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
Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022? Prime

Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Who was the fastest driver in 2022? Everyone has an opinion, but what does the stopwatch say? Obviously, differing car performance has an effect on ultimate laptime – but it’s the relative speed of each car/driver package that’s fascinating and enlightening says ALEX KALINAUCKAS

Nico Hulkenberg: Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return Prime

Nico Hulkenberg: Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return

He has more starts without a podium than anyone else in Formula 1 world championship history, but Nico Hulkenberg is back for one more shot with Haas. After spending three years on the sidelines, the revitalised German is aiming to prove to his new team what the F1 grid has been missing.

Formula 1
Jan 29, 2023
Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss Prime

Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss

OPINION: Fred Vasseur has spent only a few weeks as team principal for the Ferrari Formula 1 team, but is already intent on taking the Scuderia back to the very top. And despite it being arguably the most demanding job in motorsport, the Frenchman is relishing the challenge

Formula 1
Jan 27, 2023
The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023 Prime

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Changes to the regulations for season two of Formula 1's ground-effects era aim to smooth out last year’s troubles and shut down loopholes. But what areas have been targeted, and what impact will this have?

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2023
Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history? Prime

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history?

Who are the quickest drivers in Formula 1 history? Luke Smith asked a jury of experienced and international panel of experts and F1 insiders. Some of them have worked closely with F1’s fastest-ever drivers – so who better to vote on our all-time top 50? We’re talking all-out speed here rather than size of trophy cabinet, so the results may surprise you…

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2023
One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1 Prime

One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1

OPINION: During what is traditionally a very quiet time of year in the Formula 1 news cycle, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been generating headlines. He’s been commenting on massive topics in a championship that loves them, but also addressing necessary smaller changes too. Here we suggest a further refinement that would be a big boon to fans

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
How can McLaren keep hold of Norris? Prime

How can McLaren keep hold of Norris?

Lando Norris is no longer the young cheeky-chappy at McLaren; he’s now the established ace. And F1's big guns will come calling if the team can’t give him a competitive car. Here's what the team needs to do to retain its prize asset

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make? Prime

What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make?

While a quick pitstop can make all the difference to the outcome of a Formula 1 race, most team managers say consistency is more important than pure speed. MATT KEW analyses the fastest pitstops from last season to see which ones – if any – made a genuine impact

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2023