Formula 1

Verstappen clinches crucial win ahead of Hamilton at the United States Grand Prix

3 Mins read
Credit: Red Bull Content Pool (Darron Cummings/Getty Images)

Max Verstappen clinched a crucial win at the 2021 United States Grand Prix and extended his lead over Lewis Hamilton to twelve points in the drivers’ championship.

Hamilton had to be content with second position as his attempt to reel in Verstappen in the final laps failed. The Briton scored the extra point for the fastest lap.

Sergio Pérez joined his Red Bull Racing team-mate on the podium for the second race in a row as he finished in a creditable third position.

Charles Leclerc and Daniel Ricciardo finished in fourth and fifth positions to round off the top five positions in hot and tough conditions in front of a full house in Austin.

The race at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Austin took place under hot conditions with air temperatures at 29 degree C and track temperatures at 38 degree C.

Arch-rivals Verstappen and Hamilton started from the front row and Hamilton made a perfect start to lead into Turn 1. Pérez kept his third position as the Scuderia Ferrari and McLaren F1 team drivers jostled for positions behind him.

Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi tangled at the start and dropped to the back of the grid. George Russell made a rapid start to take fourteenth position from last position on the first lap.

When the DRS was enabled on lap 3, the order was Hamilton, Verstappen, Pérez, Leclerc, Ricciardo, Carlos Sainz, Lando Norris, Yuki Tsunoda, Pierre Gasly, Valtteri Bottas, Antonio Giovanazzi, Kimi Räikkönen.

Verstappen was within DRS-range but Hamilton managed to stay ahead of the Dutchman. Esteban Ocon pitted at the end of lap three for a front-wing change and fresh tyres.

At the end of lap 5, Hamilton had a lead of 0.875 seconds over Verstappen.

At the end of lap 6, Latifi pitted and changed his front-wing and rejoined in last position. Two laps later, Fernando Alonso pitted for the hard compound tyres.

On lap 11, Verstappen pitted for the hard compound tyres and rejoined in fifth position. This triggered a series of pit stops among the frontrunners even as Hamilton stayed out.

On lap 13, Hamilton pitted and rejoined more than five seconds behind Verstappen. The other drivers had dropped behind these two drivers who were in a class of their own and it was now a straight fight between the arch-rivals for the race win.

At the end of lap 15, the order was Verstappen, Hamilton, Pérez, Leclerc, Bottas, Ricciardo, Sainz, Norris, Sebastian Vettel, Stroll, Tsunoda. Bottas, Vettel and Stroll had not made a pit stop.

On lap 20, Bottas pitted and rejoined in eighth position behind Tsunoda. By lap 26, Hamilton reduced the gap to Verstappen to 2.73 seconds.

On lap 28, the Virtual Safety Car (VSC) was briefly deployed to help the marshalls retrieve a piece of debris.

On lap 30, Verstappen pitted and rejoined in third position. Hamilton stayed out in a bid to have fresher tyres in the final laps and overtake Verstappen.

By lap 36, most of the frontrunners had made their pit stops but Hamilton stayed out and had a lead of 12.55 seconds over Verstappen. On lap 37, Hamilton made his pit stop and rejoined 7.874 seconds behind Verstappen.

Hamilton slowly started cutting the gap to Verstappen and by lap 49 the lead was less than two seconds. But Verstappen had managed his tyres masterfully and in the crucial final three laps kept himself out of DRS-range and sealed a famous win.

On a track which was a Mercedes stronghold, Verstappen took his first win at the United States Grand Prix and extended his lead to twelve points in the drivers’ championship.

Hamilton and his team have a lot to think about as they came a cropper at a race they were favoured to win. Pérez was in good form all weekend and finished in third position.

Leclerc finished in fourth position ahead of Ricciardo, Bottas, Sainz, and Norris. Tsunoda had another good race to finish in ninth position. Vettel took the final solitary point as he had a good drive coming from the back after grid penalties for a new power unit.

The battle will resume in Mexico in two weeks time (Nov 05 – 08 2021) which will also be the start of a triple header.

2021 United States GP Race Results:

PosNoDriverNat.TeamTime/RetiredPTSLaps
133Max VerstappenNEDRed Bull Racing1:34:36.5522556
244Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team+1.333s1956
311Sergio PerezMEXRed Bull Racing+42.223s1556
416Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari+52.246s1256
53Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team+76.854s1056
677Valtteri BottasFINMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team+80.128s856
755Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari+83.545s656
84Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team+84.395s456
922Yuki TsunodaJAPScuderia AlphaTauri Honda+1 lap255
105Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team+1 lap155
1199Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing ORLEN+1 lap055
1218Lance StrollCANAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team+1 lap055
137Kimi RäikkönenFINAlfa Romeo Racing ORLEN+1 lap055
1463George RussellGBRWilliams Racing+1 lap055
156Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing+1 lap055
1647Mick SchumacherGERUralkali Haas F1 Team+2 laps054
179Nikita MazepinRAFUralkali Haas F1 Team+2 laps054
NC14Fernando AlonsoESPAlpine F1 TeamDNF049
NC31Esteban OconFRAAlpine F1 TeamDNF040
NC10Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri HondaDNF014
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