Max Verstappen eased away from Lewis Hamilton to take a routine victory in Formula 1’s United States Grand Prix sprint race at Austin.
Verstappen put a heavy defensive squeeze on front row partner Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari off the line, with Hamilton taking advantage to claim second despite a big twitch as he ran over the kerbs on the plunge out of Turn 1.
Initially Hamilton was able to stay within DRS range of the leading Red Bull, but then Verstappen broke clear to win by nine seconds.
Leclerc came under a little early pressure from team-mate Carlos Sainz, who was the only driver in the field to start on soft tyres, not mediums.
As Sainz’s tyres began to fade, he had to switch to defensive mode and dropped back to sixth.
Lando Norris and Sergio Perez managed to pass Sainz and claimed fourth and fifth, but George Russell couldn’t get around the Ferrari.
And that proved doubly costly as Russell had been given a five-second time penalty for going off the road to overtake Oscar Piastri when the McLaren lost momentum after being passed by Perez.
Getting stuck behind Sainz meant Russell couldn’t pull enough of a gap to Pierre Gasly behind to avoid losing seventh to the Alpine when the 5s penalty was applied at the flag.
Fifth-place qualifier Piastri banged wheels with Sainz off the line and had no race pace, falling right back to 10th behind Alex Albon’s Williams.
Daniel Ricciardo finished 12th for AlphaTauri in his first race since his Zandvoort hand injury, losing places on lap one from 10th on the grid but regaining one when he overtook Lance Stroll around the outside of Turn 1.
Stroll later retired, reporting more brake problems. His Aston Martin team-mate Fernando Alonso ran wide on the first lap and finished only 13th.
Sprint Race Results