Max Verstappen nursed problems to win F1 US GP from sixth with Lewis Hamilton in second ahead of Lando Norris.
It was not a great start from pole-sitter Charles Leclerc in his Ferrari in F1 US GP at Circuit of the Americas as he lost to McLaren’s Lando Norris, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz clearing Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton for third going uphill at Turn 1.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was up to fifth from fast starting McLaren’s Oscar Piastri in sixth after starting in 10th. Replays showed that he made contact with Alpine’s Esteban Ocon which damaged the Frenchman’s sidepod, who started to lose places.
He was seventh from Mercedes’ George Russell, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Alpine’s Pierre Gasly in the Top 10 where the Brit dropped three places at the start. Ocon couldn’t stay seventh for long as the damage was enough to drop him outside the Top 10.
It wasn’t long that he was last and was eventually forced to retire on Lap 8. Norris, meanwhile, eked out a good lead over Leclerc as Hamilton caught up with Sainz to pass him for third. Verstappen was close behind and dropped Sainz to fifth.
Piastri ran sixth from Russell, Perez, Gasly and AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda in the Top 10. While Norris continued to lead, Hamilton passed Leclerc for second as Verstappen started to chase the Monegasque to get himself on the podium.
It was a feisty pass from Verstappen as the two went wheel-to-wheel for couple of corners. But the Dutchman took third with Leclerc in fourth from Sainz. It was Russell up to sixth from Perez after Piastri was asked to retire due to suspected issue.
Gasly was up to eighth from Tsunoda and his AlphaTauri teammate Daniel Ricciardo in the Top 10. The pit saga started where both Hamilton and Russell extended their stints along with Leclerc, who went the furthest of all the drivers on the grid on Lap 23.
Norris assumed the lead but Verstappen jumped Hamilton for second with Sainz in fourth from Perez who jumped Russell. The Brit was seventh behind Leclerc who dropped couple of places after going furthest in his first stint where it he was trying one stop.
Gasly was eighth from Tsunoda, with Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso in 10th from the pitilane. It was a strategy battle where Norris, Leclerc and the Mercedes pair were trying to go with the one stop to take on Verstappen and Perez.
Verstappen did take the lead of F1 US GP from Norris but the Brit stayed on his tail with Hamilton not far behind. Sainz was a distant fourth from Perez, Leclerc, Russell, Gasly, Tsunoda and Alonso in the Top 10 with teammate Lance Stroll just behind in 11th.
Things changed a bit when Norris pitted on Lap 33 from second and dumped the one stop plan. Verstappen pitted after him but had the net lead with Hamilton still going on to extend his stint along with Perez and Leclerc in the Top 3.
But both Hamilton and Perez eventually pitted to drop back as Verstappen assumed the lead from Norris with Leclerc in third – having not stopped. Hamilton started to chase him for third with Sainz and Perez also behind putting in some quick lap times.
Hamilton didn’t waste time to pass Leclerc for third as the Monegasque was left to defend from Sainz and Perez in the fight for fourth. Russell was a distant seventh from Gasly, Tsunoda and Alonso in the Top 10 where Stroll was 11th from Albon.
At the front, Verstappen held onto the lead despite some brake issues as Hamilton caught up with Norris. The two went for a wheel-to-wheel battle and the Mercedes driver eventually made the pass at Turn 1 after the McLaren driver went a bit wide.
Sainz was let through by Ferrari to fourth to catch Norris, while Leclerc was fifth to defend from Perez. But the Monegasque couldn’t hold on for long with the Mexican clearing him for fifth where the one stop seemingly didn’t worked for the Ferrari driver.
Russell ran a distant seventh from Gasly, as Stroll was up to ninth after passing Tsunoda who was up to 10th when Alonso retired due to a suspension issue. Albon was outside the points but had 5s penalty for track limits ahead of teammate Logan Sargeant.
Verstappen nursed some issues to win F1 US GP by 2.225s over Hamilton, who chased him well with Norris third to round out the podium. Sainz was fourth from Perez with Leclerc holding onto sixth by 0.337s over Russell, who got a 6s gap down quickly.
Gasly was a lonely eighth from Stroll with Tsunoda pitting late to take the fastest lap point in 10th. Albon was 11th despite the penalty with teammate Sargeant just behind in 12th. Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg was 13th from Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas.
His teammate Zhou Guanyu was 15th from Haas’ Kevin Magnussen and Ricciardo where all the three drivers ended up a lap down on the leaders. DNF: Alonso, Piastri, Ocon.
UPDATE: The FIA cleared Stroll of any action for going to the grid instead of pitlane after the reconnaissance lap. The stewards noted that the guideline wasn’t followed but the Canadian didn’t breach any regulation.
There was further checks on Albon for track limits post his initial 5s penalty, but the FIA looked at the video evidence of Turn 6 to be precise and found him to be in the clear to not impose any further penalty as he retained 11th from Sargeant.
The technical delegate has referred Leclerc and Hamilton to stewards after technical regulation breach in post-race checks. “A physical floor and a plank wear inspection was carried out on car numbers 16 and 44,” the note 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. I am referring this mater to the stewards for their consideration.”