Former F1 driver Mika Hakkinen believes the battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen is “far from over” despite the Dutchman taking a 12-point lead into the final five races of the season.
Victory around the Circuit of the Americas saw Verstappen extend his lead over the Mercedes driver, as Red Bull look to secure their first title since 2013, and Verstappen’s first in single-seaters.
Yet, with Mercedes seemingly on the back foot heading towards the championship conclusion, Hakkinen believes we’ve not seen the end of this fierce rivalry.
“Both guys pushing incredibly hard all race,” said Hakkinen, writing for his Unibet column. “Running different two-stop strategies which meant that tyre usage was critical.
“Austin is hard on tyres, even the hard compound tyres need to be looked after, so the sensitivity of the driver is all-important.
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“It was so interesting to watch how the weekend developed. After first practice, it looked like Mercedes had a good advantage over the Red Bull-Hondas, although the world champions admitted their engines were turned up.
“As the track evolved and the effects of the bumpy circuit demanded some set-up changes the picture really changed.
“Max’s pole lap was a sign that he and his car really did have the pace needed to beat Mercedes, but Lewis made such a great start that the pole advantage was lost into Turn 1.