Verstappen felt unsure aggressive strategy beat Hamilton for US GP win

Max Verstappen felt unsure Red Bull’s aggressive strategy would be enough to win him the United States Grand Prix as he extended his Formula 1 championship lead in Austin.

Verstappen lost the lead from F1 title rival Lewis Hamilton at the start, but was able to get back in front after undercutting at the first round of pit stops, coming in at the end of lap 10.

Mercedes pitted Hamilton three laps later, and while he was able to close through the second stint thanks to his tyre advantage, Red Bull reacted first and brought Verstappen in for a second time on lap 29.

It left Verstappen with a 27-lap stint to complete to the finish, and he looked at risk of losing the win when Hamilton began to catch at a rate of one second per lap after making his final stop, cutting an eight-second gap down to less than two.

But after being instructed to look after his rear tyres so he could get a good exit out of the slower corners and into DRS zones, Verstappen managed to stabilise the gap, eventually crossing the line 1.3 seconds clear of Hamilton.

“We lost out at the start, so we had to try and do something else,” Verstappen explained in parc ferme after the race.

“But the tyre wear is quite high around this track, so we did go aggressive.

“I was not sure it was going to work, but yeah, the last few laps were fun. A bit sideways through the high speed corners, but super happy of course to hang on.”

Read Also:

The result means Verstappen now leads the drivers’ championship by 12 points with five races remaining, securing his first win at the Circuit of The Americas.

Hamilton had managed to briefly reduce the gap to less than one second in the closing stages, but never got close enough to use DRS and reel the Red Bull in.

“It was such a tough race,” Hamilton said. “[I] got a good start, gave it absolutely everything but at the end of the day they just had the upper hand this weekend.

“We couldn't really ask for more, but a big, big thank you to my team for great pitstops, great hard work throughout the weekend.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner praised Verstappen for an “unbelievable” and “classy” victory, and admitted on Sky Sports after the race he was unsure the Dutchman could have held on.

“I really didn’t think he was going to pull that off,” Horner said.

“Lewis [had] eight lap newer tyres, the first set of hards that came off, we were pretty much down to the canvas, and we were thinking we wouldn’t have much at the end left.

“Lewis, you know the end of the race, he’s so strong and he’s gone long, he’s bought himself and advantage.

“To lose a race in the last couple of laps would have been really painful. Max just held on, he did a brilliant job and had just enough at the end there.”

shares
comments
F1 Grand Prix race results: Verstappen wins US GP in Austin
Previous article

F1 Grand Prix race results: Verstappen wins US GP in Austin

Next article

Down-to-canvas hards left Red Bull doubtful of Verstappen win

Down-to-canvas hards left Red Bull doubtful of Verstappen win
Load comments
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021