Verstappen crowned King of Las Vegas as Leclerc beats Perez to second

Red Bull secure 1-2 in World Drivers Championship

Max Verstappen claimed his 18th win of the season at an action-packed weekend under the Las Vegas lights. Overcoming a five-second penalty and a damaged car, Verstappen’s controlled victory brought his total career wins to 53, placing him level with Sebastian Vettel.   

After starting in 11th, Sergio Pérez climbed to third by the end of the race, adding 15 crucial points to his tally. His podium means Red Bull has achieved a 1-2 finish in the Drivers’ Championship standings for the first time in history.  

Although Charles Leclerc couldn’t capitalise on his fifth pole of the season, he put up a strong fight against the Red Bulls. Verstappen’s decisive overtake with 16 laps to go set the stage for a thrilling battle between Leclerc and Pérez. After the Ferrari driver locked up with eight laps remaining, allowing Pérez to pass, it looked to be a comfortable Red Bull 1-2 until an impressive last lap lunge on Pérez secured second place for Leclerc.  

If not for a safety car handing an advantage to the Red Bulls, Leclerc’s result might have been even better, leaving fans to wonder what could have happened had the dice rolled in Ferrari’s favour.   

Finishing second, Leclerc picked up an additional 3 points, which may prove pivotal in the team’s battle against Mercedes for second in the World Constructors’ Championship. It was another disappointing race for Mercedes, with Lewis Hamilton suffering a string of setbacks and a penalty for George Russell after he turned in on Verstappen. With only 4 points now separating the two teams, it will all come down to next week’s race in Abu Dhabi.  

The fourth-place battle between McLaren and Aston Martin is also one to watch. Both McLarens struggled during qualifying for Las Vegas, resulting in Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll knocking Lando Norris out of Q1. Going on to secure fifth in the race, Stroll picked up 10 points, placing Aston Martin only 11 points behind the papaya team as they head into the season finale.  

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