F1: Verstappen wins dramatic 13th victory in USA, Hamilton 2nd

Max Verstappen sealed his thirteenth victory last Saturday in the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, securing Red Bull’s first constructor’s title since 2013.

He was followed by Mercedes driver, Lewis Hamilton in second and Ferrari driver, Charles Leclerc in third.

Verstappen made a quick initial getaway from his second-place qualifying start into first, overtaking Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz. Sainz’s attempts to reclaim his pole position led to a disappointing contact with the 4th place Mercedes driver, George Russell, sending Sainz spinning out of contention on the first corner.

Despite the contact, Russell was still capable of overtaking Lance Stroll, for 3rd position. In Lap 6, Stroll fell further back, as he was overtaken by Sergio Perez, sending him into 6th place. Lap 12 saw the consolidation of Leclerc’s rise from his 12th place qualifying position, swiftly manoeuvring around Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin for a smooth 6th place.

Verstappen’s lead seemed solid, as Leclerc and Vettel pitted in lap 19, sending Leclerc into 4th and Vettel behind him. A high-speed collision between Fernando Alonso and Stroll in lap 22 ended the Ferrari driver’s race. As Alonso recovered, Stroll was forced to retire from the race.

Verstappen’s domination was broken following a slow pit-stop in lap 36, sending Verstappen into 4th behind Leclerc, Hamilton, and Vettel. An exciting battle between Verstappen and Leclerc culminated into a surgical overtake by Verstappen in lap 39.

The race ultimately boiled down to a tense on track confrontation between Vettel, Hamilton, and Verstappen. Hamilton broke through Vettel’s defences in lap 41, leading the race, leaving behind an unstoppable Max Verstappen, who cleanly overtook Vettel and set his sights on Hamilton.

A protracted chase saw the drivers clash in lap 50, Hamilton desperately trying to defend his victory from the constant assault of the Red Bull driver. Ultimately, Verstappen had better traction and managed to squeeze past Hamilton and clear some space. He defended from retaliation long enough to cross the chequered flag and achieve his 13th victory and 2nd consecutive win in Austin.

Hamilton clutched a well-deserved 2nd with Leclerc following, having kept Perez in 4th. The win for Red Bull secured them an emotional constructor’s title, coming just one day after the death of Red Bull co-founder and owner Dietrich Mateschitz.

On the victory, Verstappen had this to say to on-site reporters: “Of course, it’s a very difficult weekend for us, so this one is definitely dedicated to Dietrich himself. What he has done for everyone… the only thing we could do today was win.”

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