VERSTAPPEN TAKES VICTORY NUMBER 33 IN ACTION PACKED UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX
Verstappen came into this race as a newly crowned double World Champion and the race in Austin is very rarely a dull race and this year was no different. With the action starting from the first lap and the first corner.
It was Max Verstappen (Red Bull) who got the better launch and leads going into turn one as Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) spins after contact with George Russell (Mercedes) and drops to the back of the grid and he’s able to continue. After Sainz’ spin its Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) who is second with Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) who's third ahead of Russell in fourth and Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) in fifth.
It wasn't long until Sainz' race went from bad to worse as he's called into the garage to retire the car. The pole sitter who would have had high hopes for this race only makes it one full lap of the Austin circuit.
The first stop from the top five came on lap 13 when Hamilton pit from second and rejoins in seventh.
On the very next lap Verstappen pits from the lead and is followed into the pit lane by George Russell - Sergio Perez (Red Bull) leads from Verstappen to Stroll in third and Russell comes back out in ninth. Leclerc (Ferrari) is third after passing Stroll.
Perez pits from first on lap 15 and they decide not to change his front wing which has lost an end-fence, Perez comes back out in sixth. The top three at this stage is Verstappen in first with Leclerc in second and Stroll in third. 41 laps left.
18 laps in and Valtteri Bottas spins at turn 19 and beached his car in the gravel trap causing the first Safety Car. Leclerc comes in for a ‘cheap’ pitstop the same goes for Sebastian Vettel who is doing well to stay with the leaders in this race as he (Vettel) rejoins in sixth.
The Safety Car comes in on lap 22 and the racing resumes. The top three stay as they are on the restart with Verstappen leading Hamilton leading Perez. As the pack head down the back straight Fernando Alonso (Alpine) and Stroll make contact in a big way with Alonso going straight into the back of his future teammate - that is the definition of a high speed crash. Stroll is out but Alonso is able to carry on and pits immediately. The crash of course means the Safety Car is back out.
The Safety Car is in on lap 26 and its all very clean on the restart - no drama going into turn one.
The next round of pit stops came at lap 35 when Hamilton makes another stop from second place for a fresh set of hard tyres - Mercedes are trying the undercut on the Red Bull of Verstappen - Hamilton in sixth.
It's the very next lap that Red Bull and Verstappen respond with a stop but its a slow stop for Red Bull - Leclerc had also pit and gets past Verstappen in the pit lane. Perez now leads with Russell in second and Vettel in third. Hamilton is in fourth with Leclerc and Verstappen in fifth and sixth.
Russell then pits from second and comes out behind Magnussen in seventh place. (Lap 37)
Two laps after Russell's stop Perez comes in from the lead of the race as Vettel now leads the race with Hamilton in second. Perez is fifth ahead of Russell after his stop. While Verstappen gets past Leclerc in a well executed move and puts his Red Bull into third place.
Hamilton passes Vettel for the lead of the race into turn one on Lap 41. This gives Hamilton the chance to keep his record of having at least one race win in every season he has raced in.
Vettel then pits the very next lap from second but they can’t get the front left off - they eventually change wheels - it could have been sixth for Vettel instead its 13th. Hamilton leads from Verstappen in second and Leclerc not close behind in third.
But the race was won on lap 50 when Verstappen passes Hamilton for the lead - Hamilton tries his best to switch back and get past but the raw speed of the Red Bull is too much for Mercedes.
In other news Red Bull have won the Constructors Championship for the first time since 2013 in what has been a very dominant season for the Milton Keynes based side.
The next race is the Mexican Grand Prix.
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