What the teams said - Race day in the United States
Verstappen was side by side with Hamilton into Turn 1 and wound up running wide to see his rival take the lead. But he kept his cool, undercut the Mercedes in the first round of pit stops and did so again second time around. That gave him track position, but meant he had a much more freshly shod Hamilton chasing him down. But with no mistakes or lock ups, Verstappen managed his tyres to perfection to keep just enough rubber with which to defend on the final lap. As well as psychological blow, the win here doubles his championship lead. Perez had a quieter race in terms of action, driving home to a lonely third – but it was a physically tough afternoon for the Mexican, who was without a drinks system for the entire race.
READ MORE: ‘The whole race, the pressure was on’ – Verstappen explains how he held off hard-charging Hamilton to win in Austin
Max Verstappen, 1st
“It was an exciting race and it feels incredible to win here in front of all the fans. The pressure was on for the whole race and not knowing how quickly Lewis would catch up. I actually thought I had a decent start, but Lewis had an even better one. So we went for an aggressive strategy after losing the lead into turn one and we pitted early in the first stint. Then for the middle stint we were in that undercut range, so we had to respond and we went for track position which made the last stint very long, especially in this heat. The last two laps were definitely difficult on the tyres, there wasn’t much grip left. But, then with two laps to go, I had the Haas in front of me and I was able to benefit from the DRS, so we managed to hang on in the end. We definitely gave it our all today as a Team and it was great to have Checo up there with me on the podium.”
Sergio Perez, 3rd
“That was the hardest and longest race of my life. I wasn’t feeling great before the race and then my drinks system stopped working on the first lap and with the hot weather today it was very physical and a pretty tough afternoon. I was struggling massively and by lap 20 I was done, so it was a shame I couldn’t keep up with Max and Lewis but there are a lot of positives to take from this weekend and back to back podiums are always nice. It’s a good result for the Team, the undercut worked well and Lewis had no option but to cover me which helped Max out in front, so we can be very happy as a Team. I’m so looking forward to Mexico, the Team have done well there in the past and I think we’ll have a good package for my home race. I can’t wait and I hope to be on the podium again in front of my home fans.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal
“What an incredible victory and double podium for the Team! It’s our first US GP win since 2013 and what a way to do it. At the beginning of the race we had really good pace on the mediums and Max was able to put pressure on Lewis, but we know that he is so strong at the end of the race and he went long which bought himself an advantage. So we went for track position and Max held on and managed the race superbly, especially his last stint on the hard tyre to have enough left to keep his lead at the end. It was a tough race for Checo with no drinks system, but again the way he managed the race was fantastic and you can see him growing in confidence with his second podium in consecutive races. He produced a phenomenal drive and with his home race coming up he’s finding his form, which is crucial for us at this time of year. It’s five to go now, and we know that there are a couple of races where Mercedes will have the edge and a couple where we will be strong, so the rest of the season is going to be really tight.”
Hamilton had the dream start, and managed to pick off his rival in the first corner. But he was unable to build any sort of lead after struggling on the medium tyres. An aggressive strategy by Red Bull saw Hamilton conceding track position late on for fresher tyres, and he soon closed down Verstappen out front. But he just couldn’t find a way past on the last couple of laps, coming home just over one agonising second behind. Bottas likewise struggled to overtake in the hot conditions, but did make his way from ninth on the grid to sixth, helped by a bold, last-lap move on Sainz.
READ MORE: ‘We gave it everything and they were just quicker’ says Hamilton after losing out to Verstappen
Lewis Hamilton, 2nd
"Firstly, congratulations to Max, he did a brilliant job today. And also, a big thank you to the amazing crowd we've had in Austin all weekend, to perform in front of such packed grandstands and passionate fans has been a real honour. I really thought for a second we might be able to win, I gave it absolutely everything out there. It was such a tough race, but unfortunately, we couldn't convert it. Red Bull just had the upper hand, and we couldn't match them. It looked like they had a better and more stable rear end on their car, with less sliding. The start was obviously great and closing the gap towards the end, but I got into the dirty air and the tyres overheated in the last few laps. Thank you to the team for amazing pit stops and so much hard work over the weekend. We didn't quite get it this time, but we'll move onto the next one."
