Despite starting from sixth on the grid, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won the American Grand Prix and cinched his 50th race win of his career, entering the hall of fame alongside Vettel, Hamilton and Schumacher, amongst others.
It was yet again another Sprint weekend in the F1 calendar, with qualifying taking place on the Friday to make room for the Sprint Shootout and Sprint Race on the Saturday.
Friday’s qualifying session saw Charles Leclerc grab pole position for Sunday’s race, after Verstappen had his lap time deleted for exceeding track limits. Starting alongside him was Lando Norris, with Lewis Hamilton from third.
Surprisingly, Fernando Alonso did not manage to get out of the first round of qualifying, failing to make it into Q3 for the first time this year, with his race only resulting in further disappointment for the Spaniard. Home favourite Logan Sergeant also failed to make it out of Q1, however, Sunday’s race was one to remember.
Sunday’s race boasted an audience of over 425,000 viewers
Sprint Shootout saw Verstappen, Leclerc, and Hamilton start in the top 3, with Norris just behind in fourth. Norris, alongside Hamilton and Leclerc, looked like strong contenders to beat Verstappen in the Sprint race, however, the Dutchman would go on to win it all. At the start of the Sprint, Verstappen started well, while Leclerc and Hamilton battled it out for second; the Monegasque was quickly overtaken by the Brit.
However, whilst there was cheering from one side of the Mercedes garage, the other side was in despair as Russell was given a 5-second penalty for going off the track and gaining an advantage in his fight with the McLaren of Oscar Piastri; this put him in eighth place. Verstappen won the Sprint by almost 10 seconds on the seven-time World Champion.
Sunday’s race boasted an audience of over 425,000 viewers, and celebrities such as Elon Musk and Prince Harry were seen in the paddock. As soon as lights went out, Norris managed to overtake Leclerc in the first lap and led to race for 27 laps before being overtaken by Verstappen; Leclerc’s race only went downhill from there. Ferrari decided on a one-stop strategy for him which proved impractical as he was losing pace near the end of the race. He had to let teammate Carlos Sainz past, who then moved up to fourth place, leaving him vulnerable to Red Bull’s Sergio Perez; Leclerc eventually finished the race sixth.
The top three were Verstappen, Hamilton, and Norris.
After the race, Verstappen, Norris, Hamilton, and Leclerc’s cars were all chosen to undergo the “plank-wood” test which means that the plank of wood under the car needs to be a certain thickness to see how close the car drove to the ground.
Unfortunately for Hamilton and Leclerc, their cars failed the test which led to both being disqualified. Norris was promoted to second, and former teammate Sainz won the final trophy. These two disqualifications also meant that Logan Sergeant won his first race points – in his home country as well!
However, the race was also bad for Piastri and Ocon, as well as Alonso. After contact in the first few laps between Piastri and Ocon, both drivers retired their cars. Alonso also retired after complaining of rear suspension failure.
Following these disqualifications and points gained and lost, the gap between Mercedes and Ferrari has closed to about 20 points separating the two. With only four races remaining, both teams need to start earning more points if they want to finish second in the Constructors’ Championship.
In other news, Alpine announced new investors following Ryan Renyolds back in June. Names include LFC defender Trent Alexander-Arnold, pro-golfer Rory McIlroy and boxer Anthony Joshua amongst others.