Austin, Oct 23: Max Verstappen recovered from sixth on the grid to take a nerve-wracking win at the United States Grand Prix, as the Red Bull man held off a fast-approaching Lewis Hamilton and the McLaren of Lando Norris to claim his 50th Formula 1 race win.
After a quiet start, Verstappen gradually picked off his rivals one by one in what was a tense Austin affair. He took the lead from Norris, who had earlier taken first place on the opening lap ahead of pole-sitter Leclerc.
It wasn’t a completely straightforward drive from there on, though, with the Dutchman being chased down by a fast Hamilton in the final laps. Verstappen managed to hold on to P1 and crossed the line two seconds ahead of the Mercedes.
Despite the issues, the three-time title holder was thrilled to set another personal record after adding to his vast tally of wins, something that he intends to increase further in the future.
“It’s of course incredible to win my 50th Grand Prix here as well. Very proud of course and we will just keep on trying to push for more," Verstappen said of his latest achievement.
However, Hamilton and Charles Leclerc have both been disqualified as their cars were inspected and irregularities were spotted by the FIA Technical team after a plank wear inspection was carried out.
The Delegate’s Report, as quoted by F1 stated, "The skids located in the area -825 ≥ XR ≥ - 1025 are found to be not in compliance with Article 3.5.9 e) of the 2023 Formula One Technical Regulations,"
As such, both were immediately referred to the stewards.
Hamilton had finished a brilliant second, harrying the triumphant Verstappen all the way to the line. He had been running a new floor at this event, Mercedes bringing their last major upgrade package of the year to Austin.
Leclerc crossed the line in sixth, fractions of a second ahead of the second Mercedes of George Russell after falling back in the late stages on the less favoured one-stop strategy.
The disqualification moves Norris up to second and promotes Carlos Sainz to the podium places. Sergio Perez moves to fourth and extends his lead over Hamilton in the fight for second in the drivers’ championship.
Russell jumps from seventh to fifth, Pierre Gasly to sixth and Lance Stroll to seventh. Yuki Tsunoda was eighth, with the Japanese racer also grabbing the bonus point for fastest lap on a good day for AlphaTauri. (IANS)