The driver needed to regain his lead and scored his thirteenth victory of the year, equaling the records of Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher.
In an emotional race to the last lap, Max Verstappen won the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix on Sunday (10/23), the first since he won his second title in Japan. The Dutchman overtook Carlos Sainz at the start and held the lead for most of the race, until a Red Bull error in the pits cost him his position. However, he regained the lead in a dispute with Lewis Hamilton and took his 13th victory of the year, equaling the records of Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher.
The Brit from Mercedes finished second and came close to winning for the first time this season. Charles Leclerc, who started from 12th position after being penalized for changing components in his Ferrari, finished third and managed to get on the podium. However, the day was not a good one for the Scuderia as Sainz, who sold pole position, retired in a crash on the first lap. Red Bull also secured the constructors’ championship with Sergio Pérez in fourth place.
Verstappen got off to a good start and beat Sainz at Turn 1, and as the Spaniard tried to hang on to second he was tagged and rolled by Russell, dropping to penultimate, just before Ocon, who came out of the pit. On the next lap, he went to the pit stop for repairs, but had to retire from the race due to car damage.
In the middle of the grid several position changes were made. Vettel and Tsunoda made a great start and gained five places each, the German jumping to fifth and the Japanese to 14th. Pérez, Gasly and Leclerc also started well and moved up three places.
The Mexican was sixth, just behind Seb, and was looking for his rival in his quest to get to the top quickly. Max, with Hamilton in second, Stroll, who took advantage of the initial confusion to move up, moved up third and Russell in fourth, the latter receiving a five-second penalty for his collision with Sainz.
The Mercedes youngster needed to open a gap to stay ahead of Perez at the first few stops and quickly passed Stroll to finish third. At the front, Verstappen was already 2.5 seconds behind the rest of the pack.
Leclerc, who had started 12th after receiving a penalty for changing the engine and turbocharging his Ferrari, was already seventh by lap eight and both Aston Martins had to win the track before catching up with rivals Mercedes and Red Bull. He took over from Vettel four laps later.
Valtteri Bottas opened the stoppage round and put on solid tyres, followed by Ricciardo and Tsunoda who bounced on average. Hamilton was the first of the leaders to stop, and he also chose the most difficult ones. Verstappen and Russell came on the next lap and Perez soon after secured George’s position after the latter paid a touch penalty from Sainz.
Stroll followed a different strategy and came back from the middleweight pits after starting the race with the same type of boat, meaning he would have to make another change. Leclerc stayed on track and extended his first spell.
On lap 18, Bottas lost control of the car near the pit entrance and abandoned the race there. With that, the pace car started up. Ferrari’s Monigasci took advantage of the low speed set up to maintain his position and was back in fourth place, ahead of Russell and just above Perez before the whole field was reunited.
The race resumed at the opening of lap 22, Verstappen pushing the pace and holding the lead. In the fight for the first places, there is no exchange. Shortly after, the safety car was activated again due to a serious accident.
Trying to overtake straight from behind, Alonso touched the left rear wheel of Stroll, who had lost control of his car, crashed into the guardrail and stopped in the middle of the track, without puncturing one tire and puncturing another. A red flag was expected and the race was stopped, but the Marshals team managed to clear the wreckage in time. The Spaniard had to repair the damage to the Alps in the hole and fell to the bottom of the net.
The drivers regained race pace on lap 26. Verstappen took the lead again and, as in the previous intervention, there were no position changes between the poles, only in the middle, highlighting Magnussen’s rise to the top 10.
Leclerc stayed close to Pérez and even overtook the Mexican in the third sector, but stretched into the escape zone and had to reposition himself. Shortly after, he struck again, this time gaining the position legally. The Ferrari driver won his place on the podium. Meanwhile, seventh-placed Gasly was sentenced to a five-second penalty for overstaying safety car time.
On lap 35, Hamilton pitted again and put on new solid tyres, joined by McLaren’s Norris, suggesting that Red Bull could do the same in the future, and that’s what happened, the Dutchman coming in the next lap. However, he did not expect the team to have problems with the left front wheel. The result: a loss of 11 seconds each for Lewis and a second place for Leclerc, who was also in the pit lane.
Pérez and Vettel took first and second place, but both have yet to make the second exchange. The Mexican did it in the 39th round, while the German continued his career until losing the lead to Hamilton in the 41st minute.
Verstappen was able to regain the position from Leclerc moments later. On the first attempt, he ended up taking an “X” into Turn 1, but then got through it without losing his position on the final stage of Sector Two.
Vettel stopped on lap 42, however Max was ahead of none other than Hamilton, three seconds ahead. The Dutchman had the medium versus hard tires for the seven-time champion.
The two stuck together at round 50, and with a wing spread, Verstappen went on to attack his arch-rival in the 2021 season, recalling the uphill battle that was last title contention. Right on his back, he overtook the reigning British champion and took the lead once again.
With one lane to go, the Dutchman just needed to manage the lead and scored his thirteenth win of the year. Both he and Hamilton received warnings to cross the track limit before crossing the finish line. Leclerc completed the platform.
Check the final classification of the British Grand Prix:
- Max Verstappen (Hall/Red Bull), 1 hour 42 minutes 11 seconds 687
- Lewis Hamilton (England / Mercedes) 5s023
- Charles Leclerc (MON/Ferrari), 7s501
- Sergio Perez (Mexico/Red Bull), 8s293
- George Russell (ENG/Mercedes) in 44.815
- Lando Norris (Canada/McLaren) in 53.785
- Fernando Alonso (ESP/Alpine), in 55.078
- Sebastian Vettel (ALE/Aston Martin), at 65.354
- Kevin Magnussen (DIN/Haas), at 65 seconds 834
- Yuki Tsunoda (Japan/AlphaTauri), in the years 70919
- Esteban Ocon (FRA/Alpine), in 72,875
- Alexander Albon (Tai/Williams) in 75 seconds 0557
- Zhou Guanyu (CHN / Alfa Romeo), at 76s164
- Pierre Gasly (FRA / AlphaTauri) in 81 seconds 763
- Mick Schumacher (ALE/Haas) in 84 seconds 490
- Daniel Ricciardo (Australia/McLaren) 90 sec 487
- Nicholas Latifi (Canada/Williams), 103 seconds 588
Did not complete the test:
Lance Stroll (Canada/Aston Martin)
Valtteri Bottas (FIN/Alfa Romeo)
Carlos Sainz (Spain / Ferrari)