Valtteri Bottas, 6th
"It was a pretty uneventful race for me, we tried the best we could, but it wasn't easy to fight through the field. Making progress was difficult and we knew it would be, because of the temperatures here and the characteristics of the track. In the first stint I got stuck behind the Alpha Tauri's and that cost me quite a lot of time. Once I was behind slower cars, the pace difference wasn't quite big enough to make passes easily. There weren't any Safety Cars or other situations for us to make the most of, but with the grid penalty and where we started, I'm not sure what more we could have done. Not the strongest weekend for us, but in free air the car felt good and there are plenty of learnings we can take forward as a team."
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"This really was a race of interesting strategic games and great battles. We thought we had a sniff at the victory with Lewis and he put in a brilliant charge in the final laps, but in the end it wasn't enough. In the first stint, the car wasn't quick enough on the Medium and then Red Bull went for a super-aggressive first stop, before covering it the second time. We thought our offset strategy, going longer, would be enough at the end to get them, but the moment you get within touching distance of the car in front, it makes it very difficult to make a move. In the end, we were close, but not close enough, so Red Bull deserved to win today. For Valtteri, he also struggled with overtaking and moving through the field, but we used the longer stints to make up some places and he put in a strong move on Sainz on the penultimate lap to take sixth. It's not the weekend we hoped for, but we know there are still many opportunities to come. We are right there, we are in the fight and we're enjoying the battle. So, let's see what the next one brings."
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
"A frustrating day but we've not been strong enough here and whilst the win wasn't miles out of our reach, we weren't good enough in qualifying on Saturday and we weren't good enough on the Medium tyre in the first stint. Added to that, Valtteri's penalty meant he wasn't in the fight at the front and strategically that made our life more difficult. We understand a few of the issues that have cost us a bit of pace here, but there are others that we've not yet got to the bottom of, so that's something we need to make progress with ahead of the remaining races. We can't be anything other than disappointed when we've lost a chunk of points in both Championships but there is still a long way to go, and we've been in a worse position earlier in the Championship and pulled it back. We've got a bit of time to regroup before the triple header and prepare for the races ahead; getting the most out of the car over the next five tracks is going to be key to retaining the titles so we will be working hard in the next few days to do just that."
Leclerc got off the line well and was away, with enough pace to keep comfortably ahead of the chasing pack, but not enough to really challenge Perez ahead for the final podium spot. Sainz though had a much harder afternoon. He lost out to Ricciardo at the start, was forced to pit early to get rid of his soft compound tyres, and from there had to work to close down Ricciardo ahead. That he did and the two even banged wheels but he couldn’t find a way past, then falling prey to a recovering Bottas on the final lap to lose out on sixth.
Charles Leclerc, 4th
"What a race. It was definitely one of the most physical drives of my career. The rear was moving quite a lot and temperatures were high throughout. I am satisfied with my personal performance. I don’t think that I left much on the table today and I really pushed the car to its limit on every lap. Our pace was a positive surprise. Although we are mostly focusing on 2022, the few upgrades we have brought this year have allowed us to make some important steps forward. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone back home in Maranello at our factory as well as at the track for all the hard work they have put in. This weekend the result of their efforts has shown. Being back in the United States has been great and it’s been a real pleasure to race on this amazing track again. Next up is Mexico, which I am also very excited for. The track there should suit our car fairly well and we will push to continue on this positive trajectory."
