VERSTAPPEN WINS HIS 50TH GRAND PRIX WITH VICTORY IN AUSTIN
Formula One was in Austin and the United States for the second time and certainly not the last time for 2023. A although it ended in a win for Max Verstappen it wasn't as simple as Red Bull may have hoped with the McLaren of Lando Norris and the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton pushing him all the way round and for all 56 laps of the US Grand Prix.
It was Lando Norris (McLaren) who lead into turn one with Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) down into second with Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) up to third with Max Verstappen (Red Bull) in fifth. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) is in fourth.
Norris had a pulled out a comfortable gap by the time they get DRS on lap three as Norris already has a 2+ second gap to second placed Leclerc and looks comfortable out in front.
Hamilton was wasting no time and on lap six was up to second place after overtaking the two Ferraris in the space of about two laps. The Mercedes isn’t the quickest in a straight line but with DRS it’s a difficult car to defend from.
Esteban Ocon's (Alpine) race only lasted seven laps after the Frenchman retires due to damage to his side-pod. The damage was caused on the first lap at turn one. He was losing a lot of downforce and Alpine saw no point in carrying on.
Just three laps later on lap 10 Oscar Piastri was going slowly - and is forced to retire. A shame for the Aussie driver who has been in such tremendous form of late.
On lap 17 the pit stops started and they really started with the tyres struggling around this track.
It took until lap 17 when Norris first pitted from the lead as Hamilton stays out. With Norris pitting Hamilton leads from Leclerc with George Russell (Mercedes) in third, Norris is in fifth after rejoining from the pits.
On lap 21 Hamilton pits from the lead and comes out in fifth behind Verstappen in fourth. Leclerc now leads from Norris and Russell in third. The very next lap Russell pits and comes back out in eighth place. On lap 24 Leclerc pits from the lead giving the lead back to Lando Norris. Verstapppen is now second with Hamilton in third.
By lap 28 Max Verstappen had found himself leading the race after overtaking Norris. Verstappen will have to pit again but with Lando on the hards he hopefully for McLaren won’t have to pit again…
But that hope didn't last for McLaren as on lap 35 Norris comes in for his second stop from second place. He rejoins behind Leclerc in sixth place. On the very next lap Verstappen pits from the lead. But a 3.3 second stop for the Red Bull team meaning Hamilton leads and Verstappen rejoins just ahead of Norris in fourth.
Then on lap 39 and probably a few laps too late to truly fight for the win see's Hamilton pit from the lead of this race - Verstappen passes Leclerc for the lead into turn one.
With seven laps left Hamilton passes Norris for second and could well be on his way to winning this race - he certainly has a good chance... (famous last words).
And after starting from the pit lane to getting into the points it was frustration for Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) who is forced to retire due to issues with his floor.
The next race is the Mexican Grand Prix.
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