July 23, 2024

F1 stars Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton renewed their rivalry in the United States Grand Prix Sprint race as the Mercedes star pushed his Red Bull opposite number as hard as he could
Lewis Hamilton felt Max Verstappen was using more of the track than is allowed as they battled in the United States Grand Prix Sprint.

Verstappen started the short-form race on pole with Charles Leclerc just behind him. He saw off the challenge of the Ferrari racer with some aggressive defending off the line, but soon a new threat emerged in the form of his old Formula 1 rival.

Hamilton swept past Leclerc and was all over Verstappen for several laps. He was unable to find a way past, but the seven-time world champion felt that was because his Red Bull counterpart was taking liberties with track limits.

“Max went off the track several times,” the Mercedes driver reported on the radio, clearly trying to attract the attention of race management with his accusation. But no investigation was carried out against the race leader.

And finally, Verstappen was able to go beyond Mercedes’ DRS range. From that point on, he accelerated and never looked back, eventually winning the 19-lap sprint in a time of 9.4 seconds.

He then insisted he could have started much earlier if he wanted, but insisted he was managing his tires to allow Hamilton to maintain an impressive gap.
“It was quite tight but luckily there was a lot of space before turn 1 so that really helped,” Verstappen said of his first defense against Leclerc. “Then we can do our own race, control the pace a little bit and have a little bit of fun at the finish line, try a little bit harder.

“It’s always eight or nine tenths [seconds] between him and Hamilton] for a few laps so things could be controlled in the braking zone. But DRS with such big wings is quite strong here. When I passed the DRS [window] we all found our own pace and I think the Car’s pace was very good today.”

Verstappen will have to work a little harder to repeat the result results in the main Grand Prix. He starts sixth on the grid after his pole lap was deleted in qualifying for a track limits violation, and so he will have to overtake if he is to record a remarkable 15th win from just 18 races so far in 2023.

And he made it clear that is his target, even if he already has the title sewn up. The Dutchman added:
“Starting sixth tomorrow will be different to today, but it makes it interesting and hopefully we can have fun. But, of course, I want to win.”

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