Carlos Sainz, 7th
"It was a frustrating race for me because we had the pace to finish P5 but things didn’t go our way today. I had to fight with both McLarens on lap 1. It was an intense battle, with cars switching positions a lot, and in the end I let Ricciardo by thinking it was Lando. In the second stint, I was soon behind Daniel: we went for the undercut and it would have worked very nicely, overtaking him and having clean air behind Charles, but unfortunately we had a slow pit-stop and I was again stuck behind Daniel. I damaged my tyres trying different lines to pass him and eventually that allowed Bottas to catch us at the end. I’m frustrated because the result did not live up to the potential of our package and I just hope our luck changes a bit after two consecutive races with unfortunate stops. On the positive side, the feeling with the car was good, so we’ll carry that into the upcoming triple header."
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal
"We leave Austin having demonstrated, both in qualifying and in the race, that we have made progress even on a track that, on paper, is not particularly suited to our car. However, there’s some disappointment, because we did not do as well as we could have done, with the mistake at Carlos’ second pit stop costing him two places. We have always said we must use this season to make progress, because only if we are perfect in every area can we aspire to the higher echelons and we saw the importance of that again today. One slip up in what was overall a good weekend has cost us valuable points.
"Charles and Carlos were excellent today and in this part of the season, the performance of the SF21 has improved, partly thanks to the introduction of the new hybrid system. I believe we can fight for third place all the way to the end and that we have everything in place to achieve that."
Ricciardo clearly loves this place and his enthusiasm translated to speed out on track. A brilliant start saw him trade places with Sainz three times on the first lap alone, and the two once again came to blows after the second round of pit stops. But the Aussie’s defence was superb and he kept the quicker Ferrari at bay to come home a brilliant fifth. As for Norris, he briefly held onto the back of the Sainz-Ricciardo fight, but lost out to Bottas and from there drove sensibly to bring home a handful of points for the team.
READ MORE: ‘A strong defence’ was needed says Ricciardo after contact in battle with Sainz at COTA
Daniel Ricciardo, 5th
“I’m really happy. We weren’t quicker than the Ferraris, so I’m happy to beat one of them. I had to defend pretty hard for a few laps there, so I’m happy to have held him off. It was a tricky race. I was fighting quite a bit to hold what I had, but I think on paper fifth is really good. It’s good points. We stole a little bit from Carlos [Sainz], and Valtteri [Bottas] got him at the end, so that was a bit of damage limitation. We’ll come back in Mexico and hopefully have a bit more to show against them. The fans were awesome, the crowd was sick, hopefully they enjoyed it.”
Lando Norris, 8th
"A very difficult race today. The wind conditions and the temperature made it very difficult to look after the tyres, so that meant we struggled quite a bit with pace compared to the Ferraris, who were strong today. I also think there were some areas I could've done better, including defending on some moves. The start was pretty exciting but we just weren't able to stay ahead of the Ferraris in front. So, not a great day today, but we'll pick ourselves up and look forward to Mexico. I just want to get back in the car already and keep working hard to make some progress in our championship battle."
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal
“P5 and P8 today here at COTA was pretty much everything that was on the table. We were fighting a very strong Ferrari team this weekend and did well to get ahead of at least one of them and retain P3 in the Constructors’ Championship. A strong race for Daniel today, getting past Carlos [Sainz] on the first lap and then soaking up enormous pressure all the way to the flag. With Lando not making up any positions at the beginning of the race, it became a difficult one for him, but he stayed right there in the hunt all the way to the line. Good job from everyone at the track this weekend who’ve put in long hours in hot conditions, well supported, as always, by everyone back at the factory and our colleagues at Mercedes HPP.
“It’s been a very busy week for us in Austin. We’ve had a series of great events with our partners, sponsors and guests, and really enjoyed a fabulous atmosphere at a packed and lively COTA, filled with brilliant, enthusiastic fans. We’ll go home now, regroup and analyse the race to see how we might get even more out of this package when we come back across the Atlantic for the Mexican Grand Prix.”
AlphaTauri were under pressure before the lights went out, with a sensor issues detected on Gasly’s car and only just managing to be fixed in time for the start. But in the end it was to no avail when he had to retire anyway in the early stages. As for Tsunoda, this might be his best drive yet. He navigated the bumpy, tricky track and didn’t put a foot wrong on his way to a very assured P9.
