Verstappen leads Red Bull to constructors’ title with US Grand Prix win

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Max Verstappen passed Lewis Hamilton late to earn a season-record 13th victory of the season at the United States Grand Prix on Sunday, and picked up a victory to honor the memory of the team’s founder and owner Red Bull Dietrich Mateschitz.

Verstappen’s race was nearly canceled by a rare slow Red Bull pit stop midway through the race that dropped him well behind Hamilton. But Verstappen fought back to overtake last season’s rival for the championship on lap 50 of 56.

Verstappen then had to hold off harassing Hamilton in the final laps as his team warned him not to exceed track limits which would result in a penalty.

Victory as a relief for Red Bull. The team announced shortly before qualifying on Saturday that Mateschitz had died at the age of 78. Verstappen vowed he would give everything for victory to honor him.

The victory continued Verstappen’s dominance in 2022. He had already won the season championship in Japan two weeks earlier. Sunday’s win tied him with Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel for most in a season with three races to go.

Since its inception, Red Bull has won six drivers’ championships and five constructors’ titles. Verstappen’s win clinched that season’s tag team championship. His teammate at Red Bull, Sergio Perez, finished fourth.

Mateschitz, the Austrian billionaire co-founder of global energy drink empire Red Bull, bought the Jaguar team in 2004 and renamed it Red Bull in 2005. He added a second team to the Red Bull stable when bought the Minardi program and renamed it. Toro Rosso in 2006 to be a young driver training program. This team is now Alpha Tauri.

The team incorporated a teenage Verstappen into their racing program and promoted him to F1 in 2015 when he was just 17, in hopes he would become the youngest champion in F1 history. series. Mercedes’ dominance in 2014-20 prevented that.

But Mateschitz, reportedly ill for months and dead at 78, lived long enough to see Verstappen win two championships and begin what could be another dominant era for the team he founded.

F1 held a brief tribute to Mateschitz before the race. Big ‘Danke Didi’ (Thank you, Didi) signs were flashed on video screens and Vettel, who has won four championships with Red Bull and now races with Aston Martin, seemed to be holding back tears.


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