Late yellow flags deny Verstappen a battle with Hamilton in Austin

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen felt second spot was on the cards at the US Grand Prix on Sunday, but was denied by late yellow flags.

Kevin Magnussen's rear brake disc exploded at the end of the long back straight with two laps remaining, bringing out the yellow flags. The Red Bull Racing man was hunting down Lewis Hamilton, who was en route to his sixth world championship at the Circuit of the Americas, but had his charge halted by Magnussen's stricken Haas.

Verstappen congratulated world champion Lewis Hamilton on the podium

Verstappen congratulated world champion Lewis Hamilton on the podium

After picking up a penalty in Mexico for ignoring yellow flags, Verstappen stuck within the rules and had to settle for third spot behind both the Mercedes cars.

Inspections to his car afterwards showed Verstappen was missing a big piece of the Red Bull's floor, but said third place was a strong result.

"For us, it’s been a positive weekend and I’m very happy to finish third on a track like this," he said. "On the last few laps, the yellow flags hurt me and I couldn’t pass after the straight, otherwise I think we could have finished second.

"After the race I realised I was missing quite a big piece of my floor which is a shame as I think we could have been even more competitive otherwise. I had a good start and then I tried to follow Valtteri but it seemed like they had a bit more pace than us so to finish roughly five seconds behind him is a good achievement, especially considering our car damage."

With Hamilton securing his sixth title, now just one behind Michael Schumacher's all-time record of seven, Verstappen added: "It is of course very impressive for Lewis to win his sixth title and you have to be very consistent to achieve that so he deserves it."