Verstappen wins Austin sprint race

Newly-crowned world champion Max Verstappen added eight more points to his title-winning tally on Saturday when he cruised to victory for Red Bull in the sprint race at the United States Grand Prix. The 26-year-old Dutchman led unchallenged from pole position to chequered flag to finish 9.465 seconds clear of revitalised seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes. Charles Leclerc came home third for Ferrari, 17.997 adrift.

It was Verstappen’s third sprint race win of the season and buoyed his prospects for another triumph in Sunday’s Grand Prix race when he will start from sixth on the grid after having his best qualifying lap deleted for exceeding track limits.Lando Norris maintained McLaren’s much-improved form by taking a strong fourth place ahead of Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull and Carlos Sainz in the second Ferrari. Norris was less than a second behind Leclerc at the finish.

George Russell finished seventh in the second Mercedes, but he was relegated to eighth after taking a five-second penalty, thus elevating Pierre Gasly of Alpine to seventh.

“It was fun,” said Verstappen. “It was quite close at the first turn, but there was enough space and after that I ran my own race and controlled the pace. We had great race pace today which I will need tomorrow when I start from P6. There should be some passing to do and I hope to have some fun.” Hamilton said he was happy to be on the podium.

“I had a nice battle with Charles and tried to close on Max, but their pace is undeniable at the moment,” Hamilton said. We are getting closer, but there is a long way to go.”

Verstappen’s win boosted his total of points to 441, increasing his lead ahead of team-mate Perez, on 228 points, to 213 as he heads towards a record winning margin in the drivers’ title race.

After Friday’s exceptional late October heatwave, it was slightly cooler with an air temperature of 33 and a track temperature of 37 degrees Celsius as Verstappen pulled clear at the start.

Most of the grid chose to start on used medium tyres, retaining fresh sets for Sunday’s Grand Prix, but Sainz chose softs, the only driver to do so, and made use of their additional grip to climb to fourth on the first lap.

Russell also enjoyed a good start regaining the three places he had lost in the stewards’ office when he was penalised three grid spots for impeding Leclerc earlier in the sprint shootout. Hamilton also had a good start and snatched second from Leclerc on the outside of Turn One, running wide off-track as the Ferrari man recovered from an initial squeeze by Verstappen.

Russell rose to seventh by lap seven, when he was handed a five-second penalty for leaving the track as he overtook Piastri, while Verstappen simply powered 2.3 seconds clear in the lead.

After his stunning win for McLaren in Qatar’s sprint, Piastri struggled to keep pace and was 10th after 10 laps and was shown a waved black-and-white flag for exceeding track limits.

On the same lap, Sainz’s soft tyres began to fail and he was passed by Norris and Perez as he fell to sixth while Verstappen led Hamilton by 3.7 seconds. Leclerc was third, 3.6 adrift.

The champion remained unchallenged and was able to enjoy a cruise to the flag as Hamilton and Leclerc settled for second and third in a contest that offered little true spectacle for a big crowd at the Circuit of the Americas.

Source: eNCA

In other news – K Naomi shows off her expensive push baby gift

Keitumetse Naomi Noinyane, famously known as K Naomi shows off her baby push gift. Taking to social media on Sunday, the star shared a photo of her new Land Rover car, with a bouquet of rose flowers in it.

She pens a promise of love to her man whose name is Tshepo Phakathi, and further revealed the gift was for birthing their second child. Read more

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