Formula 1

RedBull clinch the Constructor’s Title as Hamilton rises to P2 in a scintillating race at Texas – 2022 U.S. GP race analysis

A Grievous Raceday Eve

Dietrich passed away on the eve of race day. His departure deeply saddened the team and those he was surrounded with. He played a crucial role in many lives, on and off the grid. The impact of his passing was felt by all. The team he had part in building, won its 5th constructor’s title after 8 years of title drought. The team honoured Dietrich by winning the race and the constructor’s title. The family and team recieved condolences from Drivers, acquaintances, fans alike.

Race day

What a race! A package of drama, wins and losses, ups and downs, excitement and heartbreaks. The U.S. Grand Prix cooked up a storm of a race, served on the hot asphalt of Austin. Max claimed a well earned and deserved win in honour of the late Co owner of Redbull and Owner of Redbull F1 team, Dietrich Mateschitz. A 7th podium in P2 for Lewis after leading the race for 9 laps and a nostalgic battle with Max. Leclerc settled for a P3 after his struggles to pass the midfield and tirelessly battling Max for the win.

With this, Ferrari lose to Red bull in the pursuit for the Constructor’s Championship. Their shortcomings being their blunderous strategies, indecisiveness in handling drivers and unreliable engine components. Although Redbull also had unreliability from the very start and it was way worse; But they had perfect co-ordination among drivers, perfectly executed plans and proper strategies for most crises. This was the biggest difference that saw Ferrari’s huge advantage shrink and eventually disappear.

Mercedes have maintained a relatively steady graph, making the most out of their limited package of the year, W13. Although one step at a time, the upgrades have given signs of package improvement. It is still in the dark if Merc will follow the Podless design in the season ahead. The Final upgrades here for the same reason.

The Main (race)Course.

A Chaotic Start

It was lights out and off the line was a better start for Max, consequently a better raceline into T1. This led Carlos to look to the outside of the track. While a late braker Merc duo saw Russel take the inside, and T-boning Sainz. a scurry of drivers passed Sainz on the 1st turn leaving him last to follow behind. A true heartbreak and badluck as a water leak from an impact to the radiator saw Sainz into the pits, therefore his retirement. George, however, continued his race in P4 and astonishingly so, only got minor damage to his front wing. It was enough to not recieve a black and orange flag. Stewards slapped him with a 5 sec stop-Go penalty. A phenomenal start by Vettel saw him in P5, with his teammate in P3, more on their race in a bit.

Verstappen avoided all the hassle behind and weaved through the S’s with Lewis and the rest following behind. By lap 2, Leclerc had made up 3 positions. But for now, Mercedes were the force to be dealt with. Moreover, notable overtakes by this lap were Vettel and Tsunoda. Both making 5 places up the grid in P5 and P14 respectively.

The Race ahead.

By lap 6, Perez had his front wing end plate gone after a minor contact before in the S’s. Although, it did not hinder his pace by much as he passed the Aston duo of Lance and Seb. This sandwiched both the merc between the Redbulls. Top 6 occupied by 3 teams in quite an order. A spin at T6 saw Latifi into the pits for fresh Meds.

Verstappen radioed about his struggles against the winds quite a few times. Meanwhile drivers started diving into the pits by Lap 10, with the first ones being Albon for mediums and Zhou for hards. Lap 13 saw the 1st of the front runners, Lewis, to pits after the “Hammertime” radio. Lewis was put onto hards and emerged in P7. Others followed behind with Verstappen and GR pulling into the pits, Russel serving the 5 sec stop-go penalty, which saw him drop back into P9, whereas Max coming out just behind Lance. Clearing him was not a challenge. It was the Ferrari in the back.

The fear came into reality with Bottas spinning on Lap 18, causing a safety car. This meant a cheap pitstop for Leclerc and a condensed field for the rolling start. And so, followed behind Vettel, Alonso and others. Leclerc came out behind Checo in P4 in the safety car queue.

A nostalgic restart.

The post safety car race resumption was reminiscent of the 2021 season rivalry of Max and Lewis. The safety car entered the pits at the end of Lap 21. Green flags waved, and the race was underway, with Max leading the pack but not long after at lap 24. A collision between Alonso and Stroll brought out the red flag.

A second restart

Alonso had DRS and was in Lance’s slipstream. In an attempt to fend off a speedy Alonso on the straight, he moved left, causing contact and sending him almost airborne. The race was red flagged due to a lot of loose debris. Even so, Alonso was lucky enough to only have a damaged front wing, which he got replaced and continued the race. Stroll, however, had effectively ended his race there with punctured tyres and the rear bashed badly. Alonso made a great recovery drive to P7, but tumbled down after FIA imposed a post race penalty.

Breathtaking piece of motor racing.

The debris was cleared by lap 26 and the drivers were ready to go. Verstappen again showed a decent start escaping Lewis, with Perez and Leclerc in the contention for that P3. Leclerc having a tyre age advantage closed in on Perez and gave him scares at T12 on Lap 29. Leclerc went for the inside on the next lap at the same T12, this time a successful rapid divebomb.

Lap 35 starts and Lewis is the 1st of front ones to pit, an undercut on Max. Redbull’s attempt to avoid it ended as the exact opposite. Lap 38, Max had an extremely slow stop, lost a lot of time and worst of all, a position to Charles. The next lap started with Max ahead into T1 but a switcheroo from Leclerc and more resistance up until T12. Meanwhile, Checo was in P1, Seb in P2 and Lewis comfortably in the net lead. A while later Seb led his 3,500th lap of his career, an eye watering moment for Seb fans, reminding of those dominant Vettel days. But the taste was soured soon after His pitstop was messed up. This dropped him out of the points for now.

While here, Max was in hot pursuit for the top spot with a 4 sec gap between him and Lewis. It was like 2021 all over again, aside from a slower Merc though. A gallant battle from Lewis and Max up until the second last lap, filled the spectators with adrenaline and refreshed the race. With Lewis reporting Max crossing Track limits, FIA made sure to keep Lewis in check too by showing him a black and orange flag for the same.

Lando Norris also showed his talent in the closing stages as he went on an overtaking spree claiming P6 finally. Gasly was yet again penalised for not staying under 10 car lengths of the Safety car queue and dropped into P13.

The Last lap heat.

Although it was Max’s win that let out the crackers, the show was stolen by a “possessed” Seb. Vettel yet again silencing the doubters by showing his skill against K Mag. Vettel went into a sort of Beast mode after an all out radio message. With a 0.9 gap at the start of the last lap and loads of battery backup, Vettel came at Kevin at the T14 and went on the outside at T16. Vettel claimed a brilliantly recovered P8( which would convert to P7 later on post Alonso) at the last corner last lap. A wonderful spectacle indeed.

With Max’s win, Ferrari are totally out of contention for either titles. 3 rounds left for P2 and P4 spot in the constructor’s championship. The battle between Alpine and McLaren is on.

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