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Mercedes risk gifting title to Red Bull as F1 has lift off Stateside - What we learned at the USGP

Mercedes risk gifting title to Red Bull as F1 has lift off Stateside - What we learned at the USGP

F1 News

Mercedes risk gifting title to Red Bull as F1 has lift off Stateside - What we learned at the USGP

Mercedes risk gifting title to Red Bull as F1 has lift off Stateside - What we learned at the USGP

F1 was treated to a captivating spectacle as Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton duelled at the United States Grand Prix.

Verstappen took victory after a race-long battle with championship rival Hamilton filled with strategic intrigue and stunning driving with both the Red Bull and Mercedes being tested to the limit lap after lap.

Ferrari again looked to have the edge on McLaren in the race for third in the constructors' standings and with plenty of action over the weekend, here are five things we learned at COTA.

Verstappen and Hamilton at the top of their games

The performances from the two title contenders were akin to a world heavyweight boxing fight with the two best fighters slugging it out for the duration of the event leaving viewers on tenterhooks.

The gravity of the battle was such that even rival teams were tweeting their excitement at the battle that was brewing with Hamilton closing into his rival at the end of the race.

Hamilton had stolen the lead into turn one only for an aggressive pit strategy from Red Bull ultimately handing the initiative back to the Dutchman.

With Verstappen stopping early again at the end of stint two, Hamilton was given fresher tyres to mount an attack in the closing stages.

As is the case with this generation of F1 car though, the turbulent air seemingly saved Verstappen, although one cannot overlook the cunning tyre-saving performed by the championship leader to ensure he could still compete in the final five laps.

The gap between the two is now 12 points with five races to go. Enjoy this season while it lasts.

Mercedes reliability woes risk gifting Red Bull title

Valtteri Bottas was again forced out of the podium equation by a Mercedes engine penalty - the Finn's third in four races.

Team principal Toto Wolff conceded there is "no durability" in the power units, a statement that will cause some consternation back at Brixworth's High Performance Powertrains facility.

With Red Bull scoring double podiums in Turkey and Austin when Mercedes took grid drops at both, the healthy lead the Silver Arrows once had in the constructors' standings is threatened with a lightning-fast overhaul.

The more concerning thing for Mercedes is that Bottas' drop is unlikely to be the last.

Ferrari finiding strength at crticial time

Another fine weekend for Ferrari accentuated by a stellar drive from Charles Leclerc.

Fourth for the Monegasque further proved the boost provided by the introduction of an updated hybrid system, with a clear correlation between the timing of the upgrades and the improved performance of the SF21.

The weekend could have been better still had Carlos Sainz not endured a lengthy pit stop to allow McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo through. The gap between the two teams in the race for third in the constructors' standings now stands at just a point and a half.

The worry for McLaren is that for two races in succession, Ferrari has been the better package on both low and high fuel. What a time for the Italian outfit to turn up the wick.

Alonso and FIA saga rumbles on

Another weekend, another disagreement between Fernando Alonso and the FIA.

Alonso was disgruntled with Kimi Raikkonen's move on him being allowed to stick despite the Alfa Romeo leaving the track on the outside at turn one, although in fairness to the Finn, Alonso had squeezed him so much that contact was made.

When Alonso then made a move on the other Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi into turn 11 and ran wide, he was forced to cede position.

The Spaniard has already been ruffled by inconsistencies with decisions made by the FIA this season and Sunday will do little to calm him down.

The saga leaves the sport worryingly close to being brought into disrepute with constant bickering over stewards' decisions. Discussions must and will take place to ensure drivers and the FIA are on the same page.

USGP crowd proof of F1's growth under Liberty

A weekend attendance of 400,000 was registered at COTA for an event that felt like an awakening for F1 in the USA.

Hamilton said post-race that it felt like an "acceptance" into the country, and what a time to have that feeling.

It is a market the sport has attempted to crack for decades, with failings at Indianapolis with the Michelin tyre fiasco of 2005 only denting reputations.

Yet Austin has been a hit ever since joining the calendar in 2012 and with Netflix's 'Drive to Survive' series boosting popularity Stateside, such an audience across the weekend almost validated the decision to add a race in Miami in 2022.

Such is the market boost, a third US race is being touted for future seasons. Has F1 found the magic silver bullet? It seems so.

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