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Max Verstappen beats Lewis Hamilton at tense U.S. Grand Prix

Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton five laps from the end of the United States Grand Prix to secure a record equaling 13th victory of the season and ensure Red Bull claimed the 2022 constructors’ championship.

The race between last year’s two title rivals was close throughout, with a slow final pit stop for Verstappen on lap 35 handing Hamilton the lead and a shot at his first victory of the season. Verstappen dropped to third behind Charles Leclerc at the 11.1 second pit stop — at which the front-left wheel gun appeared to fail — but fought back over the remaining laps to retake the lead on lap 51.

The result was an emotional one for Verstappen and his team following the death of Red Bull’s co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz on Saturday.

“Max Verstappen, you are world champion, we are world champions!” Christian Horner stated, adapting the radio call he has made famous over the years. 

“Dietrich Mateschitz, thank you for all you have done.” 

Verstappen’s triumph also saw him tie with Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel for the most wins in a single season. The record has stood at 13 since 2004 when Schumacher dominated the season with Ferrari and was equaled by Vettel in 2013, but will be broken before the end of this year if Verstappen can secure another win at one of the three remaining races.

It was the closest Hamilton has come to a win this year after Mercedes’ lack of performance under F1’s new regulations prevented him challenging for regular victories this season.

Without Verstappen’s slow pit stop, it would likely have been a straightforward Red Bull victory, but Hamilton’s presence so close to the newly-crowned champion on track put him in a position to take advantage of any mistakes.

Ultimately, Red Bull’s performance, specifically in a straight line, made it almost impossible for Hamilton to hold off Verstappen when he made his move at the end of Austin’s back straight.

Leclerc concluded third for Ferrari on a day when his teammate Carlos Sainz started on pole position but spun at the first corner after contact with George Russell. Sainz retired shortly after due to a water leak.

Sergio Perez took fourth place for Red Bull ahead of Russell and McLaren’s Lando Norris.

Fernando Alonso took seventh place after recovering from a terrifying collision with Lance Stroll on the back straight on lap 22.

The incident saw Stroll move across on Alonso as they vied for position and the resulting contact between tyres pitched the Alpine into the air.

Stroll’s race ended on the spot due to severe crash damage, but Alonso was able to recover to the pits for repairs before fighting his way back through the field to seventh.

Sebastian Vettel, Kevin Magnussen and Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top ten.

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