Verstappen holds off late Hamilton challenge to win United States GP


ewis Hamilton’s dreams of a record-breaking eighth world championship were dealt a significant blow after he lost further ground in the title race to a triumphant Max Verstappen at the United States Grand Prix.

Hamilton, on fresher rubber than Verstappen, hustled his rival all the way to the line in a thrilling climax – but the Dutch driver held firm to claim his eighth win of the campaign.

Hamilton’s points difference to Verstappen has increased from six to 12, with only five rounds and 130 points available in this year’s ferocious title fight.

Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez finished third ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and the McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo.

Under scorching blue skies, Formula One’s biggest crowd of the season created one of the best pre-race atmospheres of the season at the Circuit of the Americas, 15 miles south of downtown Austin.

And the 140,000 sets of eyes were firmly fixed on the charge to the first corner with Verstappen lining up on pole, and Hamilton second.

When the lights flicked to green, it was Hamilton who reacted fastest. The Briton was three thousandths of a second quicker than Verstappen, and his lightning reactions forced the Red Bull man to take action.

Verstappen instantly moved to his left, in an attempt to put the squeeze on Hamilton, who held the inside line for the left hander.

Hamilton placed his Mercedes on the apex of the bend before moving ahead of Verstappen, and leaving his title rival with little-to-no room. The Dutchman ran across the kerbs and Hamilton raced off into the lead. It was the perfect start for the defending champion.

By the end of the first lap, Hamilton was a second clear, but that proved as good as it was going to get for the British driver.

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