F1, US GP: The two title rivals battled till the last lap of the United States Grand Prix before Verstappen passed the chequered flag ahead of Lewis Hamilton. With this win, Max is now 12 points ahead in the driver’s championship which will be tricky going ahead.
Lewis Hamilton got on to an electric start from P2 as the lights were out. He lead the race right from turn 1 even after Verstappen tried to squeeze him. The Dutchman came back onto the track next to teammate Perez, who duly let him back past for P2.
In the middle ground, it was drama all around with the Ferraris and McLarens bullying one another for going ahead. After some overtaking when the dust settled it was Leclerc in P4 followed by Ricciardo P5 and Sainz in sixth.
Valtteri Bottas already in-depth with a five-spot grid penalty starting the race at P9 struggled to keep pace. The race but starting to get hotter and hotter as the sun beats down.
“Tyres are really hot, and I don’t think we are particularly quick,” said Verstappen announcing his team to prepare for the undercut on Lap 11. He rejoins the track in P4 equipped with a Hard compound and soon got P3 because of Leclerc pitting.
The undercut worked wonders for the championship leader. When Lewis Hamilton returned to action after his pit he found himself six seconds behind Verstappen in P2.
The heat was merciless which meant that a second pit stop would be a necessity. Redbull on the second stop too was the first to act and pitted Verstappen on the 29th Lap. Lewis with some thoughts remained and pitted on Lap 37. Leading the race with 11+ seconds turned to an eight seconds deficit after the pit stop.
However, the gap to the leader started to fall as the tyres began to give answers. “It’s all about the last three laps,” Lewis was told by his crew. With five seconds left the gap between Max and Lewis dropped incredibly low to 1.7s.
Although it was a chance for Hamilton to take, Max Verstappen gave in everything he had to keep up with Lewis’s relatively new tyres. The dutchman only led by 1.3s at the chequered flag.
Sergio Perez was good with his tyre management joined the podium being 42.2s off of Verstappen. The first and third results will surely help Redbull hunt Mercedes in the constructor’s championship.
A good result for Ferrari as Charles Leclerc finished P4, 10 seconds behind Perez. Leclerc showed no gains or losses as he started the race P4 and finished there only. P3 would have been a chance but that Honda-powered Redbull was quick to fend off Leclerc.
The Australian, Daniel Ricciardo, finished P5 which Carlos Sainz was eyeing from the start but on Lap 43 when the two fought out Sainz was left with damage and withdrew his challenge to that P5 spot.
Bottas had a hard race starting from P9 failing to find the pace and being held by Yuki Tsunoda at the start and Sainz at the end. Although it was not his day, the strategy to go longer proved fruitful to settle with P6.
With Sainz finishing P7, Norris finished unlikely eighth place. The Alphatauri team managed P9 for Yuki Tsunoda and unfortunately had to retire Gasly on Lap 15 with a suspension issue.
Kimi Raikkonen nearly took the final point thanks to a stellar start to the race but spun off the track at Turn 6 with three laps remaining, giving engine penalty-hit Sebastian Vettel an unlikely P10 for Aston Martin from P18 as he pulled off a medium-medium-hard strategy.
Antonio Giovinazzi was heading for P12 but took P11 thanks to his Alfa Romeo teammate’s late mistake, while Lance Stroll gained an unlikely place at the end too – after taking damage thanks to contact from Williams’ Nicholas Latifi at the start – and gained one place overall to finish 12th ahead of Raikkonen.
George Russell finished 14th ahead of Williams teammate Latifi, who hit his compatriot’s Aston Martin at Turn 1 on Lap 1, and finished 15th after a front wing change.
With Gasly (suspension), fellow Frenchman Esteban Ocon, and his Alpine teammate Fernando Alonso (rear wing) the three retirees, Mick Schumacher took 16th ahead of Haas teammate Nikita Mazepin in P17 at their team’s home race.