Max Verstappen delivered a remarkable drive at the Circuit of the Americas to secure the 33rd win of his F1 career and help ensure that Oracle Red Bull Racing won its first constructors’ title since 2013.
Just one day after the sad passing of Red Bull co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz, Verstappen showed plenty of class and no short amount of fighting spirit as he triumphed in duels with Ferrari’s Charles LeClarec and a resurgent Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes to secure victory.
Verstappen may have already secured his second world title, but he was determined to help his team clinch the constructors’ crown. Having controlled the early part of the race, his final pit stop handed the lead to Hamilton and also dropped him behind Leclerc.
However, Verstappen’s incredible straight-line speed would see him take the lead with six laps remaining, and he held on to secure a 13th win of the season – equalling the record for wins in a season, held by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.
Sergio Pérez would also deliver a masterful drive as he fought back from ninth on the grid to finish fourth. The Mexican driver has now slipped to third in the driver standings but is just two points behind LeClerc with three races remaining.
Pérez will be hoping to excel in front of a home crowd at next Sunday’s Mexican Grand Prix, while Verstappen will look to make history and become the first driver in F1 history to win 14 races in a single season.
It was tough to hear the news ahead of qualifying. The result today doesn’t really matter. What does matter is reflecting on Dietrich and what he did for us as a Team, the whole of Formula One and the wider Red Bull family. Dietrich was always super kind and caring to me. I will forever remember the last visit I had with him a month ago or so. At the time, it was extraordinary, but it’s definitely more special now. He believed in me from a young age and many other younger drivers and gave incredible opportunities to many people. Without him, I would not be sitting here today. So, it’s an incredibly tough day.
This is a sad day for the whole Red Bull family. It makes you realise there are many more important things in life. Dietrich’s influence on sport and how he supported athletes globally made a difference to the world. He gave me an opportunity that no one else ever gave me, and I will always be grateful to him. It was a sorrowful moment when we heard the news because we knew we were about to become champions, and he won’t be here to see us do it. The whole team will be racing for him and his family tomorrow, and I hope we can bring the result he wants from us. We couldn’t find the maximum today with just three sets of tyres, but it was a weekend when we knew we had the penalty, so we have focused on tomorrow and the race. Hopefully, that pays off. It will be tricky to get up there on this track, but we will try our best because it would really mean a lot this weekend.
Christian Horner – Team Principal & CEO
A very emotional moment, a big moment for the team and everyone at Red Bull, and a tribute to Dietrich for everything he has done for the team and the company. God bless him.