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4 Things We Learned From The US Grand Prix

F1 Grand Prix of USA
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The 2021 Formula One Season is the gift that keeps on giving as the United States Grand Prix returned after its one-year hiatus, to deliver another epic installment of this fascinating championship battle. It was a riveting contest in Austin as Max Verstappen took the chequered flag after resisting late pressure from Lewis Hamilton, with Sergio Perez finishing in 3rd in front of 140,000 fans at the Circuit of the Americas.

There are only 12 points between the two rivals as we head into the final 5 races of the season, so here are four things we learned from the 2021 US Grand Prix.

1. The Championship Race is heading towards a crescendo


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The lead changed hands between Hamilton and Verstappen four times throughout the US Grand Prix in a race that mirrored what the 2021 season has been all about, with plenty of back and forth between the two title contenders. Hamilton pipped Verstappen from 2nd place on the grid in the run-up the hill to turn one, but Verstappen and Red Bull used the undercut to get ahead of the Mercedes after the first round of pit stops.

However, the scorching temperatures and the abrasive surface meant that it was always going to be a two-stop race and with Red Bull making an early second pitstop, it was Hamilton who had the edge with fresher tyres towards the end of the race. 

Hamilton narrowed the gap down to 1.8 seconds behind Verstappen by lap 49, but Max produced a masterclass in tyre management to prevent Lewis from entering the DRS range, thereby taking home the win and doubling his championship lead.

2. The Ferrari vs McLaren battle is heating up


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The Hamilton-Verstappen championship battle has attracted most of the headlines this season, but there is another fight that could be decided in Abu Dhabi as McLaren and Ferrari compete for 3rd spot in the constructors’ standings, and with it, millions of dollars in additional revenue. It was a four-way battle between the Ferrari’s and the McLaren’s on Sunday in Austin which included some wheel-to-wheel action between Sainz and Ricciardo, and with only 3.5 points separating the two teams heading into the final five races, this could be a battle that goes down to the wire.

3. Charles Leclerc is the real deal


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Once again, Charles Leclerc maximised the car’s potential at COTA on Sunday, driving a flawless race that saw him finish in P4. Leclerc was also only 10 seconds behind Perez at the Chequered Flag, which is incredibly impressive considering the speed differential between the two cars. 

This is Leclerc’s third P4 finish in his last four races and seventh P4 finish of the season, as the Ferrari driver has shown time and again in 2021 that he warrants the tag of a future F1 World Champion. Leclerc’s talents may be hidden by the performance of the Ferrari, but the Monegasque has actually enhanced his reputation over the last two years in a less competitive car and is in prime shape to show that he is a title contender once he gets the opportunity.

4. The Netflix effect on Formula One is undeniable


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Over 400,000 fans visited the United States Grand Prix throughout the weekend in Austin, making it the largest three-day crowd for an F1 race in history. While the close championship battle between Hamilton and Verstappen has elevated the sport’s popularity in the US, the primary reason for this growth in numbers has been the raging success of the Netflix documentary series – Drive to Survive.

Formula One’s social media engagements have soared 99% over the last year due to the Netflix show, and the United States has now become the biggest audience for the sport – with roughly one million people tuning in for each race – despite the absence of a US driver. Two US Grand Prix every season – INCOMING!!!


[Image Credit: Red Bull Content Pool]