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Max Verstappen equals US Grand Prix single-season win record on emotional weekend for Red Bull




CNN

Max Verstappen fought back from pit stop drama to win the United States Grand Prix on Sunday, handing Red Bull the constructors’ championship on an emotional weekend for the team.

The Dutchman’s victory came just a day after it was announced that Red Bull owner and co-founder Dietrich Mateschitz had died aged 78.

As well as making his energy drink a market leader, the Austrian billionaire founded the racing team that has dominated the sport in recent years.

“That one was for Dietrich,” Verstappen said after crossing the finish line in front.

The 25-year-old won the drivers’ title with relative ease in Japan two weeks ago, but was forced to work for his win in Austin, Texas, which tied the record for most race wins in a season, a record he now shares with Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel with 13.

Verstappen had started second on the grid behind Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz but took the lead after a slow start from the Spaniard.

Things only got worse for Sainz after he spun after contact from George Russell at the first corner, eventually having to retire from the race altogether.

Now in front, Verstappen looked in control but his lead was completely gone after a failed pit stop on lap 36 of the 56-lap race.

The stoppage lasted over 11 seconds and Red Bull mechanics scrambled to find a replacement gun after Verstappen’s left front tire was not tightened enough.

“Magnificent,” Verstappen said sarcastically, returning to the track in sixth gear and struggling to regain position.

The world champion didn’t mess around and reclaimed the lead with six laps to go using his car’s impressive handling and straight-line speed to overtake familiar foe Lewis Hamilton.

” It was hard. I had to fight again to move on. We gave it our all today,” he told reporters after the race.

Despite winning his first constructors’ championship since 2013, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner suspended the celebrations to honor Mateschitz’s impact.

“A very emotional moment, a great moment for the team and for everyone at Red Bull,” he told reporters. “A tribute to Dietrich for everything he has done for the team, for the company.”

It was a dramatic run for its Hollywood audience, with the likes of Brad Pitt watching from the stands.

Two safety cars caused chaos in the standings, the second triggered by a high-speed crash between Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso.

In a bid to prevent Alonso from overtaking, Stroll had moved in front of the Spaniard, which sent the Alpine driver’s car pitching up in the air.

He returned to the track and hit the barrier, but Alonso escaped the injury and continued racing to finish seventh.

Hamilton, who was so close to his first race win of the season, had to settle for second while Charles Leclerc took third.

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