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United States Grand Prix: F1 Race Results

With both Drivers' and Constructors' Titles decided, can anyone else make an impression on the Champions?

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Max Verstappen saw the chequered flag first to win the United States Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris round out the podium at the Circuit of the Americas.

Charles Leclerc started the main race on pole position following a brilliant Qualifying performance on Friday (Image Credit: @F1 on X)

An altogether more relaxed atmosphere adorns the faces of the drivers and crew in the paddock for the United States Grand Prix. Perhaps most easy-going this weekend is Max Verstappen, who secured the Drivers’ crown at the previous round in Qatar and helped Milton Keynes-based Red Bull to the Constructors’ Title even earlier in Japan.

However the Dutchman had his fastest time in Friday Qualifying deleted for a track limits infringement, and thus starts the main race from sixth position. The main benefactors were Ferrari and Charles Leclerc, the latter taking pole ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris on the front row.

With both Championships decided, the time has come for the chasing teams to make an impression heading into the 2024 season. Despite this, it was Verstappen who dominated proceedings on Saturday, setting the fastest time for the Sprint shootout and winning the 19-lap race later in the day.

Aston Martin started the season strong, but have since lost touch with the the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren in terms of raw pace. A new upgrade package has not helped close the gap to those ahead, with Fernando Alonso believing both he and teammate Lance Stroll haven’t gotten to grips with the updates just yet. They qualified 17th and 19th respectively, but will start the race from the pitlane to test new components.

McLaren have been the biggest threat to Red Bull’s dominance in recent weeks, with Lando Norris scoring more points than anyone bar Verstappen since the Austrian Grand Prix. In spite of this, Norris stated that he doesn’t have much confidence for the United States Grand Prix, expecting Ferrari to outclass them. He and teammate Oscar Piastri are P2 and P10 on the starting grid.

While George Russell admitted that he couldn’t extract the maximum from his upgraded Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton was pleased with the performance of his W14 as he lines up third for the 56-lap event.

Can the likes of Leclerc, Norris and Hamilton hold onto the lead? Or will a chasing Verstappen breeze past his opponents as he has done numerous times this year? Read on to find out.

The starting grid

Lights out

The majority of drivers decided to begin the race on the Medium compound of tyre. Nico Hulkenberg and Stroll were the exceptions, opting for a longer first stint on the Hard rubber.

With the five red lights going out, it was Norris off the line quickest. He usurped Leclerc and took P1 from the Monegasque. A little further back, Carlos Sainz Jr. claimed third from Hamilton, while the other McLaren of Piastri gained four positions to move up to sixth place.

The Aussie rookie continued his fight up the field and briefly challenged Verstappen for fifth. The major loser on the opening lap was Russell, who dropped from fifth to eighth.

Leclerc and Sainz went briefly alongside in the final sector, allowing Norris to break out of DRS range from those behind. A perfect start for the Briton; can he claim his first victory in his career?

The race develops

Lap three saw numerous positions changes in the minor points positions. Russell got past Esteban Ocon for P7 on the back straight, with Sergio Perez following suit to take eighth from the Frenchman. Teammate Gasly noticed his fellow Alpine driver struggling, and told his race engineer to make sure they wouldn’t hold each other up.

Meanwhile, Hamilton eased past Sainz on the following lap to move up into the final podium spot. Sainz continued his fall from the front of the field, as Verstappen made it stick on the inside of the first corner hairpin to take P4.

Ocon was indeed struggling with damage to his sidepod. He fell to the foot of the field with significant loss of downforce, and duly retired in the pitlane. This promoted the AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda to tenth.

Hamilton utilised DRS to drag past Leclerc to claim second position. By the end of lap six, Norris had extended his advantage to three seconds.

Verstappen was slowly closing the gap to Leclerc in the battle for third and had the help of DRS by lap eight of 56. A few more laps passed with the Dutchman stuck behind the Ferrari, allowing Sainz in fifth to inch closer to the pair.

The cameras focussed on Piastri, who was slowing considerably on lap ten. The McLaren driver pulled into the pits to retire from the race with a purported radiator leak.

Guanyu Zhou came into the pits, prompting several midfield runners including the likes of Kevin Magnussen, Alex Albon and Valtteri Bottas to come in for Hard tyres on lap 11.

Further up the order, Verstappen made an aggressive manoeuvre on Leclerc to move up into the podium positions. The Ferrari driver tried to fight back but was forced to lift off and give up the place.

Looking at the gaps at the front, Hamilton was staying within three seconds of Norris out front. But the ever imperious Verstappen was reeling in the pair of them as the race reached quarter distance.

But as the Medium tyres began to wear away for Norris, Hamilton closed the distance to the McLaren in the lead, setting the fastest lap of the race. By lap 15 the seven-time World Champion was less than two seconds behind his compatriot. Meanwhile Verstappen was less than five seconds further back.

Perez was complaining on the team radio about Russell directly ahead of him taking liberties with track limits.

