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Verstappen holds off Hamilton to earn 50th career F1 victory at the US Grand Prix

Verstappen Holds Off Hamilton To Earn 50th Career F1 Victory At The Us Grand Prix

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AUSTIN, Texas — In a season of easy victories, career win No. 50 finally made Max Verstappen sweat.

Even if it was just a little bit.

Verstappen had to work through the field after starting sixth instead of from pole position, then held off the charging Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton over the final laps in the Texas heat to win the United States Grand Prix on Sunday at the Circuit of the Americas.

Verstappen’s record-tying 15th win of the season also made the Dutch driver just the fifth Formula One driver in history to reach 50 in a career. Hamilton has the most with 103.

Verstappen has four races left this season to leap over Alain Post (51) and Sebastian Vettel (53) for third. Michael Schumacher has 91.

“It’s a great number,” Verstappen said of 50. “Let’s try to win more.”

The three-time F1 champion had to work much harder than usual in a season of almost complete domination. But the power of his Red Bull and the right pit stop strategy calls by his team navigated Verstappen to the finish line 2.2 seconds ahead of Hamilton.

Hamilton had been eating up chunks of time while chasing Verstappen over the final laps.

“I think the whole race I was struggling with the brakes. That made the race a bit tougher. It was very close at the end,” Verstappen said.

After splitting the first four races with teammate Sergio Perez, Verstappen has won 13 of the last 14 in a run that would have Red Bull on top of the team standings by himself. Red Bull has already won the constructor’s championship.

Verstappen also earned his third consecutive win in Austin. He started this one in the middle of the grid because of a rare mistake of exceeding track limits in Friday’s qualifying that wiped out his final lap. Race officials then slightly widened the lines at three corners to give the drivers more space on race day.

Every winner at the Circuit of the Americas had started from the front row until Verstappen’s charge Sunday. He now has won three times this season from sixth or lower.

With Hamilton in his rearview mirror and his garage updating his lap times, Verstappen scolded his team to “stop talking” to him while he battled with his brakes in the corners.

“I asked nicely,” Verstappen said. “I said ‘please.’”

Hamilton is chasing Perez for second in the drivers’ standings. He delivered an important podium finish as Mercedes brought what it called its last major upgrade of the season to Austin.

A late radio message from the Mercedes garage expressed hope for second place and “maybe the win” as Hamilton passed McLaren’s Lando Norris and closed the gap to the Verstappen.

“Max has been really flawless,” Hamilton said. “We were catching him toward the end. I was hopeful. We needed more laps.”

Hamilton said he was proud to have a strong race after his self-inflicted, first-lap crash with teammate George Russell knocked him out of the race two weeks ago in Qatar. Second place was his best finish since Spain in June. The seven-time F1 champion hasn’t won since December 2021 in Saudi Arabia.

Norris finished third to earn McLaren its fourth consecutive podium finish. Norris jumped pole sitter Charles Leclerc of Ferrari for the lead at the start, and kept pace with Verstappen for much of the race before tailing off.

The run of good results has pushed McLaren past Aston Martin into fourth place in the team standings.

“To get into the lead early was a podium maker,” Norris said. “It was a good day for us.”


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