Pierre Gasly, DNF
“Unfortunately, we had a suspension problem today, that forced us to retire the car. At the moment we don’t know the real cause, so we’ll have to go away and investigate this. It’s very frustrating because we know every point counts at this stage in our midfield battle. It would’ve been really good to go until the end of this race, as the atmosphere has been incredible this weekend, right from the very beginning, so it’s a shame to not be seeing the chequered flag.”
Yuki Tsunoda, 9th
“It’s been a good day, I’ve managed to score some important points for the team in the championship, so I’m really happy with that. It was really tough out there as it was so hot! It wasn’t easy starting on the soft tyre, as I had a different strategy to everyone around me, but it meant that I had the advantage on the opening lap, and I tried to make the most of it. The pace today was quite good, so I’m pleased to be coming away with points.”
Jody Egginton, Technical Director
“Today we’ve had a fantastic, well-deserved points finish for Yuki. He managed his race well, making good use of the soft tyre in the first stint and then managing both sets of the Hards to maintain his track position and score points. Frustratingly, Pierre had what looks like a suspension issue, which meant that we had to retire his car. This is something we need to ensure we have understood and resolved ahead of the next race. It cost us some crucial points, which is unfortunate for Pierre and the team. Overall, the package has shown a good level of performance here in Austin, so the objective is to continue this form and keep the pressure on for fifth in the Constructors Championship.”
Stroll was in the thick of the action at the start, tipped into a spin by Latifi through no fault of his own. That compromised his race no end, and he did well to recover to 12th. As for Vettel, he kept out of trouble at the start and ran a long first and second stint to make his way to the fringes of the points. A late spin for Raikkonen promoted the German to P10 and he picked up the last point on offer.
Sebastian Vettel, 10th
“We only scored one point today and we had to fight hard. It was a good recovery after the grid penalty yesterday and when we were in clean air the pace was good. As we expected, it was a difficult race for everybody trying to manage the tyres with the hot track temperatures. I was happy when everybody pitted quite early because we knew we would have a chance by running longer. It gave us fresher tyres at the end, when it mattered, so we could move up into the top 10. It was a good strategy by the team. With a couple more laps, we would have caught [Yuki] Tsunoda, but, from where we started, I think scoring a point is a good result.”
Lance Stroll, 12th
“It was not our weekend. After yesterday’s qualifying, where we were affected by the yellow flags, I was hit at Turn One on the very first lap today. The contact dropped me to the back of the field and I picked up a significant amount of damage on the front wing. It cost us some performance, but we still managed to fight our way up the field. However, points were just out of reach in the end. It is a race to forget, and we will move on and look to come back stronger in Mexico.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal & CEO
“Lance was the innocent victim of a clumsy lunge by [Nicolas] Latifi at Turn 1 on the opening lap, which relegated him to P19 and caused damage to his front wing. From there, although he passed both the Haas cars on lap two, he was never going to be able to recover to a points-scoring position; he did his best and ended up 12th. Sebastian got off to a clean start and was running 12th, just ahead of Lance, for much of the last third of the race. On lap 52 he passed [Antonio] Giovinazzi for 11th, a well executed move, and that became 10th on the next lap when Kimi [Räikkönen] ran wide ahead of him. A solitary World Championship point was scant reward for a fine drive, but our strategists made the right call to go for comparatively late first pit stops and we maximised all the opportunities available to us.”
The Alfa boys certainly entertained out there, but ultimately came home pointless. Raikkonen was the first to slug it out with Alonso, banging wheels and losing some of his rear wing as he was forced off track by the Alpine. Then came Giovinazzi’s turn as he swapped places with the Spaniard multiple times across a very enthralling two-lap period. It looked like it might be their day with Raikkonen in P10 in the closing stages but the Finn spun of his own accord to miss out on points.