First pitstops

The first of the frontrunners to pit for fresh rubber was Verstappen on lap 17, who put on another set of Medium tyres and fell to ninth place. The next lap saw Norris come in from the lead, shodding the Hard tyre. Hamilton became the new leader of the race, with an alternate strategy to stay as long on his existing Medium tyre as long as possible.

Hamilton locked up into the hairpin on lap 19, allowing Leclerc in P2 to close the gap to six seconds. The leader eventually bolted on a set of Hard tyres the following lap, dropping behind Verstappen and slotting into fifth.

Sainz waltzed past Ricciardo for sixth, and Norris snatched P2 from Russell with a similar tyre offset. Leclerc was the only other driver yet to pit.

Verstappen was slowly closing the gap to Norris ahead on the slower Hard tyre, with the duo in third and second respectively. The interval was at 2.5 seconds, while Norris was catching Leclerc for the lead of the race.

Leclerc finally pit on lap 24, falling to sixth in the process but with the possibility of doing a one-stop race as supposed to a two-stop like the majority of the field.

The second phase

A bit further back, Alonso was slowly making his way through the order. By overtaking Zhou on lap 24, the veteran Spaniard moved up into the points-paying positions.

Norris locked up into Turn 11, allowing Verstappen to take a substantial chunk out of the gap to the leader. Just over a second separated the two drivers as they crossed the line for a 26th time.

Verstappen moved within DRS range of Norris on the next lap, and started to pile the pressure on the Briton up front. But the leading pair fighting for the lead was allowing Hamilton to creep towards them, albeit still six seconds down on lap 28.

Eventually the newly-crowned Champion got into the race lead with an inside-line overtake through Turn 12. Norris tried to stay alongside and reclaim first, but to no avail.

Norris remained within DRS range of Verstappen for the next handful of laps, helping the McLaren driver to keep within touching distance of the leader. With the Red Bull’s Medium tyres starting to fade away, could this be an opportunity for Norris to reclaim P1?

Unfortunately for Norris, he was unable to open the flap on his rear wing by lap 33, as the gap to Verstappen increased to over two seconds by the end of the same lap. Hamilton was a further three seconds back from the McLaren.

Second pitstops

Norris seemingly wasn’t happy with his existing Hards, and duly came in for another set of the white-striped tyre with 22 laps remaining. He dropped to sixth position behind Leclerc. Verstappen and Red Bull reacted, coming in on the following lap for the same compound.

The Briton had closed the deficit to the Dutchman to less than two seconds as the latter came out of the pitlane down in fourth. Hamilton, Perez and Leclerc ahead would most probably have to pit one more time while Verstappen and Norris would attempt to nurse their existing rubber to the end of the 56-lap race.

Perez pit for Hard tyres from second position, falling to seventh. Hamilton came in on the next lap, relinquishing the lead for a mere few seconds to Leclerc, who ultimately fell to second as Verstappen made a move stick on the first corner on lap 39.

It didn’t take long for Norris to ease past Leclerc for second, as the former set the fastest lap of the race with a 1:39.985. This was subsequently beaten by Perez with a 1:39.881, but all eyes were on the McLaren as it clung to the back of the leading Red Bull of Verstappen. The gap: just 1.5 seconds.

Leclerc was now struggling on 20+ lap old Hards, allowing the Mercedes of Hamilton to blast past the Ferrari at Turn 12 on lap 43. Further up, Verstappen had relieved a bit of the pressure from Norris, with the gap extending to over two seconds.

Hamilton on the quicker rubber was reeling Norris in by almost a second per lap, with a decent possibility to challenge for P2 or even the win. On the other end of the spectrum, frustration from Leclerc as the one-stop strategy preventing any chance of victory from the highs of pole a couple of days ago.

Final laps

The gap between Hamilton and Norris dropped to just over a second with ten laps to go. With the help of DRS, the former eventually got past with better traction out of the first corner.

Alonso exclaimed on the radio about a rear suspension failure, but his race engineer reported back with no issues. The Aston Martin fell from the points and eventually retired from the race with six laps left, promoting Stroll and Tsunoda to P9 and P10 respectively.

More misery for Leclerc, as Perez moved up to fifth with a simple overtake at the uphill Turn 1. Albon received a five-second penalty for multiple track limits warnings, although the Williams driver was out of the points in 11th place.

Verstappen persisted with his complaints with difficult braking into corners, allowing Hamilton to rapidly close in on the Red Bull. The advantage for Verstappen was just two seconds as the leading pair went into the final lap.

But the gap was simple too large. The Dutchman took the chequered flag first to win the United States Grand Prix, in perhaps the most hard-fought victory for the three-time Drivers’ Champion this year. Hamilton cruised to second, while Norris held off a fast-charging Sainz to hang onto third.

Final race classification


Formula 1 will return in one week’s time for the Mexican Grand Prix. Make sure to follow us for more updates.

Feature Image Credit: @F1 on X

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