Max third in USA GP: 'We took the maximum out of it'

Published on 03 November 2019 by Kees-Jan Koster

Starting from third on the grid on the Circuit of the Americas, Max Verstappen finished on the podium after a strong race. Mercedes took with Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton P1 and P2, and the Brit secured the world championship. In a race which was continuously exciting, the top three finished within five seconds of each other.

“We took the maximum out of it, but Mercedes was just a bit quicker today”, says Max after his one-hundredth Formula 1 race. “I tried to stay close, just in case something happened. We had a very good race and I enjoyed it. I was able to see the competition driving in front of me and our speed was good.”

In the final phase of the race Max seemed to be able to try and take the second place from Hamilton. Max: “There was a yellow flag at the end of the straight, so I could not use DRS. Otherwise we may have ended in second position. Nevertheless, it was great to be at the podium.”

On the sixth world championship of Hamilton, Max says: “It is very impressive. He performs phenomenal and has a great team supporting him. Hopefully we can fight with them next year.”

When the red lights on the Circuit of the Americas go off, Max has a great start where he from third position Vettel passes and gets behind Bottas. Hamilton also has a good start and the Brit overtakes the Ferrari of Leclerc and not much later also Vettel. The German loses position to Norris and Ricciardo and is in seventh position after the first lap, while he started from second on the grid. Hamilton is third behind Verstappen.

Alexander Albon has contact with Carlos Sainz, causing damage on the Red Bull which forces him to make a pitstop, where the Thai changes to the medium tyres. The contact is judged as a racing incident.

In the eighth lap the Ferrari of Vettel breaks down, when his right rear suspension breaks off. He is forced to stop the car. Ricciardo manages to overtake Norris for P5. Leclerc who is in fourth position, cannot keep up with the top three.

Hamilton slowly catches up on Max and is in DRS distance in lap twelve. Two laps later Red Bull decides to get Max into the pits. The Dutchman changes from the medium to the hard compound and returns to the track in fourth position.

A lap later Bottas also stops, he also gets the hard compound on his car and gets back on track in front of Max. The Finn quickly overtakes Leclerc on his new tyres, and Max follows his example. Hamilton, who has not stopped yet, leads the Grand Prix in front of Bottas and Verstappen.

When Leclerc in lap 21 stops, the wheel gun is faltering and the Ferrari driver loses five seconds. Three laps later Bottas overtakes his teammate and resumes the lead. When Hamilton pits a lap later and changes to the hard tyre, Max is in second position. Hamilton, in P3, starts to close the gap of thirteen seconds to Verstappen.

Meanwhile Albon has a lot of catching up to do but halfway the race he is back in the points. From lap thirty Max reports that his left front tyre is worn-out and in L35 he makes his second pit stop, after which he returns on track in third position on the medium tyres. One lap later Bottas also changes to the mediums and the Mercedes gets back in second position, behind Hamilton who is on a one-stop strategy.

The question is if the tyres of the Brit will be good enough at the end of the race. Straight after the pit stop Bottas is ten seconds behind his teammate, while Max is five seconds behind Bottas.

Albon continues his advance and overtakes Ricciardo in lap 38 for P5, but makes another pit stop a couple of laps later. For the last part of the race he is on the soft compound and again advances to fifth position. Leclerc pits with another thirteen laps to go and also changes to the red tyre to complete the race.

Hamilton’s pace is such that Bottas and Verstappen closes in, but it takes up to lap 50 for the Finn to be in DRS distance of his teammate. A lap later Bottas tries to overtake, but his first attempt fails. Another lap later he tries again and overtakes Hamilton to take the lead.

Max keeps closing in on Hamilton and with one and a half lap to go, Max is within one second of Hamilton and is able to use DRS. Unfortunately Max does not get a chance, partly because of a yellow flag, and Verstappen finishes in third position, within a second of Hamilton and within five seconds of the winner Bottas. Thanks to finishing in second position Hamilton secures his sixth world championship.

Results Grand Prix United-states:

1Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes561:33:55.65325
2Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes56+4.148s18
3Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda56+5.002s15
4Charles LeclercLECFerrari56+52.239s13
5Alexander AlbonALBRed Bull Racing Honda56+78.038s10
6Daniel RicciardoRICRenault56+90.366s8
7Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Renault56+90.764s6
8Carlos SainzSAIMcLaren Renault55+1 lap4
9Nico HulkenbergHULRenault55+1 lap2
10Sergio PerezPERRacing Point BWT Mercedes55+1 lap1
11Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari55+1 lap0
12Daniil KvyatKVYScuderia Toro Rosso Honda55+1 lap0
13Lance StrollSTRRacing Point BWT Mercedes55+1 lap0
14Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari55+1 lap0
15Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari55+1 lap0
16Pierre GaslyGASScuderia Toro Rosso Honda54DNF0
17George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes54+2 laps0
18Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari52DNF0
0Robert KubicaKUBWilliams Mercedes31DNF0
0Sebastian VettelVETFerrari7DNF0