Narrow defeat at US Grand Prix fills Lewis Hamilton with hope for future wins
Max Verstappen’s poor pit stop on lap 35 of 56 at the Circuit of the Americas provided Hamilton with the chance to end a losing streak which stretches back to last year’s penultimate round in Saudi Arabia on December 5.
Verstappen trailed Hamilton by as many as seven seconds but after fighting his way past Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc with 15 laps to go, the double world champion moved in on his former Mercedes rival.
With six laps remaining, Hamilton’s silver mirrors were occupied by Verstappen’s fast-approaching Red Bull.
And on the 190mph approach to Turn 12, the Dutch driver launched a successful attack to deny Hamilton his first victory of the season.
With just three rounds – in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi – remaining, Hamilton, 37, is running out of time to ensure his record of winning at least one race in each campaign he has driven, remains intact.
The seven-time world champion said: “We came here with upgrades, we closed the gap a little bit and we were so, so close.
“I did everything I could to try and stay ahead but they were a little bit too quick today. A great strategy from us, and a great race from Red Bull.
“I am shattered. The car was a handful. It felt amazing to be in the lead. That is something we have been working so hard on as a team through the year.
“I held so much hope, but it is OK – we will hold on to that, keep pushing and try to give it everything in the next three races. It will come to us at some stage.”
This win is definitely dedicated to Dietrich and what he has done for everyone
Verstappen’s win came a day after Red Bull co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz’s death was announced.
The Austrian billionaire, who was 78, founded the fizzy drinks company in 1984 and entered Red Bull as an F1 team 21 years later.
“This win is definitely dedicated to Dietrich and what he has done for everyone,” said Verstappen.
Behind Verstappen, team-mate Sergio Perez finished fourth as Red Bull secured their first constructors’ championship since 2013 and fifth in all.
Verstappen won his second title in Japan a fortnight ago, but his party has been overshadowed here after Red Bull were found to have broken last year’s financial rules.
“It was all looking good, but the pit stop was longer than we would have liked and I had to find my way forward again,” said Verstappen after taking his 13th win of the year to equal the record number of victories set in one season by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.
“I had to give it everything and I pushed it to the limit to come back. You want to win the constructors’ title in style and we did that today.”
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