Max Verstappen emerged victorious at the US Formula One Grand Prix, while Hamilton and Leclerc were disqualified.
Despite putting in a great effort to win the US Grand Prix, there was an ironic twist as Max Verstappen received boos while taking his place on the podium. It was unfortunate, as he did not deserve this negative reaction. This victory marked his 50th win, achieved under a different level of pressure compared to the rest of his successful season.
Verstappen has cantered to many of his 15 wins this season, a dominance that doubtless informed the reaction of fans at the Circuit of the Americas who gave him some stick as he collected the trophy but of those 15, this was one he had to earn.
Beginning in sixth place, faced with a brake issue from the first lap and challenged by a dominant Mercedes driven by Lewis Hamilton and a revived McLaren with Lando Norris behind the wheel, he fought until the finish.
At the conclusion of the race, Verstappen held a lead of two seconds over Hamilton, while Norris secured third place.
However, Verstappen deserves recognition for his performance as the Red Bull has consistently shown strong speed this season. Despite facing a brake issue, he displayed impressive control over the 56 laps and faced added pressure from Hamilton in the final stretch.
After the race, the FIA announced that Hamilton and Leclerc had not passed the plank wear inspection on their cars. As a result, they were disqualified after being referred to the stewards. This decision led to Norris being moved up to second place and Sainz taking third place on the podium. Perez also benefited, moving up to fourth place and extending his lead over Hamilton in the drivers’ championship. Additionally, American driver Logan Sargeant earned his first F1 point after being promoted to 10th place.
“The Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff, stated that while others succeeded where we failed, the rules allow for no exceptions. We must accept responsibility, take this as a learning opportunity, and return with even greater strength next weekend.”
Hamilton expressed contentment with his team’s performance, despite being disqualified. He stated, “While it is disheartening to face disqualification after the race, it does not diminish the strides we have made this weekend.”
Verstappen acknowledged the challenging nature of the race. He stated, “I faced a lot of difficulties with the brakes, which definitely made my race more challenging.” He also noted, “The race was very tight towards the end and with the tires wearing out, it added to the difficulty.”
During the middle of the race, a frustrated Verstappen expressed his anger towards his car. This powerful piece of technology has only been outperformed once this year, showing how difficult it was for him to control its braking power.
Both Mercedes and McLaren made a strong effort to beat the Dutchman, including using different pit strategies compared to Red Bull. They were aware that, despite their speed, they were unable to keep up with Verstappen.
The Mercedes team decided to go for a different strategy by leaving Hamilton out longer during the first pit stops. This was a risky move and the team will now have to evaluate if they waited too long before bringing him in. However, it was a daring decision that resulted in an exciting finish as Hamilton closed in on Verstappen, but unfortunately ran out of time.
Mercedes introduced a significant upgrade to the floor of their car in Texas, which greatly impressed Hamilton. This was especially satisfying for him after his crash in the previous race in Qatar.
He expressed regret for his major error and acknowledged that he disappointed the team before his disqualification was revealed.
I had to go through a difficult journey to return to this point, but it reminded me that it’s not about falling, it’s about how you pick yourself back up. I entered with determination, felt amazing, and am thrilled with the outcome.
Norris dominated the race from the beginning and delivered a flawless performance, leading to an impressive comeback for himself and McLaren. At the start of the season, the team faced difficulties while Aston Martin had a speedy car, resulting in Fernando Alonso achieving multiple podium finishes.
Two major upgrades have proved revolutionary, however. Before the first upgrade in Austria they trailed Aston by 137 points but they have since been hugely impressive.
The team from Woking were trailing Aston by six points before the race, but now they are leading by seven points. They are on a winning streak and after securing fourth place in the constructors’ championship, they have a strong chance of maintaining it in the next four races.