Max Verstappen Extends Championship Lead With Victory In Titanic 2021 US Grand Prix

(Image credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen survived a titanic battle to clinch victory at 2021 US Grand Prix ahead of title rival, Lewis Hamilton. 

Hamilton got the better start to seize the lead into the first corner which he held until he pitted on Lap 14 but Verstappen pitted three laps earlier and re-joined in the lead.

A fierce battle thereafter reigned between the two title contenders as Hamilton chased Verstappen down with the Dutchman making his second stop on Lap 30, as Hamilton waited until Lap 38 before making his final stop to fall back behind Verstappen.

Hamilton though just fell short of catching Verstappen following a titanic chase by 1.333 seconds as Verstappen extended his title lead to 12 points heading into the final five races of this season.

Sergio Perez meanwhile finished third ahead of Charles Leclerc and Daniel Ricciardo, as Valtteri Bottas recovered from a ninth-placed start to finish sixth in front of Carlos Sainz, Lando Norris, Yuki Tsunoda and Sebastian Vettel.

Mercedes meanwhile saw their 36 point in the constructors’ standings over Red Bull reduced to 23 points.

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At lights out, Hamilton made an electric start to seize the lead on the inside of Turn One as he forced pole-sitter, Verstappen wide through the corner, whilst Lance Stroll was spun by Nicholas Latifi at the rear of the field mid-corner.

Verstappen though was able to keep Hamilton within a second until he pitted at the start of Lap 11 with Hamilton following suit three laps later, although he was ultimately undercut as he re-joined with a near seven second deficit.

Hamilton slowly but surely began to quickly reduce that deficit and found himself three seconds adrift when Verstappen made his second stop on Lap 30.

Further down the order, Alonso found himself tussling with both Alfa Romeo cars as he forced Kimi Raikkonen wide at Turn One on Lap 16 as they banged wheels, with the latter quickly passing Alonso into Turn Three for 13th in the order.

Five laps later, Alonso found himself scrapping with Antonio Giovinazzi as he outbraked himself into Turn 12 but gained advantage by leaving the track and passed Giovinazzi for 11th, only to give the place back two laps later.

Giovinazzi then repeated Alonso’s error himself at Turn 12 on Lap 24 but upon rejoining, he decided to give the Spaniard a shove with Giovinazzi going on to finish 11th whilst Alonso eventually retired from the race.

Back up front, Hamilton ran his middle stint until he pitted at end of Lap 37 and re-joined with a 7.874s deficit, which he swiftly reduced by five seconds within ten laps as Verstappen found himself held up by Raikkonen and Yuki Tsunoda.

Once both Verstappen and Hamilton cleared traffic, they began to take time out of each other throughout various sectors but Verstappen was eventually able to cling on, as he took his eighth victory of season to extend his title lead to 12 points.

Bottas meanwhile had played the long strategy game and was eventually able to snatch sixth from Sainz in the closing laps, following a fierce tussle after Sainz had sustained front wing damage from an earlier collision with Ricciardo.

F1 now heads to Mexico across the weekend of 5-7 November where Verstappen and Hamilton had won the last two races at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

Position Driver Team Laps Time
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 56 1h 34m 36.552
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 56 + 1.333
3 Sergio Perez Red Bull 56 + 42.223
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 56 + 52.246
5 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 56 + 76.854
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 56 + 80.128
7 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 56 + 83.545
8 Lando Norris McLaren 56 + 84.395
9 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 55 + 1 Lap
10 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 55 + 1 Lap
11 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 55 + 1 Lap
12 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 55 + 1 Lap
13 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 55 + 1 Lap
14 George Russell Williams 55 + 1 Lap
15 Nicholas Latifi Williams 55 + 1 Lap
16 Mick Schumacher Haas 54 + 2 Laps
17 Nikita Mazepin Haas 54 + 2 Laps
RET Fernando Alonso Alpine 49 Rear Wing
RET Esteban Ocon Alpine 40 Rear suspension
RET Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 14 Suspension

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