United States GP: Max Verstappen denies Lewis Hamilton first 2022 win with late overtake as Red Bull clinch constructors' title – Sky Sports

  • October 24, 2022

US Grand Prix News
Last Updated: 24/10/22 6:05am
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Max Verstappen denied Lewis Hamilton his first win of Formula 1 2022 with a late race-clinching overtake in a thrilling United States Grand Prix, as the drivers’ world champion helped clinch the constructors’ title for Red Bull.
A race that included two Safety Cars was turned on its head when a dreadful Red Bull pit-stop surrendered Verstappen’s big lead on Lap 35, which propelled Hamilton into the ascendancy at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas.
Verstappen, though – more determined than ever despite recently wrapping up his title – closed the four-second gap on medium tyres to hunt down Hamilton, on hards, and then crucially overtake his fierce rival from 2021 with six laps remaining with a lunge into Turn 12.
Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Perez, who finished fourth behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, sealed the constructors’ crown for Red Bull with their efforts, the team’s first double championship season since 2013.
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The victory was also Verstappen’s 13th of 2022, which equals an F1 record for the most wins in a season, while it also means Hamilton has to wait to extend his record of winning a race in all of his 16 campaigns. The Mercedes driver, though, could not have done much more on Sunday.
Verstappen dedicated the win to Dietrich Mateschitz after the Red Bull owner’s death the day before, while Hamilton sent his condolences.
“It felt amazing to be in the lead,” he added. “That is something we have been working so hard on throughout the year and we have had so much hope. We will hold on to that.”
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George Russell finished fifth in the other Mercedes, hampered by a five-second penalty and front-wing damage after hitting Carlos Sainz at the start of the race.
Sainz, who started on pole, had lost the position to Verstappen into the first corner and then was shunted into by Russell, leading to a water leak and a hugely frustrating DNF for the Spaniard.
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Lando Norris was supremely fast in the closing stages to claim sixth, ahead of Fernando Alonso who had an incredibly wild Sunday.
Alonso went airborne in a frightening high-speed crash with Lance Stroll on Lap 23 – when the Aston Martin moved late on the straight – but while Stroll retired with damage the Alpine driver somehow continued and made great progress afterwards. Stroll was handed a three-place grid penalty for the Mexican GP after the race by the FIA.
That caused the second Safety Car, with the first for Valtteri Bottas’ beaching of his Alfa Romeo on Lap 18 having closed up the pack after Verstappen stormed into an early lead.
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Sebastian Vettel salvaged eighth but it could have been so much more, with the soon-to-be retired multiple world champion running in the top positions for most of the race. He was even leading before a 16-second pit-stop, even slower than Verstappen’s, dropped him well down the order.
United States GP Race Result, Top 10
1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull
2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
3. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
4. Sergio Perez, Red Bull
5. George Russell, Mercedes
6. Lando Norris, McLaren
7. Fernando Alonso, Alpine
8. Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin
9. Kevin Magnussen, Haas
10. Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri
An always entertaining US GP in the colourful, unique city of Austin, Texas, looked like it may fizzle into a dominant Verstappen win due to his early pass on Sainz, and the Ferrari driver then being taken out of contention moments afterwards by Russell.
Verstappen built a six-second lead over Hamilton, who started third, after the first pit-stops.
But two Safety Cars brought Hamilton back into contention – and the Mercedes was able to hang with the usually significantly faster Red Bull – before an uncharacteristic Red Bull mistake put him into the lead.
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Verstappen, responding to a Hamilton stop as Mercedes tried the undercut, was subjected to an 11sec pit-stop, eight seconds longer than Hamilton’s, as his mechanics could not loosen his left front wheel.
“Beautiful, ******* beautiful,” said Verstappen as he dropped not only behind Hamilton, but Leclerc too as the Ferrari driver, who started 12th but was aided by the timing of the first Safety Car, put himself in the mix.
On the new medium tyres, though, Verstappen showed the form that has seen him dominate this season.
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He hassled Leclerc and overtook the Ferrari into Turn 12, before beginning his relentless pursuit of Hamilton.
Hamilton was three seconds up the road but Verstappen had significantly more pace – particularly on the straights – and Mercedes’ hopes of that long-awaited first 2022 victory were all but over when Verstappen got DRS.
On Lap 50, the Red Bull driver sped ahead of Hamilton on the longest straight before even reaching the corner. While Hamilton attempted to battle back in the final sector and in the closing laps, Verstappen’s speed prevented more wheel-to-wheel battles similar to last season.
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Verstappen now has 13 wins this season, matching Michael Schumacher’s record amount of victories in a year (2004). There are three races remaining in 2022 for the Dutchman to break the record, in Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
Red Bull also have their first drivers’ and constructors’ double since 2013.
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Needing to avoid being outscored by Ferrari by 19 points, Verstappen and Perez’s efforts – and another difficult race for Ferrari with Sainz’s DNF – meant they comfortably got over the line.
“It has been a hugely emotional weekend,” said Red Bull boss Christian Horner. “That was the best possible way we could have won that race and I think Dietrich would have been very proud of that.
“To win the constructors’ championship after eight long years is incredible.”
©2022 Sky UK

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