Max Verstappen clung onto victory at the US Grand Prix in Austin, extending his lead in the championship to 13 points.
Hamilton pulled off an early surprise when the reigning champion pushed down the inside, with Sergio Perez also competing with Verstappen, and the Brit took the early lead.
However Hamilton admitted that ‘he’s quicker than me right now’ regarding his rival and Red Bull were able to pit and attempt an undercut manoeuvre, leading him to take the lead after 14 laps.
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The Dutchman then went into the pits again after almost 30 laps, with the Briton following on lap 37, with a lead of just under nine seconds to have to whittle away, and then to successfully overtake if he wanted the win.
The lead before the race was six points between the pair, and the rivalry intensified as the pair both started to deliver personal bests in pursuit of the win.
With seven laps remaining, there were under two seconds between Hamilton, trailing, and Verstappen, looking to extend his lead to 13 points in the championship. Hamilton needed to maintain his car’s position as it was buffeted behind the leader, waiting for DRS to give him the boost he needed.
However Hamilton simply could not negotiate the dirty air well enough to get close to challenge.

DRIVER OF THE DAY - MAX VERSTAPPEN (RED BULL)

Both teams did their best for their drivers. Red Bull took a risk with their early undercut, and Mercedes were brave to leave it until the last to hope that Hamilton could spring a late attack. In the end, it was Red Bull who emerged victorious, and they have Verstappen to thank for having more than enough at the end to prevent Hamilton from ever quite getting close enough to be truly vulnerable. It could be a decisive victory.

Max Verstappen (Red Bull) - GP of United States of America 2021

Image credit: Getty Images

WHERE THE RACE WAS WON

Lap 1/56 - GO GO GO - Verstappen and Hamilton get away well, but Hamilton sends Verstappen wide with Perez pushing his teammate hard.
Lap 11/56 - Verstappen into the pits early - He's onto the hards, dropping behind Leclerc and Ricciardo.
Lap 16/56 - Verstappen in front - Vertsappen takes the lead on 14 laps after pulling off a successful undercut.
Lap 34/56 - Hamilton clear - Hamilton is now 14.5 seconds clear of Verstappen as he extends his advantage.
Lap 37/56 - Hamilton pits - He pits eight laps later than Verstappen,with 8.7 seconds to make up over 18 laps remaining. He has fresher tires, and if he gets close enough then DRS should take him to victory.
Lap 44/56 - The gap closes - Less than four seconds between the two, and there are no backmarkers between the pair. It is up to Verstappen to hold off this incoming challenge.

BEST OVERTAKE OF THE DAY

Lap 1/56 - Verstappen and Hamilton got away well, but Hamilton sent Verstappen wide with Perez pushing his teammate hard. He was ahead, with Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc, Daniel Ricciardo, and Lando Norris all bunched up. Ricciardo was up into fifth.

BEST PIT EXCHANGE OF THE DAY

Lap 7/56 - 'He's quicker than me right now' - Lewis Hamilton had an early, surprising lead from the first lap but he immediately recognised the Red Bull still had the pace to cause problems. Last season, Hamilton and his team almost always devised a way through, or had their driver’s guts and determination to see them past a huge challenge. This time they were never quite ruthless or close enough.
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