Max Verstappen wins for 50th time, ties single-season record at US Grand Prix
FiredUp Network Sports Writer
Sunday, October 22, 2023
Photo Credit: FIA
In a season full of dominant performances, the US Grand Prix weekend was not one of those for Max Verstappen.
To start off, the Dutchman qualified sixth on Friday, creating a big workload for Sunday as it was. Add in the fact that McLaren, Mercedes, and to a smaller extent, Ferrari had much better pace than what's been shown most of the year, competition was tight.
But even despite this, Verstappen, in typical 2023 form, found a way to get it done.
After taking nearly half the race to get to the front, Verstappen made his move on the McLaren of Lando Norris into Turn 12 to take the lead, and the win of the US Grand Prix.
With the victory, Verstappen scored the 50th win of his career, putting him amongst the likes of Sebastian Vettel, Alain Prost, Michael Schumacher, and Lewis Hamilton in that exclusive club of 50-time winners. Perhaps more impressively, the Dutchman also tied his own all-time single-season wins record of 15, which he set last year, with four races still to go.
But, it wasn't all sunshine and roses for the Red Bull man in this race. Coupled with his sixth place start spot, and the solid pace of his competition, Verstappen also fought issues with his brakes for the second half of the race. He was heard shouting over the radio several times about them, and with that, his pace dropped.
That put him into the clutches of Hamilton, who finished under two seconds behind and was rapidly catching at the end.
The seven-time World Champion finished the Grand Prix in second, before he, and the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc were disqualified hours after the race for a technical violation involving excessive wear on the planks under their cars.
The DQ promoted the McLaren of Lando Norris to second, and Leclerc's teammate Carlos Sainz to third. Norris led the first half of the race, before he fell to Verstappen on Lap 28, and then Hamilton in the closing stages. Sainz meanwhile ran fifth all day, before his beneficial two-stop strategy got him past Leclerc, and then Hamilton after his post-race DQ.
Fourth was Sergio Perez in the other Red Bull, ahead of George Russell in fifth. Pierre Gasly was promoted to a respectable sixth, while Lance Stroll drove all the way from a pit lane start to finish seventh.
Behind him, Yuki Tsunoda brought his AlphaTauri home in eighth, while Alex Albon finished ninth, and his Williams teammate Logan Sargeant finished tenth. Sargeant scored the first point of his F1 career with his seat on the line, and also became the first American to score points on home soil in over 30 years.
Next up, Formula 1 heads to Mexico City in two weeks' time for the Mexican Grand Prix. Verstappen will have his first of four chances to break F1's single season wins record, while Hamilton will have his work cut out to continue his chase of Perez for second in the championship.