Madrid, October 22 (EFE). – Dutchman Max Verstappen (Red Bull), who was crowned world champion three times in Formula 1 two weeks ago, in Qatar, continued his distinguished plan by winning the United States Grand Prix on Sunday, at the circuit. Americas in Austin (Texas), where he recorded his 50th top-flight victory and tied his record of 15 victories in a single season.
Verstappen, 26, sixth on the grid, won for the third time (in a row) on the bumpy, hot Austin track. He crossed the finish line ahead of Briton Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Lando Norris (McLaren), second and third, respectively, in a race in which Spaniard Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) finished fourth, one place behind Mexican Sergio Perez. A teammate of the new King of the Queen class who generally supports him.
The other Spaniard, Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin), who had left the pit lane and was making a brilliant comeback – one that should have left him eighth at the end – had to leave with a problem with the flat bottom of his car. , with five laps of 56 remaining at the Texas Circuit.
This time, giving him more excitement and managing the slightly degraded brakes in the final corners, Verstappen showed for the umpteenth time that he is the undisputed king in the motorsport honors division.
On Friday, after posting the best time in the only practice in the fifth of the six weekends of the course, he went from under to over in qualifying. In which the “Pole” would have signed. However, for exceeding track limits, that lap’s time was canceled and he finished sixth in qualifying. The position from which he won this Sunday on a track no one has ever done before, starting behind the front row. He added his 50th victory with his 15th victory this year, equaling his historic record, which no one doubts will improve in the remaining four races.
He was just one step away from the fourth record of all time, that of Frenchman Alain Prost; What remains until the closure – next November 26 in Abu Dhabi – may equal a third, or even exceed it. It is carried by the other quadruple world champion, German Sebastian Vettel.
“Mad Max” quickly got rid of Friday’s thorn by topping the reduced qualifying rounds before winning Saturday’s race, ahead of Hamilton and Monaco driver Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), who started from first place and finished sixth on Sunday, after scoring his twentieth goal on Friday. . -First place in Formula 1. A record that places him in first place among non-world champions in this section.
Norris started alongside the Dutch star; Next to Hamilton, on the second row, was Sainz, fourth in qualifying on Friday and sixth in the sprint on Saturday. Just one place behind Chico, who ran ninth in the race, alongside Australian newcomer Oscar Piastri, the stylish Formula 1 man; Who arrived in Austin after finishing third in Japan and second in Qatar. He also won the speed race. The day Verstappen became a three-time sports champion, this Sunday, in the third row, next to the other Mercedes, the car of the Englishman George Russell. Seven in the end.
For Alonso, and especially for Aston Martin, things went wrong from the start of the Grand Prix as they barely ran in the only test of the worst weekend of the year for the Silverstone team. Before the double world champion Asturia – who has been ever-present in all 17 of this year’s third quarters – was eliminated in the first quarter. The case in which his Canadian partner Lance Stroll also fell. Unlike the man from Oviedo, he was able to complete his comeback and finished ninth.
Fernando, 17th in qualifying (13th in the race), and Lance – who did not even complete the short test – 19th, started from the “pit lane”, after breaking the “park wall” to change all the settings once the race was over. Improvements to the aerodynamic package had no effect. For the same reason, the Haas duo of Danish Kevin Magnussen and German Nico Hulkenberg also started from the garage lane.
Except for the last and Stroll – with hard tires – it all started with medium compound tires. In a race in which Lando beat Leclerc at the first opportunity, which is the same thing Carlos did with Sir Louis; And “Mad Max” with Russell.
It was Piastri who made the most of the early stages of testing, moving up four places in one fell swoop to finish sixth in second out of 56 laps given to COTA; As no one won starting from behind second on the grid.
But the Dutch star is not satisfied. And also eat separately.
On the powerful ship designed by the brilliant English engineer Adrian Newey – a true master of aerodynamics – on the fifth lap he was already rolling in fourth place after overtaking Sainz, noticed by Hamilton; Who passed Leclerc on the sixth lap to take second place behind his compatriot Norris.
“Chico”, stopped by Russell, moved up only two places in 10th, after the retirement of Piastri – who was unable to extend his good streak – and Frenchman Esteban Ocon (Alpine); One lap before Verstappen took third place behind the Briton by overtaking the Monaco Polesiter.
The idol of the Dutch fans repeated the medial in the 17th minute, before Carlos did the same and Norris installed the difficult medial. Hamilton, whose six victories in the United States (five on this track) are unmatched by anyone, pressed hard on lap 20 – when Leclerc, who had not yet stopped, temporarily took the lead -, one ahead of the other Mercedes, by Russell.
Leclerc entered the garages in lane 24, and with the rearrangement, Norris was running first, ahead of Verstappen and Hamilton; With Sainz in fourth place and Chico – who repeated the run in 19th place – fifth. With Alonso, and in the same action that the Mexican did later, he beat Finn Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) to reach tenth place and enter the points area.
The super predator has stalked its last prey; On lap 28, exactly in the middle of the race, Verstappen overtook Norris, put himself in first place and began to think clearly about lap 50, which would equal his historic record for victories on the same track (15).
Norris stopped at 35 and put on hard tires one lap before Verstappen and Carlos made the same maneuver. With another four points, “Mad Max” overtook Leclerc – who was overtaken shortly after by Norris – and from there he led to the finish line – not without the aforementioned brake problems and under pressure from Sir Louis – XV: a record and will be able to extend the races remaining for four races.
Races in which he will also be able to surpass Prost’s 51 victories and equal or even better Vettel’s 53 victories. Thus he became the third most victorious driver in the history of the premier category, behind the two seven-time world champions: German Michael Schumacher, the “Kaiser”, victorious 91 times ; And Hamilton, who played the song “God Save the Queen” 103 times after the Formula 1 race. This Sunday, he passed his compatriot Norris seven points before the end, and finished second, moving away from Alonso in the overall standings (the Briton is third with 219 points, 36 points behind About the Aston Martin Commander).
With eleven drivers remaining, Alonso overtook Japan’s Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri, who set the fastest lap and finished tenth) and took ninth place. The flamboyant Asturian driver, who was aiming for eighth place in a race that started in the pits, suffered problems on the flat bottom and ended up retiring five minutes from the finish line.
Carlos, with another great performance, had overtaken Leclerc shortly before and finished fourth in the race. This is the position that is getting closer and closer in the general classification, and it is still in the grip of its compatriot. Which is fifteen points ahead of him (183-168)
Stroll was able to complete his comeback and finished ninth on Sunday in Austin. However, this did not prevent McLaren (239 points) from clinching fourth place in the World Manufacturers’ Championship, in which Aston Martin occupies fifth place, seven points behind the Woking team.
Keen to finish second in the world, Chico minimized the damage. However, with 238 points, Hamilton is only 19 points behind, so it will be essential that he completes an impressive performance next weekend, in front of his home fans, at the Autodromo de los Hermanos Rodriguez: home of the Mexican Grand Prix.
Adrian R. Hopper
(c) EFE Agency
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