Max Verstappen led every lap to convert pole position into the Sprint race victory on Saturday at the United States Grand Prix.

The Dutchman resisted early pressure by Lewis Hamilton to comfortably earn a third Sprint success of the year, as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc completed the top three.

With the Circuit of the Americas layout placing a huge strain on the tyres, all but one driver elected to go with the Medium. The exception was Carlos Sainz, who opted for the Soft.

From the outset, Leclerc got a good launch away from the line, prompting Verstappen to instantly move across to squeeze the Ferrari to the inside. That allowed Hamilton to sweep around the outside of the Leclerc on the exit of Turn 1, despite the Briton running off the track.

While Leclerc slipped back, Sainz utilised his grippier rubber to beat Piastri at the start, then demoted Norris at the end of the back straight to end the first lap behind his team-mate.

Russell was also on the charge, managing to recover the three places that he had lost due to being penalised for impeding Leclerc during the earlier Sprint Shootout.

Perez began to apply pressure on Oscar Piastri, but the Australian rookie, winner in the Qatar Sprint last time out, pushed the Red Bull wide on the exit at Turn 12 to retain sixth place.

However, next time around Perez successfully nudged ahead on the exit of the same corner, capitalising on Piastri outbraking himself as he attempted to come back up the inside.

Logan Sargeant (USA) Williams Racing FW45 at the start of Sprint. 21.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, United States Grand Prix, Austin, Texas, USA, Sprint Day.

That misjudgement enabled Russell to pounce before Pierre Gasly executed a late lunge down the inside into Turn 1 on Lap 5 to demote the struggling Piastri out of the points.

But later on, the stewards adjudged that Russell had gained an advantage by overtaking Piastri off the track at Turn 15, earning him a five-second time penalty.

Meanwhile, at the front, Mercedes team-mate Hamilton was continuing to apply pressure on Verstappen, but the Dutchman eventually extended his lead beyond the vital 1s mark.

Sainz was beginning to suffer on his Soft tyre as early as Lap 7, enabling ex-McLaren team-mate Norris to lurk menacingly in the Spaniard’s mirrors.

The Ferrari racer, though, was continuing to stand firm in fourth position, which allowed Perez to swiftly accompany the battle behind the leading three cars.

Eventually, Norris made his way through into Turn 12 on Lap 10, followed by Perez the very next lap with a carbon copy move into the same corner.

Russell was the next to set his sights on Sainz, but his attempt to mount an overtake into Turn 1 on Lap 14 was robustly rebuffed by the Spaniard on the run to the Turn 2 kink.

Lance Stroll was running out of the points places and he became the Sprint’s sole retirement after encountering yet more brake trouble on his AMR23 car this weekend.

Verstappen took the chequered flag at the end of 19 laps 9s clear of Hamilton in the end, who was a further 8.5s clear of Leclerc in a lonely third.

Norris was made to rue being held at bay by Sainz for a prolonged period as his late charge wasn’t enough to yield another Sprint rostrum, falling narrowly short.

Behind Norris came Perez and Sainz, who valiantly resisted Russell’s advances to the end. Russell would drop behind Pierre Gasly with his penalty to eighth.

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