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Kimi Raikkonen, 13th
“The car felt really good, especially in the first part of the race, and we were able to fight in the top 10. Unfortunately, at the start of the second stint I had a clash with Alonso and I got some floor damage: it didn’t really affect the balance of the car, but we seemed to run out of tyres a lot quicker afterwards. By the end of the race, I didn’t really have much rears left just as I tried to push hard to stay ahead of Sebastian [Vettel]. It is a shame not to bring home any point today: we always seem to be there or thereabout but it wasn’t to be this time.”
Antonio Giovinazzi, 11th
“It was a good race, with some nice fights along the way, in particular with Fernando [Alonso]. I tried to hold him back as much as I could but in the end he was just faster: still, it is nice to be fighting with someone like him, a world champion. We went once again very close to the points, and probably the second stint is where we missed out as we couldn’t get those tyres to work well. We did a good work as a team, swapping places when Kimi when he could push more in that part of the race, and that very nearly paid off.”
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
“The team would have deserved at least a point after a good race, and it’s obviously disappointing to see it slip from our hands so close to the chequered flag. We fought from lights to the line in the top ten or just outside it and this is very encouraging, even though in the end we have nothing to show it: we’ve been in this fight in the last few races and there is no reason to think we shouldn’t be there until the end of the season. Hopefully, we will be able to convert some of these chances into points as the pace is there to do a good job.”
Ocon had to pit early on for a new front wing after being clipped at the start by an Alfa, which compromised his afternoon. Running outside the points, he was pulled into the pits and retired with mechanical issues. That left Alonso to fly the flag and he was doing his best, involved in not one but two entertaining battles with the Alfa pair which included some off track passes, some irate radio messages and some interesting calls to Race Control. But after lighting up the midfield fight, he too retired with rear wing damage.
READ MORE: ‘I nearly crashed’ – Alonso on why he retired in Austin, and THAT battle with Raikkonen
Esteban Ocon, DNF
“It was a tough day for us as a team with both Fernando and I retiring. We suspected we had a problem with the rear of the car and that’s why we retired towards the end of the race. Our afternoon was compromised early on with the contact with an Alfa Romeo on the first lap through sector one. The car felt okay, but we had to pit as there was front wing damage and from there it was a difficult race. It’s not an easy one to take, but the important thing now is that we reflect and recover as a team. The aim is to come back stronger for the next run of races.”
Fernando Alonso, DNF
“It was an unfortunate end to today and overall a challenging weekend for us. Our race was quite good considering we started from the back of the grid. We were heading towards a possible top 10 finish after a few back and forth battles with the Alfa Romeos and Aston Martins. There were some incidents that perhaps we need to look at. Two of them were penalised and one was not. As we were pushing towards the end of the race the rear wing broke on the penultimate corner and I looked in the mirror and it was visibly damaged, so we had to retire the car. We need to analyse it because at the moment we’re not sure why it happened.”
Marcin Budkowski, Executive Director
“In summary, it’s a race to forget for us. Pretty much everything that could go wrong did go wrong during this weekend. Esteban started in eleventh position on the Mediums and scoring a few points seemed a very achievable target. Unfortunately, he was hit by Giovinazzi in the first lap and suffered front wing damage, which forced us to stop to change it. From that point onwards his race was heavily compromised. There was not much to fight for, and as we suspected a problem on the car we decided to retire him as a precaution. Fernando drove a brave race starting from the back and we tried everything to sneak into the top 10, pushing very hard and taking risks, and trying a different strategy to build a tyre advantage towards the end. As we were closing in rapidly on the cars in front, we had a rear wing issue that robbed us of an exciting finish. We come out of this weekend without any points, which concludes our series of fifteen consecutive points scoring finishes. We have lots to reflect and improve on after this weekend and we will be working hard ahead of the next batch of races.”
Latifi was involved in an incident at the start when he tagged Stroll ahead into a spin and then found himself blocked by the stricken Aston Martin. Replays show the Canadian had been squeezed on both sides by the Haas pair and left nowhere to go, but it compromised his afternoon. As for Russell, he made an electric start to jump up six places, but just didn’t have the pace to compete for the points today.
George Russell, 14th
"I had some good fun today but we didn’t really have the pace this weekend to challenge for the points paying positions. I made a good start and moved from P20 up to P14 but was then struggling to keep Fernando (Alonso) and Sebastian (Vettel) behind me. Once they were past it was a long, lonely race from then on in. It was a tricky weekend overall but none of our rivals scored any points so it’s onwards to Mexico."
Nicholas Latifi, 15th
"Unfortunately, my race came undone in the first corner. One of the Haas cars made a lunge up the inside, and I could tell I was going to become sandwiched. Sadly, I was in the middle of a pack of cars so there wasn’t much I could do as it was too late to back out. I picked up some front-wing damage and that meant I had to pit much earlier than we wanted to, so our second and third stints were then much longer than ideal. I think our pace was also impacted by trying to keep the tyres in the right window, which I’m sure was a challenge for everybody, so it was definitely a race to learn from."
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
"It was difficult today with the hot track and gusty conditions making the tyre management difficult. George had a good opening lap and showed good pace, especially on his first Prime set, but the short VSC hurt the tyre temperature. In the final stint, we were able to match Stroll’s pace and considering that we took a PU penalty, George’s finishing position was creditable.
"Nicholas was unfortunate at the first corner, losing places and damaging his front wing. We considered the damage from data and photographs and, with an opportunity to cover Ocon’s early stop, we decided to pit early and attempt an effective one-stop race using his two Prime tyres. Having lost track position early, the blue flags become an issue at crucial times during the race and hurt the tyres; catching back up with the field becomes very difficult. Once Ocon had retired, Nicholas was effectively in a lonely race with Haas, which he was able to manage comfortably to the end."
Haas didn’t expect overly much at their home race this year, so bringing two cars home in one piece with mercifully no intra-team squabbles can be counted as a success. Schumacher played a somewhat unwitting pivotal role in being lapped by the leaders on the penultimate lap, which led to Verstappen crucially having DRS with which to defend from Hamilton. But other than that, it was a quiet day for the American outfit.
Mick Schumacher, 16th
“It was fun – I enjoyed it. Overall, we expected worse so we’re happy with what we managed to do with the package we had. I had some tight battles, especially at the start and we were right in the mix, and all of those things are preparing me for next year. We were catching up to Latifi in the last few laps and I think with five more laps we probably would’ve been close enough to make a move. I really enjoy being in the States and the fans are great spectators – I’ve loved racing in front of them.”
Nikita Mazepin, 17th
“Unfortunately, it wasn’t very busy because at Turn 2 on the opening lap the headrest came off in my car. It was quite a sketchy lap because my headrest lifted and blocked both of my mirrors. I had to ask the team if there was anyone around me, hoping there wasn’t because I couldn’t know where to turn in or not, and then that’s over 25 seconds of race time for an unnecessary pit stop. It made it pretty difficult from there onwards as I was driving on my own and trying to make one pit stop work, but with these temperatures and these tyres, it was just not possible.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“It was a great event for Formula 1 in Austin - the fans were fantastic. Our race was much of the same as the rest of this year, but we don’t give up. The drivers got the cars home safe and we did a lot of learning, and that’s the best we can do this year. We have five more to go and we keep working towards 2022.”
Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing
"Tyre wear was high as we expected on this hot and abrasive circuit, which led to nearly everyone choosing the medium to start the race on and then focussing on the hard as the main race tyre. This stood up extremely well to the demands on it, with some long stints that helped to set up a thrilling finale to this race between the championship protagonists. Both Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton had exactly the same tyre allocation left before the race but used it in very different ways, with Hamilton making the most of his younger tyres at the end, and Verstappen capitalising on the track position gained by his 'undercuts'. The result was a fantastic strategic duel that led to a thrilling finale between two drivers absolutely on top of their game, managing their tyres perfectly."
RACE HIGHLIGHTS: See all the key moments from the US Grand Prix in Austin