Verstappen wins at COTA as Red Bull seal constructors title

Verstappen passes Leclerc and Hamilton late on to take 13th win of the season

AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 23: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 leads Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W13 during the F1 Grand Prix of USA at Circuit of The Americas on October 23, 2022 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202210230649 // Usage for editorial use only //

Max Verstappen secured his 13th win of the season as Red Bull wrapped up the constructors title at Circuit of the Americas.

The two-time champion needed a late charge to wrap up the win after a slow pitstop dropped him down the order, but he had enough pace to deny Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc.

Carlos Sainz’s hopes of converting pole position into a race win ended at the first corner when George Russell tried to claim the inside line, clattering into the side of the Ferrari, earning Russell a five-second time penalty.

Both Aston Martins had a strong start to the race, with Lance Stroll running in third, while Sebastian Vettel jumped up to fifth.

Nicholas Latifi also picked up a couple of places early on, running as high as 13th in the opening few laps, but a spin sent the Canadian to the back of the field.

Stroll’s hopes of a podium drifted away when Russell powered past his Aston Martin, with Sergio Perez following a couple of laps later.

The majority of the front runners had stopped for new tyres, except Leclerc, who had made his way up to second after starting well down the order due to a grid penalty, and Vettel when Valtteri Bottas spun and beached his Alfa Romeo in the gravel, resulting in a safety car.

The incident meant both Leclerc and Vettel were able to make their pitstops while the field was backing up behind the safety car, ensuring they rejoined in fourth and sixth respectively.

The safety car briefly re-entered the pits, but was back out just a few moments later when Fernando Alonso, looking to move ahead of Stroll, ran into the back of the Aston Martin, lifting his own car off the ground and sending Stroll spinning into the barrier.

Leclerc piled the pressure on Perez, attempting to move up to third, but the Monegasque driver braked too late and had to run wide, allowing Perez to stay ahead, but the Ferrari driver made to overtake stick on the next lap.

Debris from the Alonso and Stroll collision led to damage on Lando Norris’s car, resulting in him losing a place to Yuki Tsunoda on the restart, before Mick Schumacher start to close in on the rear of the McLaren.

Pierre Gasly looked set for a strong finish in the points, but was found to have left a gap of move than 10 car lengths behind the safety car, with the stewards handing him a five-second time penalty.

After picking up the penalty, Gasly was the first driver running in the top 10 to make his second pitstop, triggering a run of stops among those running in the lower points positions.

At the front of the field, Hamilton came in before Verstappen, but rejoined the track in space, before the Red Bull driver came in on the next lap.

But, it was a difficult pit stop for the Red Bull pit crew, as they had difficulties getting the front left tightened up on Verstappen’s car, allowing Hamilton and Leclerc to move ahead of him.

Verstappen battled his way past Leclerc, before pushing to close the gap to Hamilton ahead. The Dutchman found himself on the rear of the Mercedes with five laps to go, and after going wheel-to-wheel around several corners, Verstappen came out ahead.

There was late action as Vettel made a final lap pass as Kevin Magnussen, who was struggling on well worn tyres after trying to make a one-stop strategy work, while Russell pitted late on to put in a late charge for the fastest lap.

Provisional classification:

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)

11. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)

12. Alex Albon (Williams)

13. Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo)

14. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)

15. Mick Schumacher (Haas)

16. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)

17. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)


Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)

Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)

Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

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