October 24, 2022

Ain’t no Verstappen him – A full USGP weekend recap

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AUSTIN, Texas (October 23, 2022) – Max Verstappen won the 10th USGP at COTA and secured the first Constructor’s Cup for Oracle Red Bull Racing since 2013.

The fulfilling final day of the Formula One Aramco United States Grand Prix has come and gone. Now that the 10th USGP at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, has concluded, teams are packing up and heading South to Mexico City, Mexico for next weekend’s race.

What. A. Weekend. On the most attended Friday ever in the history of COTA’s USGP, fans were the first to experience the birthday fanfare including two fascinating practice sessions. That night, the four-time GRAMMY®-winning American rock band Green Day nearly tore the Germania Insurance Super Stage down and brought the campus to life with instantly recognizable hits like “American Idiot,” “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends.”

On Saturday,  the F1 qualifying race saw Carlos Sainz take his third career pole just before one of the world’s best-selling music artists and GRAMMY®-winner, Ed Sheeran, closed the day with his awe-inspiring performance at the Super Stage. Sheeran played fan favorites, “Perfect,” “A Team,” and “Shape of You,” in addition to his latest releases “Call on Me” and “Shivers.”

Before the lights went out on the F1 grid, both the Masters Endurance Legends and Masters Historic Legends ran their second and final race of the weekend. Jamie Constable won both leagues yesterday in his Pescarolo 01-Judd and Tyrrell 011B and took first in Masters Endurance Legends again today in his Pescarolo LMP1. Drama struck Masters Historic when Constable touched tires and jumped across his competitor, leaving him with a damaged rear suspension and out of the race. Cal Meeker in his Tyrrell 009 won the final race under a safety car after the incident.

Between the races and before the USGP, one lucky charity auction winner felt the rush firsthand when Sir Jackie Stewart took the wheel and them for a high-speed lap around the track.

Mario Andretti made it into a McLaren for the second time this weekend to show current drivers what the legendary racer could still do.

Two hours before the Grand Prix, fans got a sneak peak of the drivers as they paraded around the track, getting the stands rowdy and ready.

Once it was race time, the University of Texas Longhorn Band marched across the track with the F1 Grid Kids to help welcome each driver. With red, white, and blue saturating the main straight and Reyna Roberts epic voice carrying the national anthem across the track, the USGP was feeling the true American camaraderie. While engines revved on the starting grid, every heart skipped a beat as the lights went out, and the crowds roared.

Countless onlookers groaned in frustration immediately, as George Russell (Mercedes-AMG Petronas) took Carlos Sainz (Scuderia Ferrari), who began in pole position, out of the race at Turn 1—COTA’s famous first turn and hill. Russell served a 5-second penalty in the pits before getting back on track.

Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo ORLEN) met his race’s end at Turn 19 during lap 18 when he oversteered into the gravel. Lucky Bottas fans in COTA’s Plaza Club presented by Alfa Romeo at Turn 19 were disappointed at this race result but thrilled to have one of their favorite drivers just a wave away. As Bottas hitched a ride back to the Paddock, the safety car was brought out until the track could be cleared … but it didn’t leave the racing lanes for long.

On the first lap out of the safety car, lap 21 Fernando Alonso (BWT Alpine) caught air off Lance Stroll’s (Aston Martin Cognizant) back left tire, leaving plenty of debris across the back straight and the young Canadian out of the race. Alonso, remarkably, was able to make it back into points position by the end of the GP, while Stroll was found at fault and retired due to the crash.

The last 25 laps of the USGP had fans on their feet or the edge of their seats. With Sainz out at the first turn of the race, Ferrari’s hopes went to Charles LeClerc to hold off current World Champion Max Verstappen (Oracle Red Bull). Both Verstappen and LeClerc entered the pits when, to Ferrari fans’ delight, Red Bull suffered a slow tire change and LeClerc overtook upon exiting. At that point, Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin Cognizant) led the race with Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-AMG Petronas) close behind; LeClerc held third and Verstappen fourth.

The next few laps saw the Ferrari and Red Bull leaders trading blows, back and forth around the famed COTA “esses” and turns off the back straight, slowly closing the gap to the top two places. Verstappen finally established control over the battle and pulled ahead. Vettel entered the pits for a late-race tire change when tragedy struck and he, too, suffered a slow stop. Falling from first to twelfth, fans regardless of team shouted in despair for the retiring legend. That left it up to COTA’s USGP wins record-holder Lewis Hamilton to hold off the Dutchman with LeClerc falling off Verstappen’s pace into the final laps. Worthy of note: Vettel earned the fan-voted #F1DriveroftheDay; a small prize in the face of his excellent performance.

With five laps to go, Verstappen dealt the killing blow, strongarming Hamilton into a second-place position where he would remain to the checkered flag.

The final standings of the USGP are as follows:

Max Verstappen (Oracle Red Bull)

Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-AMG Petronas)

Charles Leclerc (Scuderia Ferrari)

Sergio Perez (Oracle Red Bull)

George Russell (Mercedes-AMG Petronas)

Lando Norris (McLaren)

Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin Cognizant)

Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

Yuki Tsunoda (Scuderia AlphaTauri)

Esteban Ocon (BWT Alpine)

Alex Albon (Williams)

Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo ORLEN)

Pierre Gasly (Scuderia AlphaTauri)

Mick Schumacher (Haas)

Fernando Alonso (BWT Alpine)

Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)

Nicholas Latifi (Williams)

DNF Lance Stroll (Aston Martin Cognizant)

DNF Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo ORLEN)

DNF Carlos Sainz Jr. (Scuderia Ferrari)

What started as a cool, quiet day in Texas, turned into an international moment in history. Max Verstappen not only took the title as winner of the 10th United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas, but also secured Red Bull another Constructor’s Cup with 656 points. The last time the Constructor’s Cup was secured at the USGP was in 2017 by Lewis Hamilton for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team.

As the cars pulled into their garages, the gates opened, and attendees stormed the track to congratulate Verstappen and celebrate together. DJ Diesel, AKA Shaquille O’Neal, spun the third floor of the Paddock building into a poppin’ turntable lofted above the podium and continued the party with champagne and sick beats.

Once the track settled from the invasion, the crowd moved to the Grand Plaza in anticipation of Our Love to Admire alt-rock band, Interpol, at Germania Insurance Amphitheater. Celebrating their 20th anniversary, Interpol gave one of its best performances yet with the crowd raving to their distinctive, harmonized records.

Continuing with COTA’s history of record-breaking attendance, this year’s three-day Formula 1 Aramco United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas broke the Australian GP’s four-day attendance record set earlier this year and, though anticipated, is now officially the most attended F1 race in history.

Beyond the fans and the race action, this weekend also saw:

  • Haas announced their new title sponsor, MoneyGram.
  • Williams committed their second seat to American Logan Sargeant (pending he finishes the F2 season with enough points for his Super License).
  • Brad Pitt joined the USGP crowds to research for his upcoming F1 movie, set to film during race weekends of 2023. The film will feature real cars and their sponsors with Lewis Hamilton set as a producer.
  • Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, waved the checkered flag.
  • Verstappen tied with Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel for most wins in a season at 13 first place finishes.

Ready to take a break from the racing adrenaline? Check out our suggestions for what enjoy in Austin before traveling home.

Congratulations to the entire Red Bull team! We’ll see y’all next year.

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