The United States GP turned out to be a kind of mini version of the Formula 1 World Championship. Varied opportunities, minimal differences and venom in the tail. With Max Verstappen as the smartest and fastest – but that didn’t matter.
He’s 2.16 meters tall and has been through it all, but even an attentive spectator, Shaquille O’Neal, found the end of the American GP to be bloodcurdling. American fans who hadn’t seen much of this dazzling Formula 1 season due to the jet lag were immediately treated to a great presentation in their own Texas.
Like a yo-yo, he went up and down 56 laps with chances for both title contenders. Exactly as for months, all over the world, they are fighting the asphalt. Verstappen started from pole, Hamilton immediately passed him in the first corner. Verstappen passed him again after a successful breakout, a daring strategy in the pit lane. Hamilton returned to the lead after Verstappen’s second premature tire stop. And the Limburger still with eighteen laps to go at the end of the race, when Hamilton also switched to new hard tires.
For example, the first American GP in two years turned into a Texan thriller in the finals, just as this World Cup will remain exciting until the end. In it, Hamilton moved a second closer to Verstappen, but ultimately stayed ahead of the Briton en route to his eighteenth victory. “What a job, guys. We did it, ”he later exulted.
There wasn’t even a real direct fight after the exciting first few meters up the hill at Circuit of The Americas. The seven-time champion was just a rapper, but the chess between the two teams also continued to captivate America’s 180,000 fans until the checkered flag fell.
Everything was perfect for a strong and thoughtful weekend at Red Bull Racing. After Turkey and Russia he had traveled to America with some chills, as Mercedes had scared there quickly, but it was Verstappen who finally took pole. In the race, Hamilton always had slightly faster gear, but nothing is different.
With smart play, a role Red Bull was of course forced into by the early takeover up front, the squad held up well. Verstappen, for example, missed a twelve-point gap in the World Cup, where he now leads with a 287.5-point lead over Hamilton (275.5), who took another bonus point. “I love this strategy,” Verstappen said. “Sometimes it’s good to be aggressive.”
This promises a lot for the last five races that remain in this world championship. In total, a maximum of 130 points can be divided into Mexico, Brazil, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the final number in Abu Dhabi. Favorite? Who will say. This World Cup is proving difficult to predict; the favorites have already changed direction five times. Formula 1 is a circus with twenty drivers and ten teams, but two men stand out. And they hardly differ from each other, as it turned out once again in America.
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