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F1 champion Max Verstappen wins Las Vegas GP – his 18th victory of the season

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

The Dutchman has already won the championship this year, and yet he has won 18 out of 21 with only one round remaining.

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

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

Lewis Hamilton finished seventh.

But much of the racing took place off the track, with the event encountering a number of issues over the weekend.

Controversially billed as the most expensive race in Formula 1 history, fans only managed to see eight minutes of racing during the practice session on Thursday, after a manhole cover was loosened on the urban circuit. tore a hole in Carlos Sainz’s Ferraribringing the proceedings to an abrupt end.

It took more than five hours before the cars were allowed to return to the track, at which point fans were forced to leave.

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The “shambolic” Las Vegas Grand Prix interrupted

A few hours before the race itself, the organizers were the subject of a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of 35,000 fans who were only able to see a few minutes of the event.

On Saturday, Verstappen likened the glitzy, celebrity-filled event, in the fifth tier of English footballdeclaring to journalists after qualifying: “Monaco is the Champions League and here it is the National League”.

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

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

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

The Formula 1 season will end next weekend with the final race taking place at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

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

Red Bull will take home the constructors’ trophy for the season.

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