United States Grand Prix: Verstappen finishes just 1.333s ahead of Hamilton to extend his championship lead

Max Verstappen won a spectacular duel with title rival Lewis Hamilton in the closing laps of the 2021 United States Grand Prix, with the championship leader Max extending his lead to 12 points.

Hamilton started second on the grid and did manage to get a much better start than Max, despite Max squeezing Lewis out as far as possible on the run-up to turn 1. Hamilton was able to take the lead from Max but he was unable to extend his lead by any significant amount.

Red Bull driver Verstappen opted to pit for hards on lap 11, while Hamilton pitted on lap 14, emerging a second behind Max Verstappen.

The second set of pit stops came when Verstappen once again opted to pit first, coming in on lap 29 for another set of hard tyres, with his teammate Perez following. Hamilton once again stayed out for longer, pitting on lap 37. This time he emerged 8.8s behind Verstappen, this is when the nail-biting charge for the chequered flag began.

Hamilton was told over the radio by Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff “We are racing for the win,” and “It’s all about the last three laps,”. And it was indeed all about the last three laps, as the gap to Verstappen didn’t start to fall until Lap 41 of 56 when the Verstappen encountered backmarkers. With 5 laps remaining, just 1.7s split the two front runners, with the gap falling below 1s as Verstappen waited for Mick Schumacher to let him by. Despite this, Verstappen always looked in control.

“Mick on the last lap cost us, but he also gave us DRS – he nearly gave me a heart attack as well,” Horner told Sky F1.

“But Max just managed to keep enough in hand and that was a classy, classy drive, a crucial drive.

“I think I’ve aged about 25 years in that race. I really didn’t think we could hang on at the end there because it was such a long stint and we were out of tyres after I last spoke to you – I didn’t want to give that away.

“For him to protect the tyres, hang in there and be quick where he needed to be, he deserves that victory today.”

Celebs at the United States Grand Prix

As with every Formula 1 Grand Prix in America, there was an impressive list of celebrity attendees including, Ben Stiller, Logan Paul, George Lucas, Rory McIlroy and Shaq O'Neal. 

Martin Brundle yet again had a few awkward celebrity encounters during his grid walk. As he attempted to talk to Megan Thee Stallion, a member of Megan's entourage told the F1 icon that he can't do that, he replied saying “I can do that, because I did.”

Brundle wandered further down the grid to find tennis star Serena Williams, “Venus (Williams) wasn’t that keen to talk to me five years ago, I don’t know if I’ll get a double fault or an ace.”

“Serena, are you good for a chat? Martin Brundle, British TV.” Brundle said.

Evaluating how the exchange went, Brundle admitted: “It’s a double fault, it’s a double fault.”

Many fans think that the VIP passes should at very least be given to celebrities who have an interest in the sport.

Unlike Megan and Serena, Ben Stiller was more than happy to chat to the F1 icon, explaining how he's a massive fan of the sport but, it's his and his son's first time at a Grand Prix and that he's amazed at the attention to detail.