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Verstappen wins inaugural Vegas GP, Leclerc passes Perez on final lap

Dan Istitene - Formula 1 / Formula 1 / Getty

Three-time world champion Max Verstappen can add a rare new achievement to his resume - winning in Las Vegas.

The Dutch driver claimed his 18th victory of the season, finishing first in the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix on Sunday.

"I think it created quite a good amount of racing here, so it was a lot of fun" Verstappen said following the race, according to F1, "I hope everyone enjoyed it a bit, already excited to come back here next year."

The 26-year-old had been critical of the event heading into race day, stating that it was "99% show, 1% sporting event," and comparing it to low-level "national league" soccer.

Ferrari pole-sitter Charles Leclerc passed Sergio Perez, Verstappen's Red Bull teammate, on the final lap to finish second. Checo placed third.

Leclerc earned Driver of the Day honors for his efforts.

Despite getting passed, Perez guaranteed himself second place in the drivers' championship standings for the 2023 season with the result. The final race runs next weekend in Abu Dhabi.

The Las Vegas GP, a street circuit that prominently features the city's iconic strip, was added to the F1 calendar this year and is the third and final American race of the season following Miami and Austin. Vegas will remain on the itinerary at least through 2032.

This is the first time F1 has raced in Vegas since the second and final running of the Caesars Palace Grand Prix in 1982. However, that track did not feature the infamous strip.

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