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RECAP: Verstappen wins United States GP

AUSTIN, TEXAS – OCTOBER 24: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing RB16B Honda on track during the F1 Grand Prix of USA at Circuit of The Americas on October 24, 2021 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool.

Max Verstappen has won the thrilling United States Grand Prix to increase the world championship lead.

The thrilling race weekend at the Circuit of The Americas concluded with a spectacular race on Sunday afternoon.

The starting lights went off and the race got underway. Lewis Hamilton had a brilliant getaway, which forced Max Verstappen to push him to the side of the track. However, the Briton still took the race lead after turn 1. Behind them, Ferrari and McLaren drivers had a thrilling battle.

Though Verstappen lost the starting sequence, he remained within a second of Hamilton, which allowed him to use DRS. After only 3 laps of racing, Esteban Ocon went to the pit lane to replace a front wing and get a fresh set of hard tires. A couple of laps late, Nicholas Latifi also got a new front wing after a contact with Lance Stroll at the race start.

Verstappen remained behind Hamilton, so he decided to go for a pit stop earlier in an attempt of an undercut. The Dutchman got the hards and rejoined the track ahead of Carlos Sainz. He wasted no time and overtook Daniel Ricciardo. Shortly after, Sergio Perez went to the pits too, but he got mediums.

Hamilton made his first pit stop and rejoined 6 seconds behind Verstappen, dropping down to 2nd. Pierre Gasly’s race was over on lap 15 after a rear suspension issue. Old rivals Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen had an intense battle in turn 1 – it was noted by the stewards.

Another episode with Alonso was noted by the stewards – the Spaniard’s overtake on Antonio Giovinazzi. Alonso gave the position back in order to avoid a time penalty and eventually tried to pass the Alfa Romeo Racing driver. Giovinazzi left the track and got the advantage, so he had to return the position to Alonso.

Upfront, Hamilton got better pace than Verstappen and was less than 3 seconds away from the race leader. Halfway through the race, a brief Virtual Safety Car was deployed due to debris on the track.

Verstappen had his second pit stop after 29 laps and got another set of hard tires. Perez also got new hards. At the same time, Hamilton stayed out and set the fastest lap of the race. However, fresh tires benefitted Verstappen a bit later as he started closing the gap down.

Eight laps after Verstappen’s stop, Hamilton also visited the pit lane. He got new hards and was 8.7 seconds behind Verstappen. Hamilton got closer to his rival as Verstappen was stuck behind Yuki Tsunoda, trying to lap the young Japanese. Meanwhile, Sainz and Ricciardo made a collision in their fight for P5 and Ocon retired from the race. The day went from bad to even worse for Alpine as Alonso’s race ended prematurely as well.

All eyes were on the Verstappen/Hamilton battle as the gap was cut down to 1.5 seconds. However, the race leader was not giving up and kept up the competitive pace. In the end, it was enough for the championship leader to win the race in Austin. Hamilton was in a close second, while Perez completed the podium.

The results of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix:

1Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing1:34:36.552
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes+1.333
3Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing+42.223
4Charles LeclercFerrari+52.246
5Daniel RicciardoMcLaren+1:16.854
6Valtteri BottasMercedes+1:20.128
7Carlos SainzFerrari+1:23.545
8Lando NorrisMcLaren+1:24.395
9Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri+1 lap
10Sebastian VettelAston Martin+1 lap
11Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo Racing+1 lap
12Lance StrollAston Martin+1 lap
13Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo Racing+1 lap
14George RussellWilliams+1 lap
15Nicholas LatifiWilliams+1 lap
16Mick SchumacherHaas+2 laps
17Nikita MazepinHaas+2 laps
18Fernando AlonsoAlpineDNF
19Esteban OconAlpineDNF
20Pierre GaslyAlphaTauriDNF
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