Max Verstappen is a fifty-time Grand Prix winner after a big win in America. The Dutchman went ahead on Sunday in a race full of changing tactics and overtaking actions. Lando Norris finished second and Carlos Sainz third.
Lewis Hamilton initially finished second, but his car failed testing after part of his floor was so worn. The same happened to sixth-placed Charles Leclerc.
Verstappen, who started from sixth, struggled with his Red Bull on the bumpy circuit of America. The three-time champion had problems with his brakes and was therefore within striking distance of the race.
Mercedes strategically missed the mark with Hamilton’s first pit stop, costing him a serious chance of victory. The Briton came very close in the final stages, but it was not enough for his first victory since December 2021. However it would have been taken from him.
Norris led the first half of the race, but ultimately lacked the pace to have a shot at his first victory. Fourth place went to Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull. The Mexican once again led by twelve points in his battle for second place with disqualified Lewis Hamilton.
McLaren saw the exit of Oscar Piastre, but the team still overtook the underperforming Aston Martin. Thanks to Norris’ second place, the British racing team is now fourth in the Constructors’ Championship.
Verstappen won his third world title in Qatar two weeks ago and joined an exclusive group with his fiftieth victory today. Until Sunday, Michael Schumacher, Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Alain Prost were the only drivers with at least fifty wins in Formula 1.
Hamilton, not Norris, appears to be Verstappen’s biggest challenge
Based on the sprint race the day before, Norris appeared to be Verstappen’s main challenge. The McLaren driver immediately took the lead from second, which he relinquished to Verstappen at the halfway mark. But in the end it was Hamilton who was quick enough to attack Verstappen.
Only Mercedes reacted incorrectly to Verstappen’s relatively early first pit stop and left Hamilton out for a long time on old tyres. A seven-time champion, he eventually lost the time he was short on.
Norris stopped immediately as Verstappen changed tires and got ahead of the Dutchman. Hamilton, who was alone in the lead, had to close a six-second gap on the leaders after his second stop before he attacked to run his final race in the media.
While the race shouldn’t have lasted much longer for Verstappen, it came too late. Limburger suffered from brake problems and was not happy with his car. Hamilton set the pace with his upgraded Mercedes but barely got second before he was disqualified.
Ferrari could not keep up the pace at the front and had to settle for places outside the podium. Thanks to his one-stop strategy, Leclerc was visited by Perez in the final stages and finished sixth, before being disqualified. Sainz was promoted to sixth due to Hamilton’s disqualification.
The next Grand Prix is next week in Mexico City.
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