Max Verstappen (Red Bull) has taken his eighth victory of the season at the United States F1 GP 2021 after an intense and strategic duel against main rival Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes). The Englishman crossed the finish line 1.3 seconds behind the Dutchman, despite contesting the final laps on fresher tyres. Checo Perez (Red Bull), for his part, claimed his second consecutive podium after Turkey.
Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) arrived in fourth place, retaining his starting position. A prominent Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) came in one place below. The Australian was able to take advantage of a slow pit-stop by Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), to snatch the position from the Spaniard.
The Spaniard’s slow pit-stop, however, as he attempted to undercut his Australian rival, prevented him from finishing any higher. Sainz had started the race on soft compounds unlike the rest of the grid which had opted for medium tyres and yet, he came very close to claiming fifth place until the aforementioned pit stop prevented him from doing so. But Sainz finished seventh due to Valtteri Bottas overtook him on the final laps.
The Briton was visibly disappointed with the result despite having achieved the extra point for the fastest lap. He could, however, be satisfied with his performance having kept up with Verstappen until the end despite the lower pace of his W12.
On realising that they would not be able to match the speed of the blue cars, Mercedes decided to strategically extend Hamilton’s two stints. Thanks to that decision they actually stood a chance to take the win in the final laps. Verstappen’s very efficient and mature driving, however, prevented Hamilton from cutting that second with his rival.
Verstappen is off to a bad start but Red Bull makes up for it in boxes
Verstappen lost the first place to Hamilton into the first corner after a brilliant start from the Briton. Despite that unexpected setback, the “Black Tulip” was able to keep up with the Briton, awaiting his opportunity to strike back. Red Bull then made a decision that would restore the lead to its champion and send him on his way to victory.
Ten laps on, and the Brackley strategists decided to perform an early undercut to Hamilton. After that manoeuvre, the Dutchman was flying on the track and a battle began in the distance between them. By contrast, Hamilton stayed put for four more laps, reeling the Dutchman in.
After the halfway point of the United States GP 2021 and with an advantage of just under three seconds, Verstappen made his second undercut. Another risky move which triggered the same response from Hamilton.
The Briton extended his stint for another seven laps, to then return to pits on the 37th. From that moment on, the Briton charged ahead in the hunt for the Dutchman, now less than a second ahead but was unable to catch up with him.
Images of United States F1 GP 2021: Red Bull Racing.