Red Bull Claims F1 Constructors' Title As Max Verstappen Wins Texas Grand Prix

Formula One / Comments

That's two out of three goals achieved.

We want to extend a heartfelt thanks to Max Verstappen's pit crew for making a mess of the Flying Dutchman's final pit stop. It stopped the Texas Grand Prix from ending up as yet another procession, with SuperMax leading the pack. This time, Verstappen had to fight for the win, leading to some epic racing.

Still, we feel done in by George Russell, who took Carlos Sainz out of the running less than 20 seconds into the race. Sainz qualified in first place and was primed to win his second Grand Prix of the season. With the battle for silver so hotly contested, a win would have put Sainz in the mix with Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez. More on that later.

For now, the big news. Red Bull has officially achieved the two goals it set for itself so many years ago. Max Verstappen is officially the world champion, and Red Bull secured the constructors' title. Mercedes-Benz's dominance in the hybrid era is over.

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Red Bull Has Two More Targets

Now that Verstappen is the champion and Red Bull gets to take the constructors' trophy to Milton Keynes, there's only one target left. You can bet the Energy Drinks company will do everything possible to claim that silver medal for Checo.

Red Bull will also want to put the cost cap breach debacle behind it. We made our feelings on the topic known a while ago, but now we at least have concrete figures from reliable sources. Racing News 365 reported the breach to be $1.8 million, and as noted earlier, it has to do with gardening leave, sick pay, and catering costs.

There was also a tax dispute with the UK government, which pushed the team over. Before the tax snafu, Red Bull was $4 million under, and after the situation was rectified, it was $1.8 million over. The latter is an interesting talking point, and it's worth investigating how tax legislation impacts the various teams.

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We have to clarify a few things here. Red Bull has a generous sick leave policy and is generally rated as one of the best companies to work for. Some of you might not be familiar with the term gardening leave. It's when someone in a high-profile position, with access to sensitive information, decides to leave for another team. These individuals still have a contract left with Red Bull, but they can't be allowed near anything that might give the team they're heading to an advantage. So Red Bull pays them to stay at home and do some gardening.

We've seen many memes about Red Bull's catering bill, but it's a well-known party team. The team's co-founder and owner, Dietrich Mateschitz, who sadly passed away on Saturday, famously told Christian Horner that he wanted Red Bull to be unlike any other team. He wanted them to have fun, which is why the famous Red Bull Energy Station exists.

Red Bull and the FIA were scheduled to have talks at the Grand Prix this weekend, but those talks were pushed to this week following the death of Mateschitz.

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So Near But So Far For Sir Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes-Benz's strategy for Lewis Hamilton was on point. He qualified fifth but, due to grid penalties, ended up in third place behind Sainz and Verstappen. As mentioned, Sainz got tagged by Russell, and Hamilton went wide and claimed second place. Hamilton managed to stay within two seconds of Verstappen for most of the race, but Red Bull's disastrous pit stop on lap 39 put Verstappen way behind Vettel in first and Hamilton in second, and Leclerc in third.

Hamilton took the lead on lap 41 of 56, and the general consensus was that it would be impossible for Verstappen to catch him. He was taking tiny bites out of the lap time, but the timing suggested that he'd only be within striking distance on the final lap.

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In the end, Hamilton only led for nine laps. Verstappen was, once again, in a class of one. He brought that striking distance down by six laps and finished just over five seconds ahead of Hamilton.

So, sorry, track limit conspiracy theorists. Even if Verstappen received the obligatory five-second track limit penalty, he still would have won this race.

Still, it was brilliant to see Hamilton leading a race again. And he didn't give Verstappen an inch during the overtake. The battle for first went on for three more corners after the overtake, and Verstappen nearly lost it after going slightly sideways. Hamilton's first victory this season continues to elude him, but three races are still left.

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Leclerc On Fire

Charles Leclerc put in a brilliant performance. Due to grid penalties, he found himself in 12th place on the grid.

Watching him battle his way through the field was glorious to behold, and seeing him get out in front of Verstappen during that previously mentioned atrocious pit stop put a massive grin on our faces. We knew the battle would be fierce, and it was. Verstappen did the overtake into turn one, and Leclerc claimed it back with a switcheroo at turn two. It was nearly as epic as the final battle between Verstappen and Hamilton for first place.

Thanks to his third-place finish, Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez have swapped places again. Going into the race, Perez was one point ahead in the battle for second, but now Leclerc is two points ahead on 267. It will eventually come down to these two now that Sainz and Russell are out of contention.

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Vettel And Verstappen Reach Milestones

Vettel's short stint at the front was enough to take him over 3,500 laps led in F1. That's a stunning achievement and more than enough reason to name him the driver of the race. The fans chose well. Vettel will retire on a high note.

Max Verstappen also matched a long-standing record, which even Hamilton has not yet achieved. He bagged his 13th Grand Prix win in a single season, tying him in first place with Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher. As Verstappen rightly said before the race, it's not a fair comparison.

Vettel won his 13 races during the 2014 season. There were only 19 races that season. Verstappen won his 13th race at the Texas Grand Prix, which just so happened to be the 19th race of the season.

Schumacher won his lucky 13 during the 2004 season. There were 18 races that season, and Schumacher got to 13 at the penultimate race at the Japanese Grand Prix.

That gives Schumacher a win rate of 72.22%, while Vettel is on 69.42%. With three races left, we'll have to wait to calculate Verstappen's win rate.

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What Next?

F1 is heading to Mexico next, and Red Bull will likely do everything possible to get Checo on the top of the podium in front of his home crowd. He deserves nothing less for all his sacrifices for the team so far. Heck, Perez deserves his own Honda Civic Type R limited edition, complete with a broken front spoiler and a Mexican flag on the roof.

Over the years, we've learned never to underestimate the home-ground advantage, and Perez has the car and the talent to win the race and scoop that second place from right under Leclerc.

As for second place in the constructors' title, things are looking good for Ferrari. Despite losing Sainz early in the race, it remains second on 459 points. Mercedes-Benz is in third with 416 points, proving that consistency will get you far in F1.

The battle we're most interested in is between Alpine and McLaren. They're duking it out for fourth, with Alpine at 144 points and McLaren at 138.

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