• Sat. Apr 1st, 2023

Red Bull clinch first constructors’ title since 2013 at COTA

BySean Clark

Oct 23, 2022

Photo by Formula 1

Dietrich Mateschitz, who co-founded the Red Bull energy drink in 1987, took over the Jaguar F1 team in 2004, rebranding it as Red Bull Racing.

On Saturday Oct. 22, 2022, he sadly passed away at the age of 78. One day later, Red Bull Racing honored his memory by winning the 2022 United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas, wrapping up Red Bull’s first World Constructors’ Championship since 2013.

Max Verstappen, who already wrapped up the World Drivers’ Championship in the previous race at Suzuka, won a close and action-packed race at COTA as for the second year in a row, he outdueled Lewis Hamilton.

“It’s a very difficult weekend for us,” Verstappen said. “This one is definitely dedicated to Dietrich. The only thing we could do today is win.”

Verstappen was cruising out in front throughout the race before the second round of pit stops commenced. However, a usually stout Red Bull pit crew botched Verstappen’s stop, forcing him to drop behind Charles Leclerc and Hamilton.

On Lap 39, Verstappen and Leclerc had an incredible back-and-forth battle where Verstappen took the lead after three passes on the same lap. Then, the Dutchman set his sights on Hamilton. He was struggling to catch Hamilton as he exceeded track limits multiple times.

Alas, Verstappen caught up to Hamilton on Lap 51. The two raced wheel-to-wheel in a battle that gave Formula 1 fans flashbacks of their epic battles throughout the 2021 season. The Dutchman ultimately got the better of Hamilton and pulled away for the victory.

Verstappen picked up his 13th win of the season, tying the all-time record for wins in a season (Michael Schumacher in 2004 and Sebastian Vettel in 2013). His teammate, Sergio Perez, helped Red Bull achieve the necessary points with a fourth-place finish.

This year’s race at COTA saw multiple crashes that shook up the field. On the first turn of the first lap, pole sitter Carlos Sainz had a poor start, allowing Verstappen to pass him from second place. Sainz was turned by the pursuing George Russell, causing a puncture that forced Sainz to retire from the race.

Russell was given a five-second time penalty, but was able to come home with a fifth-place finish.

On Lap 19, Valtteri Bottas, who won the 2019 US Grand Prix, spun out of the race in Turn 19. The ensuing safety car allowed Sainz’s teammate, Leclerc, to get a free pit stop and work his way through the field after starting 12th (10-place grid penalty for additional power unit elements). He ended up taking the final podium spot.

One lap after the safety car, Lance Stroll, who started in fifth place, was weaving on the straightaway and Fernando Alonso crashed straight into the back of Stroll. The Aston Martin suffered too much damage to continue while Alonso had to pit for new tires and a new front wing.

Miraculously, Alonso was somehow able to drag his damaged car from the back of the pack to finish seventh, one spot behind Lando Norris. With this result, McLaren gained two points on Alpine for fourth place in the WCC, but still trail by 11 points with three races left.

Sebastian Vettel, like Alonso, had another incredible recovery. Vettel gained five places on the first lap and was actually in first place briefly before being passed by Hamilton. When Vettel pitted for the second time, the Aston Martin crew had so many struggles, causing the stop to last 16.8 seconds.

Vettel plummeted outside the top 10 after the pit stop, but showed why he is a four-time champion by rallying through the field back into the top 10. On the final lap, he passed Kevin Magnussen in a tight wheel-to-wheel battle to achieve a eighth-place finish.

Magnussen’s ninth-place finish is his best result since eighth place at Austria.

Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top 10.

The 2022 Formula 1 season has three races left. Next week will be the Mexican Grand Prix at Hermanos Rodriguez on Sunday Oct. 30 at 4:00 p.m. EST.

Race results: