Race Weekend Central

Max Verstappen Overcomes Pit Stop, Lewis Hamilton, To Win At COTA

Max Verstappen, a fortnight after clinching his second straight world driver’s championship in F1, was able to overcome a costly mistake on his final pit stop and catch Lewis Hamilton in the closing laps to win his 13th Grand Prix of the year and tie the record for most wins in a season.

UPDATE: Following a protest lodged by Haas, Fernando Alonso has been handed a 30 second penalty due to not pitting to fix/remove his broken mirror. The penalty has moved the Spaniard out of the points, moving every driver in the top ten who finished behind his initial seventh place finish up a position. Alonso’s Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon is now scored in tenth. This recap has been revised to reflect these changes in position. 

Verstappen spent the balance of the race in the lead before going in for his final pit stop, where a faulty pit gun caused an 11-second delay in getting the Red Bull driver out and allowing Charles Leclerc and Hamilton to pass him. Verstappen, on medium tires, was able to pass Leclerc and make a fantastic drive in the closing laps to get by Hamilton on hard tires, 15 laps into the run of the mediums.

Both drivers were warned for exceeding track limits in the final five laps, and Hamilton was able to hang with Verstappen for a few laps, but Verstappen drove away while Hamilton faded away in second.

It was an emotional weekend for Verstappen and the entire Red Bull and AlphaTauri teams, as Detrich Mateschitz, the cofounder of Red Bull energy and owner of both F1 teams, passed away the day prior to the race.

“Of course, it was a very difficult weekend for us,” Verstappen said in the post race F1 Media podium interview. “Today was dedicated to Detrich himself. What [Mateschitz] has done for everyone, the only thing we could do today was win and even though after the pit stop it wasn’t looking great, I gave everything out there and pushed to the limit to come back.

Leclerc was able to come back from his grid penalty for changing engine parts to finish third on podium after starting 12th. Sergio Perez finished fourth in spite of a front wing issue that he fought throughout the race. George Russell finished fifth and walked away with the fastest lap after pitting for softs to go for it in the closing laps. Lando Norris ended up sixth.

On lap 23, a very violent wreck occurred in which Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll made high speed contact down the long backstretch. Alonso went airborne but landed on his four tires with no rotations or flips before hitting the Armco barrier with his left side. Despite the contact, Alonso was able to eventually finish the race out of the points after replacing his front wing. Stroll, who ran as high as third in the opening laps, was not able to continue after spinning out.

Sebastian Vettel had a strong day, threatening to contend for a top five finish before an awful final pit stop denied the German that in his final United States Grand Prix. He had a fantastic recovery drive in the closing laps and nipped Kevin Magnussen for seventh in the final turns. Yuki Tsunoda ended up finishing ninth, with Esteban Ocon behind the Japanese driver in tenth..

On lap 17, Valtteri Bottas spun out coming out of turn 19 and beached his Alfa Romeo on the gravel. After a strong start to the season, the Finish driver has now gone 10 races without scoring in the points, after not finishing this race. The ensuring safety car period allowed Leclerc, Vettel and Alonso to take cheap pit stops and join their other drivers who had already pitted.

Carlos Sainz, who started on pole, was spun out in turn 1 after contact with Russell on the first lap after falling to second. Sainz did not finish the race due to a water leak from radiator damage sustained in the wreck.

Full results of the 2022 United States Grand Prix.

As far as constructors’ points go, Red Bull has clinched the championship with three races remaining, to go along with Verstappen’s clinched driver’s championship. Mercedes might be making a late bid to steal second from Ferrari; thanks to Sainz’s early retirement today, the silver arrows are now 53 points back of the prancing horse from second.

The battle for fourth continues to heat up, as Norris’ sixth allowed McLaren to gain seven points on Alpine, and is now just 6 points down. Stroll’s wreck denied Aston Martin a great leap to sixth in constructor’s, as Stroll was likely to finish in the points; the green machines are just a point behind Alfa Romeo in the standings now. Haas passed AlphaTauri in points thanks to Magnussen’s eighth place, the American team now leads the Italian team by two points for eighth in the standings.

It’s a back-to-back week for F1 in the America’s, as next week the world tour stops at Mexico City for round 20 of the 2022 season. Lights out for the Mexican Grand Prix will come on Sunday, October 30th at 4:00 p.m. EST. Coverage will be provided by Sky Sports through ESPN.


About the author

Michael has watched NASCAR for 20 years and regularly covered the sport from 2013-2021. He moved on to Formula 1, IndyCar, and SRX coverage for the site, while still putting a toe in the water from time-to-time back into the NASCAR pool.

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