Memorable moments from the most exciting race of the year: the 2021 US GP

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• The 2021 United States Grand Prix had plenty of action throughout.

• The race was highlighted by Max Verstappen's win and his race-long battle with Lewis Hamilton.

• We list several highlights from the race.

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The 2021 United States Grand Prix had all the makings of a classic, with several battles dominating the race throughout. We list several highlights from the race that has added more fuel to an already on-fire championship fight.

Verstappen withstands Hamilton pressure

When Max Verstappen lost the lead of the race to Lewis Hamilton going into Turn 1 at the start of the race, it was assumed that the Mercedes driver would romp to a sure-fire victory around the Circuit of the Americas. However, he struggled to put distance between him and the Red Bull, with Verstappen keeping the defending honest throughout the race.

After all the pitstops were completed, it was Verstappen leading from Hamilton. With fresher tyres fitted to his Mercedes, he set off chasing after Verstappen. With three laps remaining, Hamilton was within reach to launch an assault for the lead of the race, but the young Dutchman held his nerve to secure his eighth win of the 2021 campaign.

Verstappen's maturity really showed on Sunday, especially with the mounting pressure from a seven-time champion.

The rules are inconsistent

Fernando Alonso has been in a race-long tussle with the two Alfa Romeo drivers during the US Grand Prix. First, it was Kimi Raikkonen. The two former champions battled for position at one point, with Raikkonen going off track to keep the position. Once Alonso passed him, he set off after Antonio Giovinazzi in the other Alfa. Alonso was pushed off the track but managed to get ahead of his rival. However, Race Control ordered the Alpine to give the position back.

If anything, Race Control's decision to enforce the rules on Alonso raises an eyebrow, given that they looked the other way when Raikkonen kept his position by going off the track. It's another example of the inconsistencies that plague F1's rule enforcers.

Later in the race, Alonso and Giovinazzi were involved in another squabble. Like Raikkonen, Giovinazzi kept his position by going off the track, but was told by his team to give the position back to Alonso. Giovinazzi, puzzled by the order, questioned his team, to which he got the response: "Don't ask questions."

Red Bull's strategists are better than Mercedes'

When going racing, drivers are supported by their strategists. Together, they work out the best ways to go about a race and when to perform pitstops. For Verstappen, his Red Bull team executed the best strategy to put him at the front of the field, while Mercedes, again, dropped the ball. The Silver Arrows kept Hamilton out for longer than they probably should have during the race, with the intent of having him hunt down Verstappen in the race's closing stages.

But as we've seen before, catching the driver ahead is far easier than passing them. While Mercedes' strategy was spot on in how they predicted the race would unfold, they lost too much time keeping Hamilton out on track instead of pitting him.

Ferrari vs McLaren will go down to the wire

Behind the Mercedes-Red Bull rivalry this season, Ferrari and McLaren are battling it out for third place. The two teams and their drivers were involved in a race-long battle, and it provided plenty of enticing moments for fans to get excited over. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) and Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) duelled for position with every passing lap, at one point making contact.

Following the US Grand Prix, McLaren holds a slender 3.5-lead over Ferrari. This rivalry is expected to continue until the end of the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi.

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