Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing prepares to drive on the grid
Max Verstappen praised his Red Bull team for the improvements made to his car over the race weekend at the United States Grand Prix after he beat Lewis Hamilton to the line to claim a vital victory in Texas.
Mercedes’ recent success at the Circuit of the Americas looked set to continue after they topped the time sheets after the first practice session, but Verstappen was able to find his pace as he secured pole position.
Although the Dutchman went on to lose his advantage to Hamilton after the first corner, an aggressive pit-stop strategy from Red Bull saw Verstappen take the lead heading into the closing stages of the race, with Hamilton looking to hunt him down on fresher tyres.
But unlike previous races this season which have featured such strategies, such as the Spanish Grand Prix in May, Verstappen was able to look after his tyres and hold on to claim an important win and extend his lead in Formula 1’s drivers’ standings to 12 points.
When asked afterwards about the most important moment of the weekend, Verstappen said: ”First of all, I think the turnaround from Friday to Saturday with the car.
“I think we found a better set-up but then again also to the race, we of course start on pole, we lose the race and we went aggressive on strategy and it paid out.
“But it can also very easily swing, if you go to early or if you’re not reacting in time so it’s really tough out there, when it’s so close between two teams.”
At the Spanish Grand Prix earlier this season, Hamilton was able to make the vital pass on fresher tyres with six laps remaining. The Mercedes driver finished just 1.33 seconds behind his title rival on this occasion and was perhaps just a couple of laps away from securing a similar result.
“I’ve been in this position before where you are in the lead with the older tyres or the other way around where you are hunting,” Verstappen added.
“I just tried to do the best I could and tried to be consistent, trying to find the grip within the tyre, without damaging too much. It wasn’t easy but I think at the end of the day that made it really exciting.”
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