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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 19 June 2024

Sao Paulo Grand Prix: Max Verstappen marks record 17th win of the season

Ferrari suffered a blow before the race when Charles Leclerc crashed out on the formation lap but still gained ultimately on Mercedes in the standings

Reuters Sao Paulo Published 07.11.23, 08:52 AM
Max Verstappen.

Max Verstappen. File picture

Max Verstappen’s 17th win of the F1 season, at the Sao Paulo GP, rewrote the record book and established the triple world champion as the most dominant driver the sport has ever seen over the course of a campaign.

Until Sunday’s Sao Paulo GP at Interlagos, the highest win percentage for a season was the 75 per cent of late Italian champion Alberto Ascari who won six out of eight races with Ferrari in 1952.

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Verstappen’s tally so far from 20 races puts his percentage at 85, and even if he does not win the remaining two rounds of the season in Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi, he will still finish above 77 per cent.

His 19 podiums for the year so far are also a record as are the 524 points scored. He has led 922 laps, another record for a season, and counting. It is, however, true that season were shorter earlier.

McLaren’s Lando Norris finished second, 8.2 seconds behind on Sunday, but with a bonus point for fastest lap, while Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso took third place by a whisker from Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.

The victory stretched Vers tappen’s lead over Perez to 266 points, with the Mexican now 32 clear of Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton in the battle for second overall.

“The starts were very important today. Both of them were I think very good. After that the whole race was about the management of the tyres,” said Verstappen, who also won Saturday’s sprint race.

Alonso provided the late thrills with a dramatic battle with Perez. The Spaniard crossed the finish line just 0.053 seconds ahead of the Mexican after Perez passed him on the penultimate lap and Alonso, the oldest man in the race at 42, grabbed the place back on the last.

Ferrari suffered a blow before the race when Charles Leclerc crashed out on the formation lap but still gained ultimately on Mercedes in the standings.

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