Verstappen’s record-equaling 13th victory of the season, and the team’s championship triumph, came a day after Red Bull co-founder and owner Dietrich Mateschitz passed away, a milestone in the team’s fifth title. F1 constructors for the Milton Keynes operation which sparked emotional celebrations.
Having taken the lead early on, avoiding drama behind Carlos Sainz and George Russell colliding at Turn 1, Verstappen looked poised for a comfortable Circuit of the Americas win, dealing with multiple Safety Car restarts and managing his pace well. expert.
But a slow last pit stop opened the door for Hamilton and the recovered Charles Leclerc, the reigning world champion having to pass them both to take the checkered flag first, his move on Hamilton coming with just six laps remaining.
Despite their best efforts, Hamilton had to settle for second place, with Mercedes hoping for a win in 2022 to continue, while Leclerc rescued a podium finish for Ferrari as the Italian team was mathematically out of contention for the constructors’ crown.
Leclerc benefited from a cheap stop under an early Safety Car, caused by Valtteri Bottas’ spin in the gravel, to rise from 12th on the grid after his power unit changes, with Pérez taking fourth after your own engine penalty.
Russell was handed a five-second penalty for his incident with Sainz en route to fifth, pitting late to set the fastest lap on soft tyres, having had a sufficient window over sixth-placed McLaren driver, Lando Norris.
Fernando Alonso recovered from an engine penalty and a dramatic collision with Lance Stroll midway through the race, which sent him briefly airborne, to claim seventh position, followed by Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and Kevin Magnussen’s Haas. .
Like Verstappen, Vettel’s efforts were hit by a slow final stop and, having initially held a strong points position, he had to fight his way back to eighth, passing Magnussen at the final corner of the final lap, which earned him the title of “Rider of the Day”. ‘ award in the process.
AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda, who started at the back of the grid after an engine penalty, also capitalized on the drama to score a point for 10th, narrowly denying Alpine’s Esteban Ocon (who started from the pits), Alex Albon of Williams and Zhou Guanyu of Alfa Romeo.
Following his qualifying problems, Pierre Gasly experienced another dramatic race, picking up a time penalty behind the safety car that was not properly served in the pits, dropping him to 14th.
Mick Schumacher was unable to repeat team-mate Magnussen’s scoring efforts in the more conventional two-stop strategy as he took P15, with Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren and Nicholas Latifi’s Williams the last cars to finish.
AS A STEP
After the sad passing of Dietrich Mateschitz and an outpouring of tributes overnight, the F1 paddock gathered on the grid before Sunday’s race to remember the Austrian businessman with a round of applause – Austin’s record crowd assured it was an appropriate tribute.
Lining up on the front row for the start were Sainz and Verstappen, with second-placed Leclerc dropping to 12th due to changes to power unit components, and Perez dropping from P4 to P9 thanks to a change of gear. own engine.
Additional penalties saw Alonso (engine), Zhou (engine) and Tsunoda (gearbox) lose five places, while Ocon was moved from the grid to the back of pit lane after taking on a number of new parts of the unit. power in the wake of his disappointing run to P18 in qualifying.
As the 56-lap race began, the tenth at COTA and the first dry F1 meeting since last month’s Italian Grand Prix, it was Verstappen who made the best start to get Sainz off the line, and before the bottleneck of curve 1 had an effect. .
A lunge from the inside of Russell backfired as he closed and collided with Sainz’s car, causing the polesitter to spin and retire early due to a resulting water leak – the Mercedes driver was given the Mercedes driver by the stewards a five-second penalty. for his actions.
Behind, Stroll was a big winner by slotting in behind Verstappen and Hamilton, the latter doing well to avoid the confrontation between Russell and Sainz after pre-race drama in which his mechanics quickly changed the front brake.
It was a short-lived podium place for the Canadian though, with Russell finding a way past Turn 12 on Lap 6, and Perez’s recovery mirroring that pass a run later, albeit damaging a wing endplate. striker after early contact.
Aston Martin therefore found himself occupying P5 and P6 with Stroll and Vettel respectively, while Leclerc’s charge saw him rise from P12 to P7 in 10 laps, ahead of Gasly, Norris and Bottas, the latter leading a train of midfielders in the pits on the lap. 11 for new tires.
Up front, Verstappen was managing his run well, and the continued windy conditions, to pull out a nearly five-second lead over Hamilton, while Russell resisted Perez’s advances behind and Leclerc blasted past Vettel for P6.
After receiving the famous ‘Hammer Time’ radio message from racing engineer Peter Bonnington, Hamilton was the first of the favorites to pit on lap 13, swapping his medium tires for soft, with Verstappen and Russell boxing for the same. made up of round later, the Briton also serves his time penalty.
Having rejoined the action just ahead of Stroll, it was not long before Verstappen took the lead again, with team-mate Perez pitting on lap 15 and subsequently slipping between the Silver Arrows of Hamilton and Russell. .
At this point, Leclerc was second to Verstappen as he extended his opening stint on medium tyres, telling his Ferrari team to consider ‘Plan E’, with Vettel pressing again on aging tyres, ready to capitalize on any drama.
It would be worth it for the former team-mates, and Alonso a little further back, when Bottas spun in the gravel at Turn 19 on lap 18 and activated a safety car, meaning his pit-stay was significantly shorter than it would have been under race conditions.
After the stops, Verstappen held P1 from Hamilton and Pérez, with Leclerc jumping a host of cars to sit in P4, ahead of Russell, Vettel, Stroll, Gasly, Alonso and Norris; the race was neutralized for three laps while Bottas’s car was cleared.
Verstappen dominated the restart to retain the lead, but the Safety Car would return to the track moments later due to a terrifying collision between Alonso and Stroll on the back straight that littered the entire circuit with debris.
Replays showed Alonso hitting the rear of Stroll’s car as he came out of the slipstream and tried to make a move, sending the Spaniard flying and both drivers into the barriers at speed. As Alonso pitted to change the front wing, Stroll was out for the count with extensive damage to the car.
In response to Stroll’s defensive driving, Alonso jumped on the radio to criticize a “very late move” on the track, with Race Control noting that stewards would take a closer look at the incident after the race.
A quick clean-up allowed the action to resume on lap 26, with Verstappen surviving another restart to lead Hamilton, Perez and Leclerc – the Ferrari man had a tire life advantage of several laps after his last stop. .
Leclerc began to put that advantage to good use as he closed in on third-placed Perez, initially launching an unsuccessful attack into Turn 12 on Lap 29, before getting the job done a lap later with a daring overtake on the inside.
On lap 35, Hamilton kicked off the second round of pit stops for the frontrunners as he moved on to a new series of hard runs, prompting Verstappen to box a lap later and fend off the attempted undercut, only for a failed parry will cost you a crucial moment.
“Beautiful,” Verstappen sarcastically commented over the radio as he gathered behind Hamilton and Leclerc, the Red Bull and the Ferrari on the softer medium compound, as opposed to Hamilton’s hard shoe strategy.
Lap 39 led to more breathless drama as Verstappen attacked Leclerc at Turn 1, initially moving ahead before his rival completed the cutback, but again at Turn 12 saw the Dutchman move into a net P2, some four seconds behind. from Hamilton.
With Pérez pitting and seeing off Russell as he rejoined action, Vettel led the 3,500th lap of his F1 career before retiring from the sport at the end of the season, only for the moment of celebration to be undone by a stop. of 16.8 seconds which left him out of the points.
Up front, Verstappen posted a series of fastest laps to close in on Hamilton, setting up a grandstand finish as the race entered its final stages, while Leclerc placed third, ahead of Perez and Russell.
Verstappen’s quick pace was relentless and, with six laps to go, he used his newly acquired DRS to pounce on Hamilton at Turn 12, proceeding to deftly position his car through the next sequence of corners and hold position.
Despite a brief response from Hamilton, the race went to Verstappen and Red Bull, with emotional exchanges between the driver and the pit wall after he crossed the line five seconds ahead to secure victory and the crown. builders, with more tributes to Dietrich Mateschitz. and his impact on the sport.
Leclerc stayed within Verstappen’s DRS range for several laps after being overtaken, but his pace in the mids faded and he made do with third, while Perez and Russell rounded out the top five.
Norris took some damage when racing through the wreckage after Stroll and Alonso’s accident, but a late charge was rewarded with P6 ahead of Alonso as the McLaren/Alpine battle for P4 in the constructors’ standings continues.
Vettel arguably deserved much more than eighth before his aforementioned slow stop, but he held his own to make up several lost places, last of all a nice inside move from Magnussen towards Andretti’s corner.
Tsunoda led a pack of cars through the line to the finish point, made up of himself, Ocon, Albon and Zhou – Albon involved in an early incident with Gasly that was noted but not investigated further.
Gasly finished 14th after being penalized for failing to stay within 10 car lengths of the car in front under the Safety Car, that penalty compounded when it was not properly served during a subsequent pit stop.
Schumacher and Ricciardo finished in the shadow of teammates Magnussen and Norris, with Latifi the last finisher after a spin on his first stage forced him to stop earlier than planned.
F1 heads straight from the United States to Mexico for the next round of the World Championship at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on October 28-30.
-Cadena3Motor- from an F1 Press report