Formula 1 made its second and final stop of the season in the United States this time hitting Austin’s Circuit of the Americas for the United States Grand Prix.
With the drivers’ championship already locked up Red Bull’s Max Verstappen we still had some battles down the standings as well as in the constructors’ standings.
Austin likes to pride itself on being weird, and thanks to a slew of penalties, the starting grid was exactly that with multiple drivers starting farther down the order than usual. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz was on pole while beside him was the champ himself, Verstappen.
However, Sainz didn’t last long out front. He was biffed aside by George Russell (who was given a 5-second penalty) as the field navigated the circuit’s tight Turn 1. He retired from the race with a water leak, which allowed Verstappen to scamper up the road with Hamilton in tow.
Verstappen Wins Despite Nightmare Pit Stop
Mercedes attempted to undercut Verstappen by bringing Hamilton in for his second pitstop early. It was a gutsy move, and it turned out to be a great move.
Once Verstappen entered his pit box to react on the following lap, he became stranded when Red Bull’s usually flawless pit crew ran into problems with the front left tire. By the time that boot was finally on Verstappen’s RB18, it was clear Hamilton would inherent the net lead of the race.
However, Leclerc and Verstappen quickly closed the gap on the seven-time champion thanks to being on medium tires while Hamilton was on the slower, but more robust hard tires.
Verstappen eventually closed the gap and retook the lead for good on Lap 50, just six trips around COTA from the checkered flag.
It was his 13th win of the season, which draws him even with Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher for the most in a single season.
Aston Martin’s Strong Weekend Has Rough End
Aston Marin looked strong all weekend and started the race with both cars in the top 10. Lance Stroll got a great start and settled into P3 after Sainz and Russell came together.
Stroll had a great pace that kept him on Hamilton’s tail, however, he did lose a bit of time thanks to a slow stop during the first round of pit stops.
However, shortly after the restart, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso made contact with Stroll, his teammate for next season. It was a nasty high-speed crash with Alonso going airborne.
Somehow, Alonso kept his car on the track and finished P7.
Stroll wasn’t so lucky. His day ended right then and there. Costing Aston martin part of what was sure to be a hefty points haul.
Surely Vettel would get some points.
Nope, an absolute nightmare of a pitstop — one that made Verstappen’s look like a cakewalk — ended Vettel’s hopes for a podium. He finished P8 in his final USGP after a last-lap duel with Haas’ Kevin Magnussen.
He was, however, named Driver of the Day.
Red Bull Clinches Constructors Title
Verstappen’s win and Perez’s P4 were enough to clinch the constructors’ championship for Red Bull.
It’s the team’s fifth championship overall, but their first since 2013.
However, it’s bittersweet for the team out of Milton Keynes. The clinching race came just one day after news broke that Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz had died at age 78.
Both titles are decided as we move on to Mexico City next weekend. Still, there are some battles to be decided in both sets of standings, plus one seat at Haas is still vacant for 2023.
Here are the full results of the 2022 United States Grand Prix:
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle