VERSTAPPEN WINS IN AUSTIN AND DOUBLES HIS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD
For the 60th time F1 was in America and it didn't disappoint as Verstappen and Hamilton battled it out in a strategic race as Verstappen crosses the line in first to double his championship lead over Hamilton. The final five races will be immense.
Going into the rather wide turn one Verstappen pushes Hamilton to the side - then Max is forced wide on the exit of turn one as Hamilton leads to Verstappen and Perez. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) is spun round into turn one. The Canadian driver continues on in plumb last - however it doesn't take him long to get past the two Haas drivers.
Just 10 laps in multiple drivers had already pit to get rid of the softer tyres - which were wearing quicker than originally expected due to the heat on track and the higher than normal air temperatures.
It was on lap 11 Max pits from second for the hard tyres and drops down to fifth behind Perez (Red Bull), Leclerc (Ferrari) and Ricciardo (McLaren). And on the same lap he passes former teammate Ricciardo down the straight with DRS enabled.
Two laps later on lap 13 Perez comes in from second - a slow stop from Red Bull which allows Verstappen to get into second without the need to bring in team orders. Hamilton still leads. Perez is third.
The next lap round Hamilton comes into the pits from the lead - a 2.8 second stop from Mercedes - Verstappen now leads the race and does the fastest lap in the process. 7 seconds the gap to Max - he fight is on to the end.
On lap 15 Gasly (Alpha Tauri) is going very slowly - the French driver is forced to retire with a suspension issue likely caused by the bumps and high kerbs round the COTA track.
Lap 30: Max comes in for a second stop - Hamilton now leads the race - as Perez passes Max into turn one and by the end of the back straight Max is already passed Sergio.
On the next lap Perez pits from third for his second and final stop the Red Bull driver is now in fourth behind Leclerc.
Lap 37: Lewis Hamilton comes in for his second stop - 2.4 seconds - Verstappen now has the lead of the race with Hamilton out in second.
Lap 42: Ocon is forced to retire with mechanical problems - just the start of an awful weekend for the Alpine team.
Then on lap 46 with 10 laps till the end the gap between Max and Lewis is down to just 3.4 seconds and Lewis looks the quicker of the two at this stage of the race.
On lap 51 Alonso is retired with a rear wing issue and the end of Alpine's weekend - they will certainly be hoping for better in Mexico.
But Verstappen had just enough pace in his older tyres compared to Lewis to hold on and take the race win - in what could turn out to be a crucial result this late on into the title race.
The next race is the Mexican Grand Prix.
COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER: Under section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research.