Three-time world champion Max Verstappen took a dominant victory in the 19-lap sprint race at the United Stated Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc completed the podium. F1Technical's senior writer Balázs Szabó reports on the Austin F1 Sprint.
Starting from the second place, Charles Leclerc had a good launch off the line and was eager to overtake Verstappen as the pair braked into Turn 1. However, the Dutchman defended his position, but the Monegasque was forced to run wide which allowed Lewis Hamilton to take over P2.
Being the only driver to start the race on the red-walled soft tyres, Carlos Sainz displayed eye-catching pace on the first two laps and managed to get past Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.
The order on Lap 2 was Verstappen, Hamilton, Leclerc, Sainz, Lando Norris, Oscar Piastri, Sergio Perez, George Russell, Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon.
On Lap 4, Sergio Perez managed to overtake Oscar Piastri coming into Turn 13, and George Russell capitalized on that, getting by the Australian at Turn 15. However, the Briton made his pass off the track, and he was quickly handed out a five-second time penalty as he was reluctant to give the position back depite the warning from his race engineer.
The first laps saw Hamilton stay within DRS distance to Verstappen, but he started to drop back as the Dutchman picked up his pace.
Lap 8 saw Norris overtake Sainz into Turn 12, but he ran wide, allowing Sainz to fight back. The battle between the former teammates also allowed Perez to close in within DRS range. Three laps later, the McLaren driver managed to get the move done and started to pick up his pace. Two laps later, Perez also got past Sainz, who was struggling for pace on his heavily worn soft tyres.
Elsewhere, Lance Stroll reported brake issues over the team radio and was forced to retire from the sprint race.
In the meantime, Russell also closed in on the Ferrari driver, and tried to use the powerful DRS to overtake Sainz. However, the Madrid-born driver resisted, making no mistakes despite his completely worn red-walled tyres.
Back at the front. Verstappen built up an enormous advantage and picked up his third sprint victory out of the five to be staged in 2023. Hamilton finished second ahead of Leclerc.
McLaren’s Lando Norris took fourth ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. Sainz clang on to P6 with Pierre Gasly moving up to P7 as the five-second time penalty meant that Russell was demoted to the last point scoring position.
|1||1||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||19||31:30.849||8|
|4||4||Lando Norris||Mclaren Mercedes||19||+18.863s||5|
|5||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing Honda Rbpt||19||+22.928s||4|
|7||10||Pierre Gasly||Alpine Renault||19||+32.403s||2|
|9||23||Alexander Albon||Williams Mercedes||19||+34.567s||0|
|10||81||Oscar Piastri||Mclaren Mercedes||19||+42.403s||0|
|11||31||Esteban Ocon||Alpine Renault||19||+44.986s||0|
|12||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||19||+45.509s||0|
|13||14||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||19||+49.086s||0|
|14||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Alphatauri Honda Rbpt||19||+49.733s||0|
|15||27||Nico Hulkenberg||Haas Ferrari||19||+56.650s||0|
|16||77||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||19||+64.401s||0|
|17||24||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo Ferrari||19||+67.972s||0|
|18||20||Kevin Magnussen||Haas Ferrari||19||+71.122s||0|
|19||2||Logan Sargeant||Williams Mercedes||19||+71.449s||0|
|NC||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes||16||DNF||0|