Verstappen felt unsure aggressive strategy could beat Hamilton for US GP win

Max Verstappen felt unsure Red Bull’s aggressive strategy would be enough to win him the United States Grand Prix as he extended his Formula 1 championship lead in Austin.

Verstappen felt unsure aggressive strategy could beat Hamilton for US GP win

Verstappen lost the lead from F1 title rival Lewis Hamilton at the start, but was able to get back in front after undercutting at the first round of pitstops, coming in at the end of lap 10.

Mercedes pitted Hamilton three laps later, and while he was able to close through the second stint thanks to his tyre advantage, Red Bull reacted first and brought Verstappen in for a second time on lap 29.

It left Verstappen with a 27-lap stint to complete to the finish, and he looked at risk of losing the win when Hamilton began to catch at a rate of one second per lap after making his final stop, cutting an eight-second gap down to less than two.

But after being instructed to look after his rear tyres so he could get a good exit out of the slower corners and into DRS zones, Verstappen managed to stabilise the gap, eventually crossing the line 1.3 seconds clear of Hamilton.

“We lost out at the start, so we had to try and do something else,” Verstappen explained in parc ferme after the race.

“But the tyre wear is quite high around this track, so we did go aggressive.

“I was not sure it was going to work, but yeah, the last few laps were fun. A bit sideways through the high speed corners, but super happy of course to hang on.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

The result means Verstappen now leads the drivers’ championship by 12 points with five races remaining, securing his first win at the Circuit of the Americas.

Hamilton had managed to briefly reduce the gap to less than one second in the closing stages, but never got close enough to use DRS and reel the Red Bull in.

“It was such a tough race,” Hamilton said. “[I] got a good start, gave it absolutely everything but at the end of the day they just had the upper hand this weekend.

“We couldn't really ask for more, but a big, big thank you to my team for great pitstops, great hard work throughout the weekend.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner praised Verstappen for an “unbelievable” and “classy” victory, and admitted on Sky Sports F1 after the race he was unsure the Dutchman could have held on.

“I really didn’t think he was going to pull that off,” Horner said.

“Lewis [had] eight lap newer tyres, the first set of hards that came off, we were pretty much down to the canvas, and we were thinking we wouldn’t have much at the end left.

“Lewis, you know the end of the race, he’s so strong and he’s gone long, he’s bought himself and advantage.

“To lose a race in the last couple of laps would have been really painful. Max just held on, he did a brilliant job and had just enough at the end there.”

shares
comments

Related video

F1 United States GP race results: Verstappen wins in Austin
Previous article

F1 United States GP race results: Verstappen wins in Austin

Next article

Red Bull: Verstappen’s tyres “down to the canvas” made US GP win doubtful

Red Bull: Verstappen’s tyres “down to the canvas” made US GP win doubtful
Load comments
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021 Plus

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as STUART CODLING finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton Plus

The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls a remarkable champion

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Plus

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Autosport heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Plus

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022
The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future Plus

The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future

As attitudes towards the motor car and what powers it change, Formula 1 must adapt its offering. MARK GALLAGHER ponders the end of fossil fuels

Formula 1
Jan 3, 2022