The group of energy drinks won its first Formula 1 constructors’ title for the first time since 2013 at the United States Grand Prix thanks to the victory of Max Verstappen and the fourth place of Sergio Pérez. It was the 13th victory of the year for the Dutchman, thus equaling the record he now shares with Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, as well as the team’s 15th after completely dominating.
The Dutchman bounced back after a gun failure during a tire change cost him around nine seconds over Charles Leclerc and trial leader Lewis Hamilton and it was thanks to one of the key features of the RB18, top speed.
The Monegasque Ferrari raced from 12th on the grid to get ahead of his rival after the bad stop in the pits, but he could only hold a couple of laps there before Verstappen overtook him, the same thing that happened with the Briton from Mercedes in the final laps with DRS on the back straight.
“It is not the first race in which they have competed with a top speed advantage over the others,” said the Maranello-based team’s sporting director, Laurent Mekies. “They managed to deal with that, and when there are some battles like today, it’s an advantage, it’s something we always try to balance, between lap time and lead.”
“The bottom line is that they had a bit of a pace advantage today, like most Sundays this year,” he continued. “They can have very good protection against us and attacks because of their speed down the straight.”
Max Verstapen’s victory extended the team ‘s consecutive winning streak to eight , as the last time someone stood on the top of the podium without being a Red Bull driver was at the Austrian Grand Prix in July, when Charles Leclerc won with Ferrari.
His teammate in the Italian team, Carlos Sainz, started the test from the first place, but a contact with George Russell in the first corner left his car very damaged and he had to retire.
“It was a bit painful to lose Carlos [Sainz] like that after a few hundred meters, and it’s quite rare for it to happen,” Mekies explained. “It’s part of the game, but it’s a shame, because it was a great opportunity, and I think all of us, Red Bull and Mercedes, were evenly matched on pace, so it would have been great to have been fighting with Carlos as well.”
Charles Leclerc finished third in Austin, but admitted he was a bit disappointed at how fast he had been and regretted his penalty: “Starting 12th with Charles, fighting for second was a brilliant way to move forward, so well done by Charles Leclerc.” him and for the team.
“It’s been a good way to progress, I think at some point there was a good fight with Max [Verstappen],” he said. “He has put up a lot of fight but we are probably still a little bit behind Max in race conditions but Charles has done well.
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