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Max Verstappen claims record 16th win of season in Mexico

Max Verstappen added another record to his incredible 2023 with win number 16 at the Mexico City Grand Prix, moving him joint fourth on F1’s all-time list.

Verstappen had a lightning getaway off the line from third on the grid and passed Charles Leclerc at Turn 1, where Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez was punted out of the race by the Ferrari driver.

Verstappen, who wrapped up the title at the Qatar Grand Prix earlier this month, cantered away to win from that point, even with a race restart to manage in the second half of the event.

Lewis Hamilton concluded second, just under 14 seconds off the leader, with Leclerc rounding out the podium in third place.

The triumph was the 51st of Verstappen’s F1 career, moving him level with four-time world champion Alain Prost.

Only Sebastian Vettel (53), Michael Schumacher (91) and Hamilton (103) have won more.

It also overtakes the record of 15 wins in a year he set last season, which beat the previous benchmark of 14 shared by Vettel and Schumacher.

He could extend his tally to 19 by the end of the year if he keeps winning.

Earlier this year Verstappen toppled another Vettel record, claiming 10 consecutive wins between May’s Miami Grand Prix and September’s Italian Grand Prix.

It was a bittersweet race for Red Bull, with Perez’s hopes of a strong result dashed seconds into the race.

Perez had a superb getaway and might have followed or led Verstappen out of Turns 1 and 2 had he not turned across Leclerc, who was left with nowhere to avoid the collision.

The stewards deemed it to be a racing incident and Perez later said Leclerc was not to blame for the collision.

“I took a risk to exit that corner first and go for the victory,” Perez told the media after retiring from the event.

“It hurts me a lot for the people. I gave it my all. I wanted to give them the victory”.

Leclerc did manage to avoid serious damage, however, with a loose front wing endplate falling off his car before the FIA was forced to call the Ferrari into pit on safety grounds.

Ferrari was able to fix Leclerc’s car when the race was red flagged on Lap 34 following a heavy Kevin Magnussen crash.

Magnussen had lost control of his car at Turn 9 and smashed into the barriers.

The Danish driver was unhurt but appeared to be winded immediately after climbing out of his car.

The restart did not create much jeopardy for Verstappen, who disappeared into the distance again.

Hamilton managed to catch and pass Leclerc for second position a few laps later in incredibly brave fashion, dipping two wheels onto the grass to get the move done on the run to Turn 1.

Hamilton comfortably held second despite a long stint on the mediums, finishing ahead of Ferrari pair Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

McLaren’s Lando Norris earned himself the Driver of the Day fan vote with a superb charge from 19th to 5th.

Norris, who was the only driver to start on the soft tire, carved through the field and caught and capped his fightback with a superb overtake on Mercedes’ George Russell for fifth, three laps from the finish.

McLaren will be left wondering what might have been had Norris not been eliminated in Q1.

After being passed by Norris, it was clear Russell was struggling with his tires and he clung on ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, who capped a very impressive weekend with seventh.

Oscar Piastri was eighth in the other McLaren, ahead of Williams driver Alex Albon.

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon passed Nico Hulkenberg several laps from the finish to claim the final point on offer, finishing 10th.

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