The trophies are presented, with Shaquille O’Neal playing his part. He makes a swift exit before the champagne starts to flow, the ticker tape is released and the crowds who have been let onto the track start to party. Austin is going to be a fun place to be tonight. As Hamilton and Verstappen follow him out, this is how the trophy has been… Delivered. Austin has the tagline ‘Keep Austin weird’ and it is safe to say, that’s what is happening today. Perez has come out for the podium presentations, clutching a Mexica flag and smiling for the crowd. This is close to a home race for him, such is the support he receives here. With some fluids on board, he is starting to look much better.There is just time to round up the top 10 before the podium celebrations begin. Leclerc was fourth, Ricciardo fifth. Bottas did pick off Sainz on the last lap for sixth, with Norris eighth. Tsunoda drove maturely for P9 and Vettel picked up the last point thanks to Raikkonen’s late spin. Hamilton couldn’t have done much more there – he closed the gap when he needed to, but found it too hard to follow closely in the dirty air on those last few laps. He is talking to his crew, while the cameras pick up a shattered looking Perez – the Mexican lost access to his drinks tube, and will no doubt need to rehydrate pronto.
Charles Leclerc drove brilliantly to P4 for Ferrari having held off Daniel Ricciardo of McLaren at the start, the Australian having made up one place at the expense of Carlos Sainz early on. That left Valtteri Bottas sixth for Mercedes ahead of Carlos Sainz, the Ferrari driver passed for the place late on by the Mercedes man who recovered from ninth on the grid.
Ricciardo’s team mate Lando Norris took eighth having lost a place to Bottas after the second set of pit stops. Behind Norris was Yuki Tsunoda in P9, the rookie having started 10th on soft tyres but handled the fragile compounds masterfully, gaining a place as AlphaTauri team mate Pierre Gasly retired with suspension issues.
In the final point-paying spot was Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel, who started 18th after a engine change penalty.
Esteban Ocon of Alpine was the next retiree, on Lap 42. His Alpine team mate Alonso followed into the pits from P14 with five laps remaining, citing a rear wing issue.
Kimi Raikkonen nearly took the final point thanks to a stellar start to the race but spun off the track at Turn 6 with three laps remaining, giving engine penalty-hit Sebastian Vettel an unlikely P10 for Aston Martin from P18 as he pulled off a medium-medium-hard strategy.
Antonio Giovinazzi was heading for P12 but took P11 thanks to his Alfa Romeo team mate’s late mistake, while Lance Stroll gained an unlikely place at the end too – after taking damage thanks to contact from Williams’ Nicholas Latifi at the start – and gained one place overall to finish 12th ahead of Raikkonen.
George Russell finished 14th ahead of Williams team mate Latifi, who hit his compatriot’s Aston Martin at Turn 1 on Lap 1, and finished 15th after a front wing change.
With Gasly (suspension), fellow Frenchman Esteban Ocon and his Alpine team mate Fernando Alonso (rear wing) the three retirees, Mick Schumacher took 16th ahead of Haas team mate Nikita Mazepin in P17 at their team’s home race.