Verstappen 10 for hunger, Sainz gets into trouble, Leclerc and Hamilton 9-

from Flavio Vanetti

Red Bull deserves 5 for the budget cap affair, even Ferrari driver Sainz is insufficient for his departure. Vettel and Alonso from applause, Ricciardo a ghost

First rule of the champions: never stop being hungry for victories. And if you’ve already won, try to win big. Max Verstappen interprets this philosophy at its best and in Austin, where he had already established himself in 2021, he slips first Charles Leclerc and then Lewis Hamilton. a success – we will see – also important on a statistical level and falls in two moments with an antithetical flavor for Red Bull, which on the one hand also celebrates the conquest of the constructors’ title and on the other hand he mourns the death of Dietrich Mateschitz, the patron who made all this possible. In the background, the 440 thousand spectators over the weekend at the Circuit of the Americas, 150 thousand only for the GP (at the end of which comes the penalty that removes Fernando Alonso from the points). After the success in Miami and waiting for the return (from 2023) of Las Vegas, the consecration for F1 in the USA: no longer snubbed and not even seen as an annoying intruder.

Dietrich Mateschitz: 110 and praise

Reflection, in memoriam, of a man to whom not only F1, but all sport (skiing, football, hockey, extreme disciplines and much more) owes a lot. Some choices were questionable – for example that of recruiting, for the Athlete Performance Center in Thalgau, a character like Bernd Pansold, convicted of doping in the GDR – but the Red Bull universe that created something magical and extraordinarily dynamic . In addition to the inimitable image.

Red Bull R18: 10 and praise

it has become, in the course of the World Championship, a frightening machine in terms of performance. Austin exalted his qualities and when Hamilton saw Verstappen in the mirrors with his jaws open he must have thought that in the recent past he was there in the role of the shark. It must have been an unpleasant feeling for Lewis.

Max Verstappen: 10

Many criticized him for the sarcastic / angry joke for the mess at the pit stop: Beautiful croaked Max over the radio. The comment is part of his personality which tends to be icy, but for the principle already stated – never slow down on the road to success – we would like to grant Verstappen the mitigating circumstances due to a great competitor. Overtaking Hamilton was incredibly hard, an indispensable step to take victory number 33 (like his number in the race), the thirteenth of the season. So he equaled the record of Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, still having three GPs to surpass it.

Lewis Hamilton: 9

The GPs pass, the first victory of the year still not arrived. Lewis risks closing the championship with a clear path in the opposite direction, but he tries to rebel against this fate with all his strength and with what passes the convent (a Mercedes which is also improved, even if the team of the Star was caught trying to pass an irregular front wing). Austin gave Hamilton a great chance and he nurtured it with determination. Too bad there were Verstappen and the RB18 on the track.

Charles Leclerc: 9

Fifth consecutive podium – a significant figure – and second place in the Drivers’ World Championship, with Sergio Perez behind him. Charles, who started from twelfth position, could not ask for more. He too found himself in front of Verstappen, for the mistake of the red bull players at the pit stop, and tried to resist the Dutchman’s return. He gave him a couple of scratches, but then he had to succumb: the other had more.

Sebastian Vettel: 8

Super race, with the desire to be protagonista. In the last races of his career, the Vettel of the best days is being reviewed, after having been offered his tarnished version for a long time. Overtaking on the last lap at Magnussen, a tough and bad guy on the verge of incorrect, will remain one of the highlights of the season: a seventh place (also benefited from the penalty of Alonso) that is tight.

Fernando Alonso: 8

The posthumous sting of the FIA ​​- 30 ” penalty and relegation from seventh to fifteenth place for the badly fixed and blown away mirror – does not cancel what was seen on the track. Fernando looks like one of those super-heroes who always bounce back, even if they’re done for. Risk your skin when Stroll takes it off with a maneuver to withdraw his license (for F1 and perhaps also for normal cars), but he puts the Alpine back on track with a stunt action and then drives it to the finish line in provisional seventh place. From applause despite the bitterness of the punishment to be swallowed.

Kevin Magnussen: 7.5

He tried the hard tire card at the start, to cut a pit stop, and the classification was rewarding him with sixth place. Per knew very well that the final would be complicated and so it was: his Haas slipped to ninth place, then became eighth because his team’s appeal against Alonso was upheld. However, he deserved more on the asphalt, not in the commissioners’ room.

The fighters: 7

The US GP was also lively for the fights in the central area of ​​the ranking. Albon, Tsunoda, the Ocon that starting from the pit lane enters the top 10 after the penalty of Alonso, the Norris that once more shakes up in the final giving McLaren a sixth place with which it returns in the wake of the Alpine in the World Championship manufacturers, were not negligible interpreters of the most beautiful GP of the year.

Sergio Perez: 6.5

On a run too with respect to relegation on the grid, Sergio disputes a good GP and also finds himself in the lead for a few laps (before making the second pit stop). But in the head-to-head with Leclerc he ends up caught by the stupendous maneuver with which the Monegasque attacks him, overtakes him and leaves him with the palm of his nose.

George Russell: 6

Sainz’s ramming weighs heavily on the vote, also due to a too fast entry into turn 1, as evidenced by the smoke of the brakes. lucky to restart and find the top 5 (fifth place this time) after Singapore and Japan had interrupted his consistency at a high level.

Carlos Sainz: 5

We remain of the idea that he got into trouble on his own, wanting to squeeze inside as he tackled the descent after turn 1. If he had been wider, he might have risked the attack of Hamilton and Russell but would have saved his race. The fact remains that he did not take advantage of the beautiful pole position he won on Saturday – Verstappen made a great start on the dirty side, which is not uncommon in Austin – and, generally speaking, the start was confirmed as a weak point for Carlos in the season.

Red Bull: 5

After denying responsibility in the affair of the overshot budget cap, he admits he was wrong, but mumbles excuses reminiscent of the stammering of a student caught unprepared. Then he accuses Ferrari of its past events – the best defense is the attack, as we know – and tries to postpone the time of the sanction. Mateschitz’s death postpones the plea bargain and the verdict.

Lance Stroll: 4

On Alonso’s attack he swerves just enough to make the Alpine’s right front wheel touch the Aston Martin’s left rear, with Fernando inevitably taking off towards the barriers. A serious mistake, the accident could have had very serious consequences.

Daniel Ricciardo: 2

Not received, always in line and without jolts. Having already been discharged from McLaren, the impression that, as they would say in Milan, he gave him up. A ghost of the good driver appreciated in recent seasons.

October 24, 2022 (change October 24, 2022 | 13:09)

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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