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Lewis Hamilton cruelly denied first win of season as Brit overtaken by Max Verstappen late in thrilling USA Grand Prix

LEWIS HAMILTON came agonisingly close to winning a race for the first time this season.

The Mercedes man will have to wait to end his season-long duck as he was pipped to the chequered flag by Max Verstappen.

Max Verstappen did just enough to beat Lewis Hamilton in the United States GP
The Brit looked set to capitalise on a Red Bull error but had to settle for second

Verstappen – who equals F1’s record for the most win in a season with 13 – also helped his team wrap up an emotional constructors’ championship.

Hamilton pushed him to the wire and crossed the line five seconds behind the Dutchman meaning his barren run, which stretches back to last November, goes on.

The two rivals played out a thrilling final six laps, as both struggled to remain inside the while lines as they battled for position.

But it was Verstappen who crossed the line first, helping Red Bull to an emotional victory following the death of the energy drink’s co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner said: “Max Verstappen you are world champion, we are world champions. That one was for Dietrich, thanks for all you have done”.

The Austrian tycoon passed away on Saturday evening. He was 78 – plunging his team into mourning.

There were no black armbands. Instead, Red Bull’s staff wore blue jeans, as was the billionaire’s preference.

There was a one-minute applause as teams paid their respects before the race and the message “Danke Didi” was displayed on the screen.

Mateschitz discovered the Krating Daeng energy drink in 1984 when he was a travelling salesman working for a toothpaste company and transformed it into the global brand it is today.

His passing prompted Red Bull to suspend their ongoing discussion with F1’s governing body, the FIA, over their cost-cap breach which has dominated the news agenda for the past three races.

It means it will now rumble on into this week’s Mexican GP, against F1’s wishes given they want the matter resolved quickly as it has tarnished their sport.

Owners Liberty Media have been trying to grow F1’s popularity and a record crowd of 440,000 over the weekend show they are doing just that.

And they were treated to a first-lap smash as Verstappen was catapulted into the lead when pole-sitter Carlos Sainz was spun off by George Russell, earning the Mercedes man a five-second time penalty.

Verstappen set the pace but he was being pressed by Hamilton until the safety car was deployed on lap 18 when Valtteri Bottas spun off.

The race resumed at the end of lap 21 but only briefly as a big smash for Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso saw the safety car redeployed.

The Spaniard went into the rear of the Aston Martin, launching him into the air while Stroll’s wrecked car was spat out by the crash barrier and into oncoming traffic.

Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris both had narrow escapes as they missed the wreckage.


Once the mess was cleared up and the race restarted on lap 26, Verstappen still kept ahead of Hamilton but crucially he was not able to pull away.

For the first time in ages, the Mercedes man was able to keep up – and it paid off.

On lap 35, the Brit pitted for fresh tyres in what was a seamless synchronised stop for his Mercedes team.

Red Bull responded by calling in Verstappen a lap later but while their stops are routinely the quickest – and they are the pitstop record holders – a problem with the front left wheel resulted in a slow 11.1second pitstop.

The delay left their driver furious – “beautiful, f***ing beautiful!” he shouted over the radio as he was leapfrogged in the pecking order by Hamilton and Charles Leclerc.

Verstappen returned to the track in sixth and had his work cut out to reach Hamilton. Slowly he chipped away.

And with six laps to go, he was within a second of the Mercedes as he eyed up his prey.

He made his move at Turn 12, the two came incredibly close to banging wheels but he got the move done. He was back ahead.

But there was still drama as both were warned about exceeding the track limits, triggering potential penalties.

Yet Hamilton did not quite have the pace to mount a fight back as he crossed the line some five seconds behind, as Red Bull clinched their first team’s title in nine years.

Carlos Sainz spun on the first corner as Max Verstappen opened up a lead
The Dutchman crossed the line ahead of this rival
The Red Bull team celebrated in style in Texas
Ed Sheeran was among the A-list celebrities in attendance
F1 paid tribute to Red Bull chief Dietrich Mateschitz who passed away on Saturday

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