Categories: News

Max Verstappen records crucial victory in the United States and doubles the lead over rival Lewis Hamilton

What preceded…

Sixteen races done, six to go: Formula 1 started the final sprint in the United States on Sunday evening towards the end of the season. Max Verstappen arrived at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin as World Cup leader, but with Lewis Hamilton barely six points behind, the title battle is still wide open. And the Texas circuit was one where Hamilton has often celebrated in the past: he has already won there five times and captured his third and sixth world titles in 2015 and 2019 respectively.

Mercedes started the weekend in Austin blisteringly fast on Friday, but on Saturday it was Red Bull that was partying. Verstappen took pole position ahead of Hamilton, and Sergio Pérez was third at close range. That offered perspectives for the energy drink manufacturer, because second Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas was only allowed to leave in ninth position due to an engine change.

How did the start go?

Given their collisions in Great Britain and Italy earlier this season, it was looking forward to Verstappen and Hamilton in Turn 1, where there is always some pushing and pulling, especially at the start. That was also the case now, but it ended well for both title contenders. Hamilton had the best start and managed to dive in at Verstappen, who went wide but kept his second place.

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Things went a little less smoothly behind the duo. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) and Nicholas Latifi (Williams), two Canadians driving half a home race in Austin, collided with each other. Nikita Mazepin of the American Haas team also ran into problems: he soon had to make a pit stop.

How did the victory come about?

The United States Grand Prix, like several races earlier this season, offered tactical jousting. Max Verstappen was the first of the toppers to get new tires in the initial phase. Lewis Hamilton waited a few laps longer, Verstappen took advantage of his fresh rubber to take the lead.

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In the second series of pit stops it was again Verstappen who dived in first, on lap 29 of 56. Because Verstappen’s teammate Pérez was already further behind, Hamilton could afford to stay out even longer and still take his second place. preserve. Hamilton eventually got fresh tires on lap 37 and was able to fully chase Verstappen in the final phase.

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That would not be easy, because Hamilton had to close a gap of almost ten seconds on his Dutch rival. With his new tires, the seven-time world champion managed to get closer little by little. With eight laps to go, the difference fell to under two seconds, but Hamilton could never get close enough to really attack Verstappen. The Dutchman thus booked his eighth victory of the year and doubles his lead over Hamilton to twelve points in the World Cup.

How high was the spectacle value?

Behind ruffs Verstappen and Hamilton there was also something to experience in the battle for third place in the constructors’ standings. McLaren and Ferrari have been fighting for this all season and in the States that was nicely reflected with an exciting duel between Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) and Carlos Sainz Jr. (Ferrari). The latter was on Ricciardo’s tail for most of the race, but he was never able to make the decisive overtake – although he was very close once.

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The midfield hero, however, was Charles Leclerc, who finished just a handful of seconds behind number three Sergio Pérez. Ricciardo took fifth place ahead of Valtteri Bottas, who drove a pale race in the second Mercedes. Carlos Sainz, Lando Norris (McLaren), Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) and Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) captured the last points.

Fernando Alonso did not make it to the finish, but the Spaniard provided entertainment again. When Kimi Räikkönen had to go outside the track limits to overtake him – Alonso left no room for this – and was not penalized for this, Alonso reacted by overtaking Antonio Giovinazzi very showy outside the track. A sneer at the stewards present? In the end it didn’t work as the Spaniard retired late in the race with a broken rear wing.

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What do we remember from this race?

That Max Verstappen has achieved a perhaps crucial victory. Mercedes was announced in advance as a favorite at the Circuit of the Americas, but instead Lewis Hamilton sees his backlog widening. And the next two races in Mexico (November 7) and Brazil (November 14) should suit Red Bull better on paper. Work to be done for the seven-time world champion!

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