Top five race drives of the year
BY HIS OWN ADMISSION ,V ERSTAPPEN DID NOT PRODU CEA great performance in qualifying for October’s race at Austin, and a grid penalty for an engine change made life even harder by sending him back t o1 6th on the grid. But Verstappen never knows when he’s beaten.
The Red Bull ace go tu p t o1 3th o nla po ne, was into the top 10 by the end of three and climbed back to his original sixth position after just 10. He eventually assumed the lead by running a long first stint, before getting repassed by race winner Lewis Hamilton, then pitting o nla p 24 of 56.
Verstapp enc ompleted his out-lap 21.754 seconds behind the leader, with a 10s deficit t ok imi Raikkonen’s Ferrari. Over the remaining distance, Verstappen hunted the leading group down. He overtook Valtteri Bottas’s struggling Mercedes fo rf ourth, then chased after Raikkonen over the final four laps, before lunging inside the Ferrari on the final lap to claim a sensational podium.
But the stewards ruled Verstappen cut the inside of the track in making the move, so docked him five seconds and handed third back to Raikkonen. Verstappen was furious but, penalty o rn op enalty, it was still a brilliant, stirring performance from F1 ’sm ost exciting young talent.