Verstappen takes Sprint F1 win in Austin ahead of Hamilton

Leclerc defends from Norris and finishes third


By Franck Drui

22 October 2023 - 00:47
Verstappen takes Sprint F1 win in (...)

Max Verstappen took a dominant Sprint win at the Circuit of the Americas, beating Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton to the flag by more than nine seconds at the end of the 19-lap race with Charles Leclerc taking third place for Ferrari.

Verstappen’s third Sprint win of the season was decided at the start. The Red Bull driver was beaten off the line by the fast-start Leclerc and Verstappen was forced to dive to the left to protect the inside line from the Ferrari driver who was pulling alongside. The pair almost went off track as they tussled but Verstappen eventually went into the opening corner in the lead.

The tussle mean that Leclerc was forced into an even tighter line into Turn 1 and as he rounded the first corner he was passed on the outside by Lewis Hamilton.

Behind the leaders Carlos Sainz, on Soft tyres, made a good start and he rose to fourth as he banged wheels with Oscar Piastri and then elbowed his way past the Australian’s team-mate Lando Norris with Sergio Pérez in P6.

At the front, Verstappen began to eke out a gap to Hamilton and by lap six he had broken DRS to lead the Briton by 1.3s, while Leclerc had dropped back to three seconds behind the Mercedes driver.

Sainz and Norris were now battling for position, which allowed Pérez to reel in both and by the start of lap eight the Mexican was within DRS range of the McLaren. Sainz was beginning to suffer on his Soft tyres and on lap 10 Norris passed the Ferrari driver under DRS on the run to Turn 12 to steal P4. Pérez quickly closed the gap to Sainz and on the following lap he powered past the Spaniard at the same spot to take fifth place.

The second half of the race saw little action as the field settled into position and at the front Verstappen continued to pull away. By the start of lap 14 the Dutchman had four seconds in hand over Hamilton and over the final six laps he stretched the gap to 9.4 seconds – or an average of almost half a second quicker than his closest rival for the entirety of the race.

Leclerc took third place with Norris fourth ahead of Pérez. Sainz managed to hang on to P6 ahead of Alpine’s Pierre Gasly and the final point on offer went to Mercedes’ George Russell.

01 Max Verstappen Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 19 laps - 31m30.849s 0
02 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W14 +9.465 0
03 Charles Leclerc Ferrari SF-23 +17.987 0
04 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes MCL60 +18.863 0
05 Sergio Pérez Red Bull Honda RBPT RB19 +22.928 0
06 Carlos Sainz Ferrari SF-23 +28.307 0
07 Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault A523 +32.403 0
08 George Russell Mercedes W14 +34.250 0
09 Alex Albon Williams Mercedes FW45 +34.567 0
10 Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes MCL60 +42.403 0
11 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault A523 +44.986 0
12 Daniel Ricciardo AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 +45.509 0
13 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 +49.086 0
14 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Honda RBPT AT04 +49.733 0
15 Nico Hülkenberg Haas Ferrari VF-23 +56.650 0
16 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 +64.401 0
17 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Ferrari C43 +67.972 0
18 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari VF-23 +71.122 0
19 Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes FW45 +71.449 0
20 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Mercedes AMR23 DNF 1

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