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Max Verstappen Secures 50th Career Win, Hamilton and Leclerc Disqualified


Max Verstappen celebrates after winning at COTA.
With his 50th Grand Prix victory, Max Verstappen is one win away from tying Alain Prost. (Photo: Chris Graythen | Getty Images)

AUSTIN, Texas - Max Verstappen's domination in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship continued in the Lone Star State as the Oracle Red Bull Racing driver earned his 50th career Grand Prix win at Circuit of The Americas.


"It feels incredible to win my 50th Grand Prix here in Austin," Verstappen said. "I'm very proud, of course, but I want to keep pushing for more. Starting in P6 today was interesting, I worked my way slowly through to the front. We didn't have a massive pace advantage today and I was struggling with my brakes.


"I didn't have the same feeling in the car as I did yesterday, so that made the race much tougher than anticipated. You could see it was very close at the end there. We had to rely on the strategy today and the team did a great job with that."


McLaren's Lando Norris overtook polesitter Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) to lead the field out of Turn 1. Norris maintained the lead, managing to put two seconds between him and Leclerc by Lap 2.


Further down the field, George Russell suffered the consequences of a poor start, falling from fifth to eighth on the first lap. His Mercedes teammate, Lewis Hamilton, lost a place to Ferrari's Carlos Sainz at the start.


However, several laps later Hamilton was able to regain the position with the help of DRS.


Verstappen started the race in sixth place after losing his fastest lap time during Q3, due to a violation of track limits. While being careful not to use up his tires, the Red Bull driver started a methodical ascent through the field.


On the fifth lap, Verstappen followed Hamilton’s example and utilized DRS to overtake Sainz.


Alpine's Esteban Ocon became the first driver to retire on Lap 7 after suffering side pod damage caused by first-lap contact with McLaren rookie Oscar Piastri. McLaren called Piastri in to retire soon afterward.


Continuing his measured charge through the field, Verstappen passed Leclerc for third on Lap 11.


On Lap 17, Verstappen pitted for a fresh set of medium tires. Norris pitted from the lead of the race and opted for a set of hard tires.


The Mercedes pit wall decided to leave Hamilton out on his expiring set of medium tires until Lap 20. This move caused Hamilton to emerge behind Verstappen.


Norris retained the lead of the race until Lap 28 when he was ultimately passed by Verstappen. Hamilton showed significant pace on the hard tire compound, closing the gap to Norris. By Lap 49, he passed Norris for second.


It became clear that Verstappen was struggling with the brakes on his Red Bull and Hamilton cut Verstappen's lead down significantly, within three seconds by Lap 54 of 56. In the end, Verstappen managed to hang on and secure F1 win No. 50 in front of the American crowd.


"Max was dealing with a brake issue throughout the race, as I’m sure you could hear," Team Principal Christian Horner said. "It was tough for him and I think his focus was largely on that, although he was able to overcome any issues and bring home the victory. His half-century. Another phenomenal achievement for Max."


Hamilton and Leclerc were disqualified from the United States Grand Prix after both cars failed the FIA’s post-race inspection. As a result, Norris inherited second and Sainz was promoted to third place and the final spot on the podium.


The disqualifications also helped American driver Logan Sargeant score his first-ever points finish in F1 as the Williams Racing driver got 10th place.

GRID RANKING

The 2023 GRID Ranking is the seventh year of the world's premier motorsport ranking and was initially released on Sunday, April 2.


Drivers in the seven racing series participating in the ranking (NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, Formula E, World Rally Championship, Repco Supercars, MotoGP) have earned GRID Ratings, which helped determine their seeding during Week 29 of the 2023 GRID Ranking.


GRID Ranking Week 30 Formula 1 Drivers:

​DRIVER

OLD RATING

PREVIOUS RANKING

MOST RECENT FINISH

NEW RATING

NEW RANKING

​Max Verstappen

22.96

1st

1st

23.05

1st

Sergio Perez

10.63

22nd

4th

​10.69

20th

​Lewis Hamilton

8.84

30th

​19th

​8.29

​32nd

Fernando Alonso

7.99

32nd

16th

​7.49

33rd

Carlos Sainz

7.14

34th

3rd

7.41

34th

Full results from the 2023 United States Grand Prix can be found here:

2023 United States Grand Prix Results.
(Photo: FIA)

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