What a difference three rounds can make!
Red Bull and Max Verstappen (24) win the strategy battle in Austin / Texas and are the winners of the US Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton (36) finished second ahead of Sergio Perez in the other Red Bull.
In front of 140,000 spectators, the Brause racing team is strategically more hardened than its competitor Mercedes and successfully fends off Lewis Hamilton’s attack in the Mercedes, thus expanding the Dutchman’s world championship lead to twelve points.
Mick Schumacher (22) drove a flawless race and grabbed the penultimate and 16th place in front of his teammate Nikita Mazepin (22). Sebastian Vettel (34) is tenth and at least gets a point.
The two hot rivals for the world title this year, Verstappen and Hamilton, start side by side from the front row – and ride the first corners wheel to wheel!
There is almost a contact between the two who heat up the steep hill directly after the start / finish – but in the second corner the Brit pulls past the Dutchman and takes the lead. Behind him are Verstappen and Perez.
Stroll and Latifi show how tight it can be in the first corners. The two Canadians touch and fall back in the meantime.
Sebastian Vettel, who had to start from third last place due to an engine penalty, already made up three places in the first two laps, refueling step by step.
Verstappen sits on Hamilton’s neck, hangs in the DRS window behind him – until he comes into the pits on the eleventh lap, where he changes from medium to hard tires. The Dutchman comes out again in fifth, with Hamilton, Perez, Leclerc and Ricciardo in front of him.
After the entire top was at the service, the order on lap 14 is as follows: Verstappen ahead of Hamilton (who now has hard tires on it) in front of Perez. So the top 3 are back as they were on the grid.
In lap 12 Mick was for service (medium on hard) and came out second to last in front of his teammate Mazepin. Three laps later he is a good ten seconds ahead of the Russian. Meanwhile, Pierre Gasly has to turn off his Alpha Tauri with a problem.
While there is not much going on at the front and Hamilton and Verstappen drive almost the same lap times, old master Fernando Alonso (40) struggles in midfield with the Alfa Romeo, first having a heated duel with Kimi Räikkönen, then with Antonio Giovinazzi. The Spaniard has to park on lap 51 with a defect.
That is the only action on the track until Verstappen goes to the tire change for the second time on lap 30: fresh, hard tires and the return to third place behind his team-mate Perez, whom he overtakes directly on the lap. Hamilton in front, Verstappen behind. After driving 32 laps, the Briton has 16 seconds ahead of the Dutchman, but the older tires.
Until the Hamilton stop (hard tires) on lap 37, the lead had shrunk to a good eleven seconds. Hamilton comes out second and is almost nine seconds behind the flying Dutchman.
A short digression to the bottom of the field: Mazepin is now at the service for the third time and is more than a minute behind Mick.
With seven laps to go, Hamilton is less than two seconds behind Verstappen, and at the start of the last lap, not even one. But it is not enough.
Max Verstappen is the winner of Austin – it is the eighth race he has won this season.