Max Verstappen Wins Competitive United States GP

f1 grand prix of united states
Max Verstappen Wins Competitive United States GPJared C. Tilton - Formula 1 - Getty Images

Max Verstappen took the win in Sunday's United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas, his fifth straight race win in America and 15th victory of the 2023 season. He held off strong challenges from Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris, who both lost time after making strategy mistakes.

Norris led early, beating out pole sitter Charles Leclerc into turn 1. He led throughout the first stint as Hamilton charged from fifth on track to second, but both were put under pressure when a third-placed Verstappen stopped early for medium tires. Norris stopped on schedule a lap later for hard tires, while Hamilton waited well into the stint before stopping for hards of his own.

After struggling on worn tires over the last laps of that stint, Hamilton lost both second on track and ten full seconds to Verstappen. The Red Bull driver then hunted down and passed Norris on softer tires, then pulled away to a modest lead before being undercut on his final stop. Verstappen maintained the lead, then never looked back. Hamilton, on medium tires against the top two on hards for the final stint, was able to catch and pass Norris and caught all the way up to two seconds behind Verstappen by the end of the race.

While clips of the radio aired on the broadcast suggest that Verstappen spent much of the race complaining about being asked questions under braking, he ultimately grabbed his 50th career win by running consistently on the correct strategy. Hamilton's shot at the win ended with the choice to pit very late on the first stop, costing him eight more seconds to Verstappen than his ultimate gap at the end of the race. Norris lost far earlier, when his team committed to a two hard tire strategy over the course of the race weekend and ran two stints on what turned out to be the worse tire compound. That left him with a both tire disadvantage to Verstappen over the second stint that ultimately decided the race and a disadvantage to Hamilton in the final laps, forcing him to settle for third.

Carlos Sainz Jr., Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc, George Russell, Pierre Gasly, Lance Stroll, and Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the points scorers, while Fernando Alonso, Oscar Piastri, and Esteban Ocon all retired. Although both championships had been effectively wrapped up before the Summer break and were both won weeks ago, Formula 1's 2023 schedule continues with the Mexican Grand Prix next weekend. The series returns to the United States with the inaugural edition of the modern Las Vegas Grand Prix on November 18th.

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