Versatile wins US Grand Prix thriller



Max Verstappen stopped Lewis Hamilton from winning the United States Grand Prix on Sunday and extended his lead at the Formula One World Championships to 12 points.

Versatopon, in a Red Bull, claimed his first victory on the Circuit of America in front of 140,000 spectators.

Mercedes star Hamilton, the reigning world champion, reduced the race deficit by less than a second but could not find a way through the Dutchman’s superb defense.

“Of course we lost in the beginning so we had to try to do something else,” Versatpan said.

“There’s a lot of tire wear around this track, we went aggressively and I wasn’t sure it was going to work, but the last few laps were fun.

“Slightly to the side from the fast corners but very happy to hang.”

Sergio Perez completed the podium for the Red Bull ahead of Charles Laker and McLaren’s Daniel Ricardo at Ferrari.

The 1.33-second victory was the eighth on Verstappen’s season track, where Hamilton had won five times.

“I think I’m about 25 years old in this race,” said Red Bull boss Christian Horner. “I didn’t really think we were going to be hanged.”

Hamilton acknowledged that the Red Bulls are stronger.

“Max did a great job today,” he said on the podium.

“It was such a tough race. I made a good start, gave him absolutely everything but at the end of the day, this weekend he had his hand and we really couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Hamilton, second on the grid, was stunned from the start.

The British took the first turn and remained in front for 10 laps until the Red Bull ended what they had hoped would be a strategic coup.

“He’s sliding too much and I’m too fast,” Verstappen told his team on the radio.

Calling the Dutchman, who had a slow Hamilton in his eyes, for the initial pit stop, he managed to reduce the champion.

By the time Hamilton stood up and reappeared, Verstappen had a 6.7-second lead.

“We pulled the trigger quickly, but Max is doing well,” Horner told Sky Sports from the pit wall. “It’s like a game of chess in this race.”

Hamilton continued to stay out of the lead and reduced the deficit to 3.3 seconds in the 56-lap race.

His efforts were further aided by a virtual safety car parade called to collect some debris from the martial track.

Once again, Versatopin left Hamilton’s lead and stood for the second stop.

When he returned, Perez acknowledged the track position to allow the Dutch driver to finish second, even though he was more than 16 seconds behind the seven-time champion.

“This race is about the last five laps, so we’ll see how it goes,” Horner said.

“The pace was just starting to slow down and with three seconds behind, there was a chance for an undercut.”

Behind Perez, as the race entered the last 20 laps, Leclerc and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas were trailing by four.

In the back, Perry Gasley, who started in the fourth row, had to retire when his suspension on the Alpha Tory failed.

Both the Alpines of Fernando Alonso and Esteban O’Connor were soon forced to end.

On Leap 37, Hamilton took the field for the second time as Worstapan took the lead again with a lead of 8.45 seconds.

The British driver took advantage and ate, with the help of which Versatin kept running in the wall of back markers.

With 10 laps left, the gap narrowed to 2.3 seconds, while Perez was third, about 30 seconds behind the lead.

However, Versatile put a lot of pressure on the last two laps to achieve a significant victory.

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