Race Report: Verstappen wins USGP in Austin

AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 22: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium following the F1 Grand Prix of United States at Circuit of The Americas on October 22, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202310220810 // Usage for editorial use only //

The US Grand Prix was a stark contrast from the Sprint just a day earlier with Max Verstappen securing his 50th win followed by Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris. While it may have seemed predictable, it wasn’t quite that easy with Lewis closing in on Max in the final laps and Verstappen’s Red Bull suffering a brake issue.

It was the first race won from outside of the front row in the past 11 grands prix in Austin but to be fair, the qualifying debacle had Max out of position. The race was accentuated by some creative and interesting off-set strategies that made it a very fun race to watch. Perhaps no surprise, COTA generally offers great racing.

Win

A win for Max Verstappen and Red Bull for clawing back from 6th and securing the win. Max was nursing a brake issue that may have flattered the Mercedes pace a bit but it is clear that the other teams are closing the gap to Red Bull. Regardless, it would have been nice to have Sergio Perez behind him to give the team more control of the race strategy and secure more points in the Driver’s Championship.

A win for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton with a terrific weekend and resurgent performance. Lewis looked good all weekend and the hard work from all the men and women at Mercedes have done a terrific job of turning their season around and dropping Ferrari further behind them in the Constructor’s Championship. Well done Lewis and Mercedes!

A win for McLaren and Lando Norris. Not only have they surpassed Aston Martin in the Constructor’s Championship this weekend, it is also very clear just how the fanbase of F1 has changed with chants of “Lando” and the crowd buzzed to see him on the podium. A fantastic season reversal for all the hard work in Woking.

A win for Alpha Tauri’s Yuki Tsunoda and Williams F1’s Alex Albon both with terrific drives leaving Yuki in the points and ahead of veteran teammate Daniel Ricciardo who’s 1-stopper didn’t work.

A win for hometown hero Logan Sergeant who had a good race up to P12 behind his teammate, Alex Albon.

Big win for COTA who had over 400,000 people over the race weekend. I remember going to the initial race where they would pack in 117,000. Happy for Bobby Epstein and the entire staff at COTA for another terrific race.

Fail

A fail for Ferrari who sunk deeper in the points behind Mercedes and couldn’t convert their pole position to a podium. The radio communication seemed like it was a grab bag of strategy options but in the end, none of them secured a podium finish.

A fail for McLaren’s Oscar Piastri who clashed with Esteban Ocon on the first lap eventually forcing both of them to retire their cars.

A fail for Aston Martin who sunk behind McLaren in the Constructor’s Championship adding more pressure about the points lost by Lance Stroll earlier in the year when they had a car to compete. To be fair to Lance, he started from pit land and managed to score points in Austin while his teammate, Fernando Alonso, suffered from what felt like a suspension issue.

A fail for George Russell who was on the back foot all weekend long. While Lewis is looking terrific and on form, George is being overshadowed and needs to find a way to raise his game to run with Lewis or better.

WTH

Not sure about the re-painted white lines and all the track limit talk all weekend, just seems to be reaching silliness proportions.

It’s clear Lando Norris is becoming quite the F1 superstar judging by the crowd and I think that’s great. I have to admit, the crowd noise and fun of watching Max battle his peers (Lando, Charles, George, Carlos) was a lot of fun. For some reason Sky Sports and many folks keep wanting some sort of Max vs Lewis battle. Perhaps they want restitution for Abu Dhabi but for me, Lewis and Max are of different generations, the real fun is watching Max and his peers battle it out. They are all good friends and it’s nice to see instead of the bitterness of the past several years.

The boos were in very poor taste and reflect poorly on the US fans attending. I get it, but as a Ferrari fan, I would not boo Max, Lando or Lewis. I guess I am just old school about that.

I am not sure what Haas has to do to improve or if they can for the balance of the season. Their new upgrades didn’t cure their major issue and that’s unfortunate as that could mean they are effectively an also-ran team and I hate to see that. Especially at the USGP.

I do like that this track, and perhaps the Sprint, prompted several off-set strategies. That was fun to see play out over the race.

Pirelli Report:

The vast majority of drivers preferred to start on the Medium tyres, the only exceptions being Lance Stroll and Nico Hulkenberg, who started on Hard from pit lane alongside their respective team-mates Fernando Alonso and Kevin Magnussen. As expected, the quickest strategy was a two stop, running Medium and Hard. Two drivers tried to run the whole race making just a single pit stop: Charles Leclerc, who extended his first stint to lap 23 before running the remaining 33 laps on a set of Hards, and Daniel Ricciardo who, on lap 47, probably aborted his attempt to get to the chequered flag on the Hards, switching to Softs for the final laps. His AlphaTauri team-mate, Yuki Tsunoda did the same, making a third stop on the penultimate lap, attempting and succeeding in taking the additional point on offer for setting the fastest race lap as he rounded off the top ten.

US Grand Prix Results:

POSNODRIVERCARLAPSTIME/RETIREDPTS
11Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT561:35:21.36225
244Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES56+2.225s18
34Lando NorrisMCLAREN MERCEDES56+10.730s15
455Carlos SainzFERRARI56+15.134s12
511Sergio PerezRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT56+18.460s10
616Charles LeclercFERRARI56+24.662s8
763George RussellMERCEDES56+24.999s6
810Pierre GaslyALPINE RENAULT56+47.996s4
918Lance StrollASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES56+48.696s2
1022Yuki TsunodaALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT56+74.385s2
1123Alexander AlbonWILLIAMS MERCEDES56+86.714s0
122Logan SargeantWILLIAMS MERCEDES56+87.998s0
1327Nico HulkenbergHAAS FERRARI56+89.904s0
1477Valtteri BottasALFA ROMEO FERRARI56+98.601s0
1524Zhou GuanyuALFA ROMEO FERRARI55+1 lap0
1620Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI55+1 lap0
173Daniel RicciardoALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT55+1 lap0
NC14Fernando AlonsoASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES49DNF0
NC81Oscar PiastriMCLAREN MERCEDES10DNF0
NC31Esteban OconALPINE RENAULT6DNF0
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Overall Race
race-report-verstappen-wins-usgp-in-austinFun seeing all the off-set strategies and close racing. A good Grand Prix as always from Austin.
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Worthless Opinion

I’d be curious to hear about a couple questions on the podcast if you care to. Why was Max allowed to push LeClerc off the track while passing in a turn? I think i understand it’s because he was ahead (ish) at some nano-moment but it would seem that rule means you just position yourself inward of the car in front of you, brake a fraction after them, and you’re allowed to go straight and drive them off the track? That kind of pass seems at least as fake as drs if you ask me. I noticed the stewards looked… Read more »

Worthless Opinion

2nd question – why was Verstappen allowed to cross the track and push LeClerc off the track at the start of the sprint? (Yes theres a theme here but thats Max fault not mine, these are technical queries). I get that its weird pole is on the outside, but couldnt help wonder. If LeClerc hadn’t yielded and they had a wreck, if Max has the right to that move are we saying LeClerc wouldve been penalized for causing a crash when Verst crossed thetrack and hit him? That would be strange. Thanks