Motorsport: Champion Max Verstappen overcomes Las Vegas mayhem for 18th Formula One victory of campaign

Max Verstappen has continued his dominant Formula One season, with victory in the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix, his 18th win in 21 starts.

The result turned out to be a typical win for Verstappen - who will win his third straight F1 driver title this season - in an atypical week, marred by problems with the first practice round and Verstappen himself complaining about the glitzy nature of race week, amid the bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip.

In the end, he soaked up the bright lights and big stage, and as he crossed the finish-line, wearing his a white race suit, a la Elvis Presley, he sang 'Viva Las Vegas!' - a Presley standard.

Max Verstappen celebrates victory at Las Vegas.
Max Verstappen celebrates victory at Las Vegas. Photo credit: Getty Images

Fittingly, a superstar from another generation - Justin Bieber - was at the finish-line to wave the checkered flag to end the race.

Verstappen completed the 50-lap course ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc (2.07 seconds behind) and Sergio Perez (2.241 seconds back), his Red Bull Racing teammate. Alpine's Esteban Ocon finished fourth, more than 18 seconds behind Verstappen.

Leclerc was the top qualifier and Verstappen moved to second place on the starting grid, after Carlos Sainz was penalised 10 seconds, because his team had to make changes to his car, after damage caused by hitting a drain cover in Thursday night's practice.

The Sainz incident forced race organisers to cancel the practice and make changes throughout the course.

Throughout the race, Leclerc, Verstappen and Perez jockeyed for position, but near the end, the Red Bull teammates worked together to allow Verstappen to pass Leclerc with 13 laps remaining. Leclerc of Monaco passed Mexico's Perez for second place on the final lap.

Verstappen of the Netherlands managed to win, despite serving a five-second penalty for forcing Leclerc wide at the first corner. The penalty was assessed during a pitstop and Verstappen emerged in 11th place, but was still able to overcome Leclerc.

"I really enjoyed it and I am especially happy that we finished the weekend on a high note, because it was hurting me to see the sport that I love so much starting so wrong on Thursday," said Leclerc. "The fact that we had an amazing race makes it all better."

Earlier in the week, Verstappen blasted the Las Vegas race, calling it "99 percent show and one percent sporting event", and saying he didn't "like all the things around it".

In the end, he lapped up the bright lights of 'Sin City'.

"I hope everyone enjoyed it, we definitely did," he said. "Excited to come back here next year and try to do something similar.

"It was a fun race. I enjoyed it."

Perez clinched a second-place finish in the driver standings.

The final race of the season comes next weekend at the Abu Dhabi Grad Prix.