Max Verstappen described his win at the Las Vegas Grand Prix as “tough” as he overcame a collision and a penalty to emerge victorious for the 18th time this season.
Verstappen was made to serve a five-second time penalty for an infringement on the first corner of the race, forcing Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari off the track while overtaking the pole-sitter.
The Red Bull driver then collided with Mercedes’ George Russell on lap 25, leading to the second of two safety cars, though the three-time champion kicked on to secure a 53rd career victory, tying him with Sebastian Vettel in third on the all-time list of winners.
The resilient Verstappen was glad to have overcome the challenges the race had thrown his way, saying: “It was a tough one.
“I tried to go for it at the start but I think we [Verstappen and Leclerc] both braked quite late and I ran out of grip and we ended up a bit wide, and the stewards gave me a penalty for that.
“Then that put us a little bit on the back foot. I had to pass quite a few cars and the safety car again so at that point already there was a lot going on in the race.”
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Verstappen had been critical of the Las Vegas Grand Prix in the build-up, describing it as “99 per cent show and one per cent sporting event”, though his view has changed after the race.
“The DRS was very powerful,” Verstappen explained. “So even when you take the lead, if the guy behind had the DRS he would still have an opportunity to come back at you which I think created quite a lot of good racing here today.
“It was a lot of fun there, like I said with the DRS it helped a lot, also with the low degradation on the tarmac you could really push on the tyres which was good.
“[It was] a great crowd. I hope everyone enjoyed it a bit, we definitely did, so [I am] already excited to come back next year and hopefully try and do something similar.”