A 2021 throwback, big incidents, Safety Cars, penalties and brilliant overtakes – the 2022 US Grand Prix had the lot.
Whilst 2022 has not been what you would call a boring season, despite Max Verstappen’s dominance, the US Grand Prix really did feel like one of the most exciting races of the year. It was a race of incidents, subsequent deployments of the Safety Car, and yet more icing on the Sebastian Vettel retirement cake.
1 – King’s Lynn Kamikaze
There’s no doubt that George Russell is a talent. He is amazing over one lap, possesses an intelligent racecraft beyond his years, and in the right car, is an ‘oven-ready’ World Champion. But in 2022, we have seen some questionable moves from the King’s Lynn man. Many blamed Russell for the first-corner collision at Silverstone, resulting in Zhou Guanyu wedged between barrier and catch fence. He earned himself a five-second penalty for his role in the coming-together with Sergio Perez. And in Singapore, Russell made contact with Valtteri Bottas and Mick Schumacher, coming under fire in both instances. This weekend in Austin, Russell touched polesitter Carlos Sainz in T1, ending the Spaniard’s race and his chances of a second victory. Russell apologized for the incident afterward.
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 23, 2022
2 – Hamilton vs Verstappen 2.0
2021 was of course the season in which we witnessed one of the most fierce rivalries in decades. But in 2022, due to the lack of competitiveness in the Mercedes, we have been starved of any action between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. We had a fleeting moment of it in Zandvoort, but in Austin, we were treated to a proper battle between the old foes again. For a moment it looked as if Hamilton may be able to make a proper challenge, but ultimately, the Red Bull was just too strong. After the passing of Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz over the weekend, it was a fitting tribute that Verstappen held on to win the race.
3 – Lucky 13 for Max
By winning the race, Max Verstappen has now equaled the record for most wins in a season, tying with Michael Schumacher (2004) and Sebastian Vettel (2011). The Dutchman has three more races to claim the record for himself. Look for a feature on this and those who’ve set the record in the past this week.
4 – Bitter, sweet, and then bitter for Fernando
It was an eventful US Grand Prix for Fernando Alonso. The old campaigner was involved in a whopping crash with his 2023 team-mate Lance Stroll, instigating an awkward conversation between the two at Aston Martin HQ in the close season. Despite becoming airborne and subsequently brushing the barrier, Alonso was able to recover to finish a remarkable 7th. However, after a late protest by Haas, he was relegated back to 15th via a retrospective 30-second penalty after it was deemed his car was not race-safe after the damage sustained, in particular the right-side mirror he lost later in the race.
BREAKING: Fernando Alonso has received a 30-second penalty as his car was sent back on track in an unsafe condition
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 24, 2022
5 – Seb’s making his point(s)
2022 has been a difficult season for Sebastian Vettel. After missing the opening two rounds through Coronavirus, the 4-time German Champion has been often out of the points. In the summer he announced his retirement from Formula 1. Since then, he has been driving with a ‘devil-may-care’ attitude and has had some brilliant performances. 6th place in Japan and 7th in Austin earned him back-to-back Driver of the Day awards. Vettel’s drive yesterday garnered serious praise, notably from Jenson Button, who proclaimed his last-gasp overtake on Kevin Magnussen “one of the best moves [he’d] ever seen”.