F1 champ Max Verstappen wins Las Vegas GP – his 18th victory of the season | US News

Max Verstappen won the Las Vegas Grand Prix in dramatic fashion on Sunday, on a weekend marred by controversy in Sin City.

The Dutchman has already won this year’s championship, and yet made it 18 wins from 21 with only one round remaining.

Verstappen was forced to overcome a five-second time penalty during the race, as well as manage collisions with Charles Leclerc and George Russell.

Ferrari’s Leclerc passed Sergio Perez on the final lap to clinch second place, while British star Lando Norris ended up in hospital after a third-lap 180mph crash.

Lewis Hamilton finished seventh.

But much of the focus of the race was off the track, with the event hitting a number of problems over the weekend.

Controversially billed as the most expensive race in Formula One history, fans on Thursday only managed to see eight minutes of racing during the practice session, after a loose manhole cover on the street circuit tore a hole in Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari, bringing proceedings to a screeching halt.

It was more than five hours before cars were allowed back on the track, by which point fans had been made to leave.

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‘Shambolic’ Las Vegas Grand Prix halted

Hours before the race itself, organisers were hit with a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of 35,000 fans who only got to see a few minutes of the event.

On Saturday, Verstappen compared the glitzy, celeb-packed event, to the fifth tier of English football, telling reporters after qualifying: “Monaco is Champions League and this is National League.”

He added: “When I was a little kid, it was all about the emotion of the sport that I fell in love with and not the show. As a real racer, the show shouldn’t matter.”

November 18th, 2023, Las Vegas Street Circuit, Las Vegas, FORMULA 1 HEINEKEN SILVER LAS VEGAS GRAND PRIX 2023, in the picture winner Max Verstappen (NLD), Oracle Red Bull Racing Photo by: Hasan Bratic/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Verstappen had criticised the organisation of the race. Pic: AP

The event was packed with celebrities in and around the paddock, including the likes of Kylie Minogue, Justin Bieber and John Legend.

The Formula One season closes next weekend, with the final race taking place at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit.

Verstappen and Red Bull colleague Perez have already tied up first and second place in the championship, while Hamilton sits in third.

Red Bull will take the season’s constructors trophy.

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