Verstappen wins 50th Grand Prix as Hamilton disqualified in USGP

Max Verstappen won his 50th GP on Sunday
Max Verstappen won his 50th GP on Sunday

Max Verstappen was made to work for his 50th Grand Prix victory on Sunday, taking the chequered flag in the USGP.

While he was made to sweat in the closing stages with brake issues and a charging Lewis Hamilton, the Red Bull Racing man held on to win his 15th GP of the season by a little over two seconds - though the Mercedes ace was later disqualified for illegal plank wear.

It was a double up for Verstappen too, after he won Saturday’s Sprint Race to further extend his championship lead - a title he already secured three races ago.

Starting sixth on the grid on Sunday, after his lap good enough for pole position was deleted for track limit violations, Verstappen showed his patience to work through the Ferrari pair of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, passing Hamilton when he pitted and early leader Lando Norris on track to take over at the front.

But with Hamilton closing late on with fresher medium tyres, Verstappen became frustrated over the radio with his brakes, but managed to hold on for his 50th win.

“It feels incredible to win my 50th Grand Prix here in Austin, I’m very proud of course but I want to keep pushing for more,” he said. “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 and there too.

“We had to rely on the strategy today and the team did a great job with that.”

Team-mate Sergio Perez recovered from a ninth place qualifying position to claim sixth spot over the line, promoted to fourth with Hamilton and Leclerc’s disqualifications.

He said: “I think we know what we did wrong across the weekend, so we are really optimistic going into future races. We need to make sure we learn from this weekend as there are some good understandings to make for Mexico.

“There is a bit more pace in there and I am massively looking forward to my home Grand Prix.”