Max Verstappen holds off Lewis Hamilton to win U.S. Grand Prix

AUSTIN, Texas -- Max Verstappen held off title rival Lewis Hamilton in a nail-biting finish to the United States Grand Prix, securing his eighth win of the season and extending his lead in the drivers' standings to 12 points. 

The two championship contenders were engaged in a race-long battle for the win, with Hamilton taking the lead from Verstappen on the run up to Turn 1 before Red Bull regained the upper hand with a superior tyre strategy. 

Hamilton barged his way past Verstappen away from the start line, forcing the Red Bull driver wide at the top of the hill at Turn 1 to claim the lead on the opening lap.

But Verstappen remained close to Hamilton throughout the first stint of the race and retook first place when Red Bull executed an aggressive tyre strategy, pitting Verstappen as early as Lap 10 to gain an advantage from fresh tyres that Hamilton could not respond to.

Verstappen's teammate Sergio Perez, who finished third, played a small part in the result by pitting on Lap 12, forcing Hamilton to pit earlier than he had originally planned on Lap 13 at the risk of dropping behind both Red Bulls.

Max Verstappen chases down Lewis Hamilton.
Max Verstappen chases down Lewis Hamilton.
Peter Fox/Getty Images

In the second stint, Verstappen and Hamilton were in a class of their own, dropping Perez and engaging in a two-way fight for the win.

Once again, Red Bull took the upper hand at the second round of stops by pitting Verstappen first with almost half the race still remaining.

Mercedes responded by keeping Hamilton out eight laps longer, giving him fresher tyres for the run to the flag and a pace advantage in the final 18 laps.

Initially, Hamilton used that advantage to claw seconds out of Verstappen's lead, but as he closed to within two seconds of the Red Bull, his rival responded.

Verstappen had been kind to his tyres at the start of his final stint and that left him with enough performance to keep his rival at bay, even though Hamilton was able to race at over two seconds per lap faster than Verstappen at some stages of the race.

With a lap remaining, Hamilton had the gap down to one second, but Verstappen had judged his tyre management to perfection and kept the Mercedes at bay to take victory.

With the win, Verstappen extends his lead in the championship by a further six points to 12 in total with five races remaining. Hamilton took the bonus point on offer for fastest lap. 

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc took fourth place ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in fifth, who held off a late charge from the second Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas in sixth.

Carlos Sainz took seventh in the second Ferrari ahead of Ricciardo's McLaren teammate, Lando Norris.

Yuki Tsunoda had a strong drive to ninth for AlphaTauri ahead of Sebastian Vettel, who secured the final point on offer for Aston Martin.