Max Verstappen greets Lewis Hamilton to win the thrilling United States Grand Prix

Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton with six laps to go to win a thrilling United States Grand Prix and deny the Mercedes driver his first win of the season.

Verstappen appeared en route to sail to the checkered flag and emulate Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel by achieving a record 13 wins in just one year.

But the two-time world champion ran into trouble at the Circuit of Americas with his final pit stop when he stood still for 11.1 seconds as Red Bull struggled to mount his left front tire.

With just 20 laps to go, Verstappen’s miserable stop allowed Hamilton to take the lead.

“Beautiful, fucking beautiful,” Verstappen said on the radio as the red mist descended on the Red Bull driver.

Verstappen remained behind Charles Leclerc after his tire problems, but fought to overtake the Ferrari driver with 15 laps to go for a successful finish while Hollywood star Brad Pitt watched the drama unfold from the rear. of Hamilton’s Mercedes garage.

As the lap counter was dropping, Hamilton’s lead began to wear off and, with 10 laps to go, Verstappen moved within two seconds of his rival Mercedes.

On lap 50 of 56, the margin was only half a second when Hamilton’s silver mirrors suddenly took care of Verstappen’s blue car. Verstappen wasted no time making his move.

Charging 300km / h to turn 12, the newly crowned double world champion darted into Hamilton’s slipstream before turning left and placing his Red Bull in the center of the apex.

Hamilton sought revenge on the man, who so controversially denied him a world record crown in Abu Dhabi 10 months ago, but Verstappen kept his nerve – despite a series of warnings for overstepping the track limits – to take the spoils and deny Hamilton a first win of the season.

Leclerc finished third ahead of Sergio Perez while Red Bull secured their first constructors’ title since 2013.

George Russell finished fifth, one place ahead of Lando Norris. Fernando Alonso crossed the line in seventh place despite being sent flying and out of control after colliding with Lance Stroll at 180 mph.

Alonso touched the wall before he could limp back to the pits for repairs. Parts of Aston Martin fell out of Stroll’s car and in oncoming traffic, but the grid ran off without injury.

Verstappen secured his second title in Japan two weeks ago, but a cloud hovered over his championship celebration in Austin following Red Bull’s violation of the sport’s financial rules.

It was also confirmed on Saturday that Dietrich Mateschitz, the Austrian billionaire who founded Red Bull in 1984 and secured his entry to the F1 grid 21 years later, had lost his long battle with cancer.

An emotional Verstappen dedicated his career to Mateschitz after news of his death broke on Saturday night. And a few moments later, the grid lined up shoulder to shoulder to pay homage to Mateschitz with applause, the Dutch driver gave a textbook start to overtake poleman Carlos Sainz.

There would have been further suffering for Sainz when Russell knocked him out of the race after he crashed into his Ferrari.

Verstappen was in speed control to the finish but recovered from his desperate pit stop to claim the 33rd victory of his career, taking him ahead of Alonso and sixth on the all-time list, with only Hamilton (103), Schumacher (91), ahead of him Sebastian Vettel (53), Alain Prost (51) and Ayrton Senna (41). Surprisingly, Verstappen celebrated his 25th birthday just last month.

Verstappen failed to win just six of the 19 rounds of a one-way campaign and with three rounds still left in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi, it seems inconceivable that he won’t become the only holder of the most wins in a single campaign.

“So close, but still so far,” Hamilton told the radio. “We keep pushing.”

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