Sprint: Verstappen takes commanding victory in Austin F1 Sprint

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F1 Grand Prix, GP USA, Circuit of The Americasus

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.


11Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1931:30.8498
244Lewis HamiltonMercedes19+9.465s7
316Charles LeclercFerrari19+17.987s6
44Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes19+18.863s5
511Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt19+22.928s4
655Carlos SainzFerrari19+28.307s3
710Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault19+32.403s2
863George RussellMercedes19+34.250s1
923Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes19+34.567s0
1081Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes19+42.403s0
1131Esteban OconAlpine Renault19+44.986s0
123Daniel RicciardoAlphatauri Honda Rbpt19+45.509s0
1314Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes19+49.086s0
1422Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Honda Rbpt19+49.733s0
1527Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari19+56.650s0
1677Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari19+64.401s0
1724Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari19+67.972s0
1820Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari19+71.122s0
192Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes19+71.449s0
NC18Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes16DNF0