The Cairns Post

Red Bull star holds on to buck trend in Texas

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MAX Verstappen held off Lewis Hamilton to win the United States Grand Prix in front of 140,000 fans on Monday and extend his Formula One world championsh­ip lead to 12 points.

Mercedes star Hamilton, the reigning world champion, had cut the deficit in the race to under a second on the penultimat­e lap but could not find a way through the Dutchman’s impressive defence.

It was the Red Bull driver’s first victory at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

“Of course we lost out in the start so we had to try and

do something else,” Verstappen said. “The tyre wear is quite high around this track, we went aggressive and I was not sure it was going to work but the last few laps were fun.

“A bit sideways through the high-speed corners but super happy to hang on.”

Sergio Perez completed the podium for Red Bull ahead of Charles Leclerc in a Ferrari and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo.

The victory by 1.33 seconds was Verstappen’s eighth of the season at a track where Hamilton had won five times.

“I think I’ve aged about 25 years in that race,” said Red Bull boss Christian Horner.

“I really didn’t think we were going to hang on.”

Hamilton admitted Red Bull were stronger.

“Max did a great job today,” he said on the podium. “It was such a tough race. I got a good start, gave it absolutely everything but at the end of the day, they just had the upper hand this weekend and we couldn’t really have asked for more.”

Hamilton, second on the grid, stunned pole-sitter Versappen at the start. The Briton edged ahead at the first turn and stayed in front for 10 laps until Red Bull pulled off what they hoped would be a tactical coup.

“He’s sliding a lot and I have a lot more pace,” Verstappen told his team over the radio.

By calling in the Dutchman, who had a sluggish Hamilton in his sights, for an early pit stop, he was able to undercut the champion.

By the time Hamilton had pitted and reappeared, Verstappen had constructe­d a 6.7second lead.

Hamilton consistent­ly chipped away at the lead and by half-distance in the 56-lap race, he had slashed the deficit to 3.3 seconds.

His efforts were further aided by a virtual safety car period called so marshals could collect some debris off the track.

 ?? ?? Max Verstappen.
Max Verstappen.

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