Red Bull’s Max Verstappen denied seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton his first win of the 2022 Formula 1 campaign as the Dutchman took the top honours at the circuit of the Americas.
The 25-year-old, who was crowned the World Champion at Suzuka earlier this month, picked up his record-equalling thirteenth win of the campaign at the action-packed Grand Prix of the US. The former Toro Rosso man is now on level terms with Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher for highest wins recorded in a season with three rounds still to go.
Further, Verstappen’s victory at Austin GP meant that Red Bull sealed their first constructors’ title since 2013.
Verstappen quickly moved into the lead at the start, leaving behind Ferrari’s pole sitter Carlos Sainz Jr, whose delight was short-lived as Mercedes’ George Russell locked up and clashed with the left-rear of the Spaniard’s F1-75 at Turn 1, forcing him to retire.
Behind the drama, was Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, who darted into top three in the initial stages as his teammate Sebastian Vettel gained five positions to arrive at P5, behind Russell, who was running with a damaged front wing.
Midway through the 56-lap race, Verstappen had the Mercedes boys chasing him. Later, a late pit stop for race leader Verstappen handed the lead to Hamilton. However, the Dutchman was quick to react as the mighty pace of his RB18 helped him to make a move on the Brit and restore his lead with six laps to go.
Meanwhile, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who started P12 on the grid, salvaged a podium for the Prancing Horse owing to two safety car periods, which worked in his favour when he had to make the pit stop.
Sergio Perez saw the chequered flag at fourth, ahead of Russell, who secured the fastest-lap with a damaged front wing.
McLaren’s Lando Norris pipped Fernando Alonso to finish sixth. The Alpine driver had a splendid drive despite the incident involving Stroll, which sent both the drivers crashing into barriers. The Spaniard damaged his front wing as he tagged the back of Stroll, which left his A522 airborne, meanwhile forcing the Canadian’s retirement due to extensive damage.
Vettel made a brilliant move on Haas’ Kevin Magnussen on the last lap to finish seventh in his last Austin GP. AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda and Alonso’s teammate Esteban Ocon completed the top 10, meanwhile bagging the last available points.
Two-time World Champion Alonso overcame adversities to cross the finish line at seventh but was slapped with a 30-second post-race penalty which dropped him to 15th after Haas protested that his Alpine was unsafe due to loose bodywork.