Max Verstappen successfully matched Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher’s illustrious joint record of 13 wins in a single season, as the Dutchman battled incredibly hard to overtake Lewis Hamilton late on at the United States Grand Prix.
Starting from second, Verstappen made an excellent launch at the Circuit of the Americas and led the race out of the first corner, whilst Carlos Sainz was hit behind by George Russell.
The double World Champion rapidly settled into the race ahead of Hamilton, who was probably surprised to find himself behind Verstappen on a weekend where Mercedes have been comfortably behind the Austrians.
The gap quickly edged out to a few seconds, resulting in Hamilton attempting an undercut on the Dutchman, something that failed due to the Red Bull driver pitting the following lap.
Only a matter of laps after the pair had pitted for a set of Hard tyres, a Safety Car was released due to a beached Valtteri Bottas, who lost the rear at the penultimate corner.
Verstappen successfully restarted the race but was once again behind the Safety Car by the end of the first restarted lap, after a horrifying crash down the main straight between Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso saw the front of the Spaniard’s car rise into the air.
The recovery took several laps, understandably, with Verstappen once again mastering the restart.
The race took a massive twist on Lap 35, as Hamilton attempted a second undercut, with this one working a treat due to Verstappen having an awful pit-stop.
Verstappen incredibly dropped behind Hamilton by several seconds and Charles Leclerc, who had brilliantly recovered from his midfield starting position.
The 2022 title rivals duelled brilliantly, before Verstappen typically found his way past the Monegasque driver.
Red Bull’s number one then got to work hunting down Hamilton, who was remarkably looking in with a real chance of winning his first race of the season.
Verstappen finally caught Hamilton with just six laps remaining, as the imperious Dutchman dived to the inside of the seven-time World Champion at the end of the main straight, where Verstappen’s engineer was quick to complain about Hamilton’s defence to the new race leader.
“Looked like moving under braking,” said Verstappen’s engineer to the Dutchman.
Sky Sports commentator and ex-F1 driver Martin Brundle instantly explained that the pair left plenty of room, even if Hamilton had opted to naughtily move under-braking.
It was then down to the World Champion to bring his RB18 home for his 13th win of the season and also to claim the Constructors’ Championship for Red Bull.
Track limits were the crucial point in the final laps, as both Verstappen and Hamilton were just one excursion away from a five-second time penalty, something the 25-year-old was constantly warned about.
He safely brought home his second consecutive win at COTA, though, in a victory that was in honour of Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz, who died Saturday aged 78.