powerful.
“Even when you would take the lead, if the guy behind stays in the DRS, he would still have the opportunity to come back to you, so it created a lot of good racing today. Definitely a lot of fun.”
Thanks to fresher tyres when Verstappen pitted under the Safety Car, he managed to overtake Leclerc with 13 laps to go before romping to victory in this chaotic race.
Pictured above: Max Verstappen celebrating his Las Vegas GRnd Prix victory.
Image source: Formula One