Max Verstappen's historic F1 triumph after devastating Red Bull tragedy

Pictured left is Max Verstappen and on the Red Bull driver on the right with late team owner Dietrich Mateschitz.
Max Verstappen dedicated his victory at the US GP to late Red Bull team owner Dietrich Mateschitz. Pic: Getty

Max Verstappen has dedicated his record-equalling 13th win of the Formula One season to late