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HomesportVerstappen takes record 16th win of the season in Mexico

Verstappen takes record 16th win of the season in Mexico

MEXICO CITY: Red Bull’s triple world champion Max Verstappen became the first Formula One driver to take 16 victories in a season when he won a crash-halted and action-packed Mexico City Grand Prix on Sunday (Oct 29).

The Dutch 26-year-old also equalled French great Alain Prost’s haul of 51 career wins with his fifth triumph in six editions of the Mexican race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Only three drivers have won more races.

“We are experiencing an incredible season. Today, we had to start P3 but I think the pace of the car was very, very good,” said Verstappen, who set the previous record of 15 last year and has already secured his third title in a row.

“Seventeen, 18? I don’t know,” he added when asked about his next goal with three races remaining. Red Bull have won all but one of the 19 so far.

Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton finished second, with a bonus point for fastest lap, and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was third in a race red-flagged and restarted just before the halfway point when Haas’s Kevin Magnussen crashed heavily.

Verstappen’s under-pressure Mexican teammate Sergio Perez retired after colliding with pole-sitter Leclerc as he tried to pass into the first corner.

The retirement left Perez only 20 points clear of Hamilton in the battle for second place, a priority now for Red Bull who have never finished a season with their drivers first and second.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was fourth, with McLaren’s Lando Norris a stunning fifth after starting in 17th place.

George Russell was sixth for Mercedes, Australian Daniel Ricciardo scored his first points for AlphaTauri in seventh and compatriot Oscar Piastri was eighth for McLaren.

Alex Albon was ninth for Williams and Esteban Ocon 10th for Renault-owned Alpine.

The race was halted for barrier repairs after 34 of the 71 laps when Magnussen’s Haas crashed heavily following a suspected right rear suspension failure.

The Dane climbed out and sat on the wall while the shattered car’s rear brakes caught fire and the safety car was deployed before red flags were waved.

The race resumed from a standing re-start, with Verstappen leading away from pole and Leclerc second on the hard tyres but seven-times world champion Hamilton was right behind on mediums.

Verstappen had seized the safety car period as an opportunity for a cheap second pitstop and some fresh hards while Leclerc had pitted just before Magnussen’s accident.

Some of the fans were heading for the exits already by then, dismayed at Perez’s retirement.

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