AUSTIN (KXAN) — The stage was set for an epic showdown between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at the Formula 1 Aramco United States Grand Prix.
Verstappen and Hamilton, No. 1 and No. 2 in the driver’s championship standings, started No. 1 and No. 2 in the starting lineup Sunday. Red Bull’s Verstappen held a six-point lead over seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) entering Sunday’s race at Circuit of the Americas.
We got our showdown with the top two drivers, battling back and forth over the course of the 56 laps.
Verstappen held off a late challenge from Hamilton down the stretch for his first U.S. Grand Prix victory, doubling his advantage in the driver’s standings with five races to go in the season.
Hamilton made a move quick.
He didn’t stay in second long, making a quick pass to overtake Verstappen right off the starting line. After two laps, Hamilton led Verstappen by .864 seconds.
Hamilton is extremely comfortable at Circuit of the Americas as a five-time winner at the U.S. Grand Prix.
Verstappen pitted for a fresh set of tires in lap 11, dropping from second to fifth in the race. Verstappen was able to make up the different quickly, moving past Charles Leclerc and teammate Sergio Perez for second.
The momentum swung to the Red Bull team when Lewis Hamilton pitted at lap 14, allowing Verstappen to gain the top spot in the race.
In a relatively quiet race, pit stops look to be the deciding factor as of lap 30 out of 56. Verstappen took his second pit of the day at lap 30, as Hamilton surges back into the lead at COTA.
As expected, Hamilton’s second pit stop of the day propels Verstappen back into the lead. It’s going to come down to the final 16 laps with Verstappen and Hamilton clear of the field and battling for the top of the podium.