The competition secretly dreamed of an upset victory in Austin. Finally, Max Verstappen did not start the Grand Prix from his usual position. The Formula 1 series winner started racing in the USA only from the third row. However, after 56 laps of the race, Verstappen was back on top.
The world champion overtook Ferrari on the track and overtook Lewis Hamilton through the first pit stop earlier. In the second period, he set out to chase Lando Norris, who had won the start and was looking to win his 100th race in Formula 1. But his friend Verstappen thwarted his plans.
Just in time for the race’s midway point, the three-time world champion performed the race-deciding manoeuvre. On lap 25 before that, Norris made a simple mistake that led to Verstappen entering the DRS area. Three laps later, the Red Bull star used the folded rear wing and passed the #4 McLaren.
Fourth podium in a row for Norris
McLaren saw that the only possibility of returning to the old formation was to attempt an undercut. However, Red Bull avoided the previous second stop. Despite the braking problem, Verstappen remained at the top and did not miss his 15th win of the season. “I really struggled. I had to find a way to live with the braking problems. The feeling I had in the sprint race was gone.” This was also his 50th Grand Prix win in Formula 1. It was the day after Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz died.
For a long time, McLaren was fast enough to challenge the class leader. Norris was perhaps most upset by his small mistake shortly before the halfway point of the race. Eight laps before the end, the English driver had to give way to his compatriot. Hamilton made short work of it at the first corner on new tyres. Norris, who later inherited second place due to Hamilton’s disqualification, said: “I ran out of tires. It was too hot for us. That’s why the tire deterioration was so high. We didn’t have enough to win.”
A fourth consecutive podium finish was a consolation for Norris. The racing team from Woking confirmed that the MCL60, which was completely refurbished over the course of the season, is running at every track. The second Papaya car was eliminated on the tenth lap of the race. Oscar Piastri had caught four opponents in the opening round, but was forced to retire in the tenth round. His McLaren overheated.
Mercedes is strong but not compliant with the rules
The first Mercedes crossed the finish line just 2.2 seconds after Verstappen, but was later pulled out of traffic. Lewis Hamilton had at least a small chance of success. The record premier class winner initially lost his position to Carlos Sainz, who quickly regained it. Hamilton overtook the second Ferrari later on lap six.
Mercedes delayed tire changes longer than Red Bull and McLaren. This initially put the 38-year-old on the back burner, but it later paid off at least in the fight with Norris. Thanks to the team who made remarkable progress in creating the new basement. The joy did not last long. During the post-race inspection, FIA technicians discovered that Hamilton’s Mercedes had made contact with the floorboards with excessive force. This should have resulted in disqualification.
Teammate George Russell ended up seventh, but then moved up two places. The 25-year-old Englishman, who like Norris was in his 100th Formula 1 race, struggled with pace all weekend. He couldn’t figure out why Hamilton’s performance had improved so much.
Hulkenberg is thirteenth
Ferrari only appeared late in the race when podium positions were awarded. The reason: Maranello drivers lost too much time on the first set of tyres. In the periods that followed, the pace was appropriate. The pilots used different strategies. Sainz stopped twice, while Leclerc stopped from pole position only once.
In the final stage, Ferrari’s command center ordered a change of location. Sainz was allowed to pass Leclerc, but was no longer able to catch Norris. 4.4 seconds were missing. The Spaniard finished the Austin race in fourth place, but could still claim the trophy due to Hamilton’s disqualification. His colleague was injured like the Mercedes driver. Leclerc also saw excessive wear on the wood paneling underneath the car.
Sergio Pérez had passed the second Ferrari shortly before the finish anyway. He took the checkered flag in fifth place and was ranked fourth. The final places in the top ten were occupied by Pierre Gasly, Lance Stroll and Yuki Tsunoda on the track, who also received the bonus point for fastest lap. The two exclusions meant that they advanced two places each. Williams also took advantage and got three points. Logan Sargent first in his career.
After poor qualifying and race performance, Aston Martin decided to convert both cars. This led to the start from the pit lane. The effort was worth it. Picnic dust off things that can be counted. Teammate Fernando Alonso, who drove the modified old car, would also leave with the points. But a glitch stopped him shortly before the end.
Haas drivers also had to start from pit road after changing the setup. Nico Hulkenberg was unable to intervene in the scoring. The Rhinelander team finished eleventh in a race without an incident and without a safety car after deducting Hamilton and Leclerc.
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