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Max Verstappen breaks F1 season winning record with 14th win


MEXICO CITY (AP) — Max Verstappen broke his one-season win record at the Mexico City Grand Prix on Sunday, where he earned his 14th to beat the record shared with Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.

Schumacher broke the record in 2004, Vettel tied in 2013, and Verstappen tied the Germans for a week after his victory in the Americas last week. Paired with wins in Miami, Montreal and now Mexico City, Verstappen swept the North American section of this year’s F1 calendar.

The Dutchman retained the F1 world championship with four races remaining in the season, clinched the constructors’ championship for Red Bull with three races remaining in the season, and has two races left to completely break the season-winning record.

Red Bull has now won nine races in a row, breaking the team record set in 2013. The team has won 16 of 21 F1 races this season, with Verstappen and Sergio Perez winning in Monaco and Singapore.

Lewis Hamilton finished second for two consecutive weeks. He might have had a shot at his first win of the season, but Mercedes made the wrong decision on a tire change that gave Verstappen control.

Perez finished third at home for the second year in a row with deafening cheers, though a Mexican driver has yet to take a win at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Perez was harassed by adoring fans all week on his return. It started with a show run in his hometown of Guadalajara, before arriving on the track where Perez was surrounded by crowds as soon as he entered the paddock.

Every track session Red Bull had to use a reverse route to get to the garage, as drivers and teams complained that the spectators who bought paddock access for most of the weekend were too aggressive.

But fans love his domestic drivers, and before the race Perez took a ride around the track in the back of a convertible Volkswagen. She often put her hand to her heart to show her appreciation to over 120,000 fans.

“Honestly, it was incredible,” Perez told the crowd after the race in Spanish. “Thank you for all the support you have given me this weekend. You’re incredible, the best fanbase. Thank you.”

The three-day weekend sold out in two minutes earlier this year, and the three-day crowd of 395,902 beat the record of 371,779 set last year. F1 also said before the race that it had extended its contract with the race until 2025 – often the most popular vote among fans.

The day belonged to Verstappen, who started from pole position and won for the 34th time in his career. Hamilton held the lead at the start as he beat teammate George Russell in second and Perez outpaced Russell.

Hamilton may have raced to win and was in the lead when he pitted, and Mercedes opted for the harder, more durable rubber compound. Verstappen had a softer, faster tire and Hamilton lacked the speed to fight for victory.

Hamilton has two more chances to avoid the first unwinnable season of his career.

Meanwhile, Pierre Gassly earned two more penalty points for running Lance Stroll off the track, and the French driver is now one penalty point away from a one-race penalty.

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More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports





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