Monday, March 4, 2024

Max Verstappen takes 50th Grand Prix victory in Austin

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen won the United States Grand Prix from sixth place on the grid, having contended with brake struggles throughout the race. 

The Dutch driver started out of position after facing a lap time deletion for track limits during qualifying, but was able to return to the front of the pack as the race went on. Verstappen did have competition for the top spot, however, with Lewis Hamilton closing in on him in the closing stages of the race on fresher tyres. 

It was a relatively close battle to the end, with Verstappen finishing about two seconds ahead of Hamilton to secure his 50th race victory in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship

Although he was pleased with the result, Verstappen said that he wasn’t as comfortable with the car as he had been during the sprint sessions, with brake troubles and less of a pace advantage to his competitors. 

“It feels incredible to win my 50th Grand Prix here in Austin, I’m very proud of course but I want to keep pushing for more. Starting in P6 today was interesting, I worked my way slowly through to the front.

“We didn’t have a massive pace advantage today and I was struggling with my brakes. I didn’t have the same feeling in the car as I did yesterday so that made the race much tougher than anticipated. You could see it was very close at the end and there too. We had to rely on the strategy today and the Team did a great job with that.”

“I wanted more for today, obviously” – Sergio Pérez

Team-mate Sergio Pérez finished fourth in the United States Grand Prix, moving up a spot due to Hamilton’s disqualification. The Mexican driver wasn’t satisfied with the race’s outcome, and said that overtaking was tricky in the conditions of Circuit of the Americas.

“I wanted more for today, obviously. At times we had really good pace, but we are still lacking that consistency. It was a hard race, the Ferrari seemed to have improved, but I also think we made a good step from yesterday. It was quite difficult to overtake, especially because the exit of turn 11 was quite tricky as it was very windy and rough over there.”

Pérez said that he and the team should review their performance on the strategy front to take a look at missed opportunities to undercut, but feels “optimistic” moving forward with what the team learned in Austin. 

“We had a few occasions where we could have undercut people, so I think we need to review that as a Team. I think we know what we did wrong across the weekend, so we are really optimistic going into future races.”

With his home Mexican Grand Prix next on the schedule, Pérez is excited for the week ahead and will look to make a step up in pace and consistency. 

“We need to make sure we learn from this weekend as there are some good understandings to make for Mexico. There is a bit more pace in there and I am massively looking forward to my home Grand Prix.”

Credit: Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool