For the third consecutive year, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton took part in the United States GP. But just like in 2021 and 2022, it was the Dutchman from RBR who got the better of the Austin circuit, winning the race from sixth place this Sunday and holding off his rival in the closing laps. His third straight win at the track was Lando Norris’ third; The Brit came to lead the race after passing Charles Leclerc for pole position at the start.
Verstappen is the first driver to win at Austin since the track debuted in F1 in 2012. For his 50th career victory, he aimed to finish second in his initial pit stop; At the hand, he overtook then-leader Norris and had to control Hamilton’s approach over the final six laps to fight for the win.
After losing a place at the start, Hamilton regained the lead twice. However, lap 21 was interrupted by a pit stop of almost 4 seconds. To get back into contention, he made good maneuvers on Leclerc and Norris in the final moments, finishing second.
In the last six laps, he took at least 3s5 of the 5s deficit he had over Verstappen, half a second each lap. Under pressure, Max managed to pull off a pit stop below his team’s standard on lap 36 and take the checkered flag at the front.
With this victory, Verstappen moved up to 466 points in the points table. But the battle is now concentrated below him: Hamilton, who had a 27-point gap on vice-leader Sergio Perez, has cut his deficit to 19 points in third place. In the Constructors’ World Championship, six-time champions RBR have 704 points to 358 for second-placed Mercedes.
- Max Verstappen (RBR)
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +2s225
- Lando Norris (McLaren) +10s730
- Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) +15s134
- Sergio Perez (RBR) +18s460
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +24s662
- George Russell (Mercedes) +24s999
- Pierre Casely (Alpine) +47s996
- Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) +48s696
- Yuki Tsunoda (Alphatauri) +1m14s385*
- Alexander Alban (Williams) +1m26s714
- Logan Sargent (Williams) +1:27.998
- Nico Hulkenberg (Haas) +1m29s904
- Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) +1m38s904
- Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo) +1 lap
- Kevin Magnussen (Haas) +1 lap
- Daniel Ricciardo (Alfatari) +1 lap
Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) – dropped
Oscar Piastre (McLaren) – Abandoned
Esteban Ocon (Alpine) – Dropped
*Extra point for fastest lap.
F1 returns next weekend on October 29 with the Mexican GP, the 19th of 22 this season. Then, he arrives in Brazil on November 5 for the Sao Paulo GB. See the calendar; There are only four rounds left in the championship.
The list of retirees includes Fernando Alonso (suspension problem), Oscar Piastre (overheated) and Esteban Ocon (damage after contact with Piastre at the start of the race). Also, Alexander Alban was fined 5s for breaching the track limits.
Norris, first in second, jumped into the lead before the first corner. He left behind a mess involving pole sitter Leclerc, who was relegated to second place; Sainz and Hamilton lost third place to the Spaniard, surrounded by two Ferrari cars.
Verstappen appeared behind Hamilton, who started sixth and overtook him confusingly at the start. The three-time RBR champion was unable to overtake his rival, but finished fifth – a position previously held by George Russell. This in turn dropped three positions at the start of the race, although he recovered on the following lap to emerge seventh.
Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll and Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen left the pit lane after adjusting their cars for the race. Of the quartet, Magnussen was the best in 16th place after the first round. However, ten laps later, Alonso had gained three places to finish 15th.
Hamilton takes the lead
It all started on lap five when he passed seven-time champion Sainz for third. At the start of the sixth lap, he would overtake Leclerc for second place, who had to manage Verstappen’s approach between laps 12 and 14 until the inevitable maneuver on lap 11.
At the front, the then leader Norris had an advantage of 3 seconds over Hamilton, but in the next six laps the difference almost halved: in the 17th year, it was already 1 v 8. At this point, Verstappen dropped out of the top 3 and moved up to ninth on fresh medium tires. In the next round it was the turn of Perez, Sainz, Norris and Tsunoda. With this, Hamilton took a temporary lead in the race.
A missed opportunity – and a new leader
On lap 21, Hamilton relinquished the temporary lead to Leclerc. But the seven-time champion’s transition was slow, lasting 3s6. Now wearing harder tyres, he was relegated to fifth place, and during the race, complained to Mercedes over the radio about the damage caused by the team.
With a pit stop by Russell and Leclerc, Norris retook the lead, with Verstappen following him by less than 1 second, already setting the stage for an overtaking four laps later following a rebuild. The three-time champion defended his position in the 28th year, at the age of 12, against Landau. These changes moved Hamilton back up to third place.
From then on, it was a matter of maintaining the lead which Verstappen and RBR slipped away from the team with Norris in the second round of pit stops.
With Hamilton as temporary deputy, Verstappen made a second visit to the pits on lap 36. The stoppage was 3s3, below team standards. However, the deficit was contained and he was able to regain the lead after changes between Sainz (36th lap), Perez (38th) and Hamilton (39th).
Hamilton had medium tires against the hard tires of leader Verstappen and vice-president Norris. But the seven-time champion still had room for improvement, with 17 laps to go before the checkered flag. After dropping to fourth on his second pit stop, he set his best lap of the race and overtook Leclerc on lap 43, breaking through the defense of his Ferrari rival.
He then began his hunt for Norris, chipping away at a 3s8 gap from the race’s 47th lap until he entered the mobile rear wing application zone with less than 1 second to spare. The pair almost touched each other in the Mercedes driver’s first real attempt. However, Norris could not hold on for long and became an easy target for the veteran on lap 49.
With six laps to go, the gap between Verstappen and Hamilton was almost 5 seconds. On lap one, the seven-time champion’s medium tires took half a second off the leader. RBR warned its driver about falling times, and Max complained that it was distracting him. Not much time, however, and the Dutchman crossed the finish line ahead.
Alonso was the closest to the scoring zone after the first round of pit stops of the quartet that started the race on pit lane; In 11th place, he overtook Guanyu Zhou for tenth place on lap 24. Stroll and Hulkenberg attacked him as the race progressed.
With the second set of changes completed in the final half of the race, Alonso finished tenth and Stroll 11th, losing positions after a pit stop on lap 42. However, the Spaniard abandoned the race due to suspension problems on his Aston Martin. Ula, on the other hand, crossed the finish line in ninth place.
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