Max Verstappen claimed his 15th victory of the season in a thrilling United States Grand Prix, holding off Lewis Hamilton in a tense battle that went down to the final lap. The Red Bull driver equalled Michael Schumacher’s record for the most wins in a single season, and extended his lead over Hamilton in the championship to 12 points with five races to go .
Verstappen started from pole position, but lost the lead to Hamilton at the first corner. The Mercedes driver tried to pull away, but Verstappen stayed close and regained the lead with a bold move on lap 12. The two rivals then engaged in a strategic duel, with Verstappen opting for a two-stop strategy and Hamilton for a one-stop .
Hamilton emerged ahead of Verstappen after the Red Bull driver’s second pit stop on lap 35, but had to defend on older tyres. Verstappen closed the gap and launched several attacks, but Hamilton resisted until lap 54, when Verstappen finally made the decisive move at turn 12. Hamilton tried to fight back, but Verstappen held on to cross the line 0.8 seconds ahead of him .
Verstappen celebrated his record-equalling win with a donut on the main straight, as the crowd of over 140,000 fans cheered him on. He said: “It was an incredible race. I think we had the right strategy, we had good pace, we kept on pushing. It was very tough out there, Lewis was putting a lot of pressure on me, but we managed to hold on until the end.”
Hamilton praised Verstappen for his performance, and said he enjoyed the close fight. He said: “It was a great race, I gave it everything I had. Max did a great job today, he was just too quick for us. It was very close, very exciting, very challenging. I loved it.”
Behind the top two, Sergio Perez completed the podium for Red Bull, after passing Charles Leclerc in the closing stages. The Ferrari driver had a strong race, leading for several laps after staying out longer than the front-runners in his first stint. He finished fourth, ahead of his teammate Carlos Sainz, who also impressed with a recovery drive from 10th on the grid .
The other Mercedes driver, Valtteri Bottas, had a disappointing race, finishing sixth after starting from the back of the grid due to an engine penalty. He also suffered a puncture after contact with Daniel Ricciardo on lap one, which compromised his strategy. Ricciardo recovered to finish seventh for McLaren, ahead of his teammate Lando Norris .
The top 10 was completed by Pierre Gasly for AlphaTauri and Fernando Alonso for Alpine. Gasly had a solid race, despite losing time in his first pit stop due to a slow tyre change. Alonso had a more eventful race, battling with several drivers and making some daring overtakes. He also received a five-second penalty for exceeding track limits, which he served in his final pit stop .
The United States Grand Prix was a thrilling spectacle for the fans and the drivers alike, as Verstappen and Hamilton delivered another epic showdown in their title fight. The next race will be in Mexico City on November 5th, where Verstappen will hope to extend his advantage and Hamilton will try to bounce back .