Formula 1

Max Verstappen: “We definitely gave it our all today as a Team”

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Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Max Verstappen superbly won the United States Grand Prix on Sunday, but the Dutchman acknowledged the pressure from Lewis Hamilton was there throughout the fifty-six laps as Red Bull Racing took an aggressive pit strategy that saw his rival close the gap in the closing laps.

From pole position, Verstappen lost the lead at turn one to his championship rival, but the Dutchman never let the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver get away at the front, and he pitted before Hamilton to regain the lead when the Briton hit the pits himself.

Verstappen then pitted eight laps before Hamilton in the second round of tyre changes, but despite the Briton having better tyres in the closing laps, he ran out of time to make an overtake on the Dutchman.

The advantage for Verstappen over Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship is now twelve points as a result of the victory, and he was delighted to be able to take his first win in the United States in front of a huge crowd at the Circuit of the Americas.

“It was an exciting race and it feels incredible to win here in front of all the fans,” said Verstappen.  “The pressure was on for the whole race and not knowing how quickly Lewis would catch up.

“I actually thought I had a decent start, but Lewis had an even better one. So we went for an aggressive strategy after losing the lead into turn one and we pitted early in the first stint. Then for the middle stint we were in that undercut range, so we had to respond and we went for track position which made the last stint very long, especially in this heat.

“The last two laps were definitely difficult on the tyres, there wasn’t much grip left.  But, then with two laps to go, I had the Haas in front of me and I was able to benefit from the DRS, so we managed to hang on in the end.

“We definitely gave it our all today as a Team and it was great to have Checo up there with me on the podium.”

“That was the hardest and longest race of my life” – Sergio Pérez

Team-mate Sergio Pérez completed the podium in third place at the Circuit of the Americas, but for the Mexican is was a long and hot afternoon after his drinks bottle failed on him early on.

As early as lap two, Pérez was without any drinking fluids, and as early as lap twenty he was struggling with his energy levels.  However, he was still able to drive well and finish third, although he was over forty seconds behind Verstappen at the chequered flag.

Pérez was able to play the team game early on, pitting early to ensure Hamilton was forced to react, but ultimately the pace dropped away as the heat in Austin left the Mexican feeling exhausted.

“That was the hardest and longest race of my life,” said Pérez. “I wasn’t feeling great before the race and then my drinks system stopped working on the first lap and with the hot weather today it was very physical and a pretty tough afternoon.

“I was struggling massively and by lap 20 I was done, so it was a shame I couldn’t keep up with Max and Lewis but there are a lot of positives to take from this weekend and back to back podiums are always nice.

“It’s a good result for the Team, the undercut worked well and Lewis had no option but to cover me which helped Max out in front, so we can be very happy as a Team.”

Next up for Pérez and the rest of the Formula 1 circus is the Mexico City Grand Prix in two weeks time, and the Mexican is looking to continue his podium run at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

“I’m so looking forward to Mexico, the Team have done well there in the past and I think we’ll have a good package for my home race,” he said.  “I can’t wait and I hope to be on the podium again in front of my home fans.”

Sergio Pérez drove most of the United States Grand Prix without a working water bottle – Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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