Max Verstappen Doubles Title Lead with USGP Victory

MV Wins USGP21

Max Verstappen held onto the race win in Austin from the hunting Lewis Hamilton, subsequently doubling his title lead.

Max Verstappen Doubles Title Lead

In an enthralling USGP, Max Verstappen doubled his title lead from six points to twelve over rival Lewis Hamilton. The Brit took the lead at turn one from second on the grid, and held the lead until the first round of pit stops.

Red Bull pulled the trigger first on the pit wall, pulling Max in first, allowing him to jump Hamilton when he came in for his first stop.

The second stint set up a gripping end to the Grand Prix. It appeared that Red Bull had called Verstappen in early, whilst Hamilton extended the second stint by eight laps. After that pit stop, the current World Champion had just over eight seconds to close up.

The fresher set of hard tyres for Lewis allowed him to close up to Max, but he just wasn’t able to get close enough to get into the DRS range and look for an overtake.

Lewis Hamilton was able to claim a bonus championship point for the fastest lap, limiting the damage slightly.

How the Podium Reacted

Max Verstappen was delighted to just about hold on: “We did go aggressive and I was not sure it was going to work, but the last few laps were fun. Super happy of course to hang on.”

Lewis Hamilton conceded that rivals Red Bull had the advantage at the USGP:  “Firstly congratulations to Max, he did a great job today. It was such a tough race. Got a good start and gave it absolutely everything but at the end of the day they just had the upper hand this weekend.”

Sergio Perez managed a relatively comfortable third place despite having no water: “I ran out of water! I couldn’t drink at all, it got pretty difficult! I was losing strength towards the end.”

Battle for Third in the Constructor Standings

The 2021 USGP saw Ferrari claw back some deficit to McLaren, gaining 18 points to the 14 of McLaren. This result means that the Scuderia now trail McLaren by just three and a half points. With just five races to go, this one could still go either way!

Ominous Signs for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

The Mercedes car looking second best to the Red Bull, at a track they usually dominate, is not ideal. This is made even worse for Toto Wolff and his team as we now head to Mexico and Brazil. Two tracks where it is expected the Mercedes power unit will struggle. Red Bull’s Honda power unit historically is much better suited to the high altitude in Mexico and Brazil.

If these races go as expected, Hamilton could wind up falling even further behind Verstappen, and will only have three races to claw back the points. He will likely have to win in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi to give himself any chance of a record equalling eighth World Crown. That is unless he is able to unexpectedly better Verstappen’s results in Mexico and Brazil.

There’s still potentially another grid penalty for Lewis Hamilton. His teammate Valtteri Bottas took a new power unit this weekend, one more than Hamilton so far. It is assumed Hamilton will have to follow suit at some point.

Final Classification:

Max Verstappen doubles title lead in Austin, and is now in the driving seat for the title. Can the Dutchman be caught? Or is his maiden world title all but sealed?

Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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