F1 United States GP 2023: Oscar Piastri struggles in Sprint Race, Max Verstappen wins to set up Lewis Hamilton showdown

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Max Verstappen has claimed yet another Formula One victory in the Sprint Race at the United States Grand Prix on Sunday morning (AEDT).

Verstappen was fastest in the Sprint Shootout qualifying and cruised to victory in the Sprint ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

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The three-time world champion will start sixth for Monday’s United States Grand Prix after a rare mistake in qualifying cost him pole position for the race proper.

Hamilton will start third on the grid for the Grand Prix, setting up a mouthwatering showdown between the seven-time world champion and Verstappen.

It was a race to forget for Australian rookie Oscar Piastri, who started the Sprint in fifth but fell to 10th as his McLaren struggled on medium tyres.

Carlos Sainz made a fast start and made slight contact with Piastri on the opening straight.

Piastri got passed by Sergio Perez, Sainz, Pierre Gasly and George Russell — although the Mercedes driver was given a five-second penalty for overtaking Piastri when he was off the track.

Russell’s engineer told him: “We think you got pushed off first.”

To which Russell replied: “He (Piastri) just ran me off the road.”

Sky Sports commentator David Croft said of Piastri: “He’s having a real struggle out there this afternoon the McLaren.

“Piastri looks like a race car that just isn’t working on those medium tyres.”

Martin Brundle said he had “horrible race pace”.

But Piastri’s teammate Lando Norris showed solid race pace to finish fourth in promising signs for McLaren.

Piastri said afterwards: “Just didn’t really have the grip.

“I thought the pace in the first couple of laps was OK but just a lot of battling with the other cars around.

“I don’t know if the tyres were not so good after that or what the issue was.”

In his first race back from a broken hand, Daniel Ricciardo finished 12th in the Sprint and pulled off a nice overtake on Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll.

Brundle said on Sky Sports: “I think Daniel Ricciardo will be pleased with that drive.”

Norris will start the Grand Prix on the front row behind Leclerc, while Piastri will start from 10th.

The United States Grand Prix is scheduled to begin on Monday morning at 6am (AEDT).

United States GP Sprint Race results

1) Max Verstappen

2) Lewis Hamilton

3) Charles Leclerc

4) Lando Norris

5) Sergio Perez

6) Carlos Sainz

7) Pierre Gasly

8) George Russell

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