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.

Listen to this article

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
The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move Prime

The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move

OPINION: Uncertainty over Lewis Hamilton's future has persisted since the race direction call that denied him an eighth world title in Abu Dhabi last month. But while walking away would be understandable, Hamilton has time and again responded well in the face of adversity and possesses all the tools needed to bounce back stronger than ever

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2022
What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility Prime

What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility

OPINION: The first stage of the 2022 Formula 1 pre-season is just over a month away, but the championship is still reeling from the controversial results of last year’s finale. The FIA acknowledges F1 has had its reputation dented as a result, so here’s how it could go about putting things right

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2022
The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins Prime

The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, We pick out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022