Home Sport news Verstappen resists Hamilton; KO of Alonso and arbitration mess

Verstappen resists Hamilton; KO of Alonso and arbitration mess

by archysport

Max Verstappen celebrates his victory in Austin. / Chris Graythen (Afp)

United States GP

The World Championship leader stands out in the standings after a race in which they were smarter at Red Bull than at Mercedes

Max Verstappen leaves Austin not only as the winner of a race that had been dominated by Mercedes in the last six editions, but with twice the advantage he had before (six points) and the feeling that Red Bull knows how to better manage the races. tactical racing. The energy drinks team recovered from a bad start in which Lewis Hamilton won the game and, in the end, they confirmed the dominance seen in the rest of the weekend. It is no coincidence that the podium was completed by Sergio Pérez, who quietly gave great joy to the large audience that traveled from nearby Mexico to see him.

Hamilton and Verstappen knew it was going to be a long race and, given the precedents, they decided not to spoil a good battle in the first corner. Thus, at the start, the Dutchman lost the position with the British, aware that even losing first place in the early stages he was going to be able to fight him.

The championship leaders played it in the pits, and the first stake was won by Red Bull with Verstappen. They advanced their stop just enough to make an ‘undercut’ to Hamilton, which in the end was key for the final stretch: they forced the seven-time champion to go on the attack in the last relay, which left a much more even finish than expected.

Alonso and the cyclothymia of the curators

Fernando Alonso was the protagonist of one of the most tense moments of the weekend. From those powders these muds: the chaos to understand the decisions of race direction was portrayed again in the incidents between Räikkönen, Giovinazzi and the Spaniard.

First they were the world champions. Alonso cornered Räikkönen at Turn 1 to maintain position, forcing the Finn off the track. Thanks to this, he gained some advantage, which allowed him to rejoin with enough traction to win the place from the Asturian. This is where the doubts came in: Alonso complained in a very bitter way that he had to give him back the seat, but the stewards decided that it was a racing incident and that he did not deserve any kind of notice.

So Alonso, when he saw himself fighting with Giovinazzi, did the same: he won the place on the outside. In this case, Masi did warn Alpine that he should let the Italian return, something the Spanish did. He attacked the Alfa Romeo one again and, as it defended itself from the outside, in the end it was this one that had to return the square. In what position is Michael Masi left after deciding one thing and the other for similar incidents?

These incidents did not change the forecasts of the strategy. The Asturian was the first driver to make three stops, which ultimately deprived him of fighting for the points area with the comfort he expected. In fact, he ended up quitting. The Asturian driver got into the garage with five laps to go due to a problem with the rear wing, caused in part by that fight he had with the Alfa Romeos. The Asturian’s anger after the race was shared between the stewards, Räikkönen, Giovinazzi and his own team, as this was a weekend to forget at Alpine.

Verstappen endures a key victory

The boxes were key in several areas of the grid. A bad one (another) from Ferrari left Carlos Sainz at a disadvantage in his fight for fifth place with Daniel Ricciardo, with whom he had skirmishes both at the start and in the final stretch of the test. Verstappen and Hamilton also marked ground in their different strategies: Mercedes’ technical advantage at the Austin circuit allowed the German squad to risk overtaking on the track, something that the seven-time champion began to do in the last quarter of the event.

Fully stretching the stop almost worked out for Mercedes, but they were overly optimistic. Although Verstappen gave up on race pace, it wasn’t enough for Hamilton’s final rebound to pay off. The Dutchman breaks the reign of Mercedes in Austin and, with it, becomes more leader. If the vibrant United States Grand Prix has been memorable, Mexico’s will be no less so in two weeks.

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