Formula One

Verstappen pushing Hamilton all the way this season

Riding a high: This season’s push by Max Verstappen has given F1 one of its most enthralling title races in years.   | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, like most of the F1 drivers in the paddock, has been on a whirlwind tour of the country ahead of this weekend’s U.S. Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas here.

The globetrotting series is back in North America for the first time since 2019 because the pandemic cancelled stops last year in Austin, Mexico City and Montreal.

Now back in Texas for a ninth time, F1 has a new championship leader in Verstappen who may be somewhat unknown to the American fanbase.

Also read: Lewis Hamilton interview | ‘Impacting youngsters is more rewarding than winning’

The 24-year-old is at last having a breakout season — he has a career-high seven wins so far — and is pushing Lewis Hamilton more than the seven-time champion has been challenged in quite some time.

Verstappen has a six-point lead over Hamilton with six races remaining in a tense title fight that has tilted back and forth all season.

This season’s push by Verstappen has given F1 one of its most enthralling title races in years. And yet Verstappen is a bit of a mystery in the U.S.

However, his focus only on what’s turned into a career-best season. “I’m just a normal guy and I grew up in a small town,” Verstappen said.

“All these things, the drama, it’s just not for me. It’s not my world.”

And yet this title fight with Hamilton has been packed with drama. The two have crashed twice so far this season. In their dust-up at Monza, the two raced wheel-to-wheel, made contact and Verstappen’s car sailed over Hamilton and landed on the Mercedes.

The edge

In Austin, he’ll be racing a circuit where Hamilton has a decided advantage. Hamilton has won five of the eight races held on the permanent road course, while Verstappen in five visits has scored two podiums and only finished ahead of Hamilton once, in 2018 when he edged Hamilton for second.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 11:53:40 PM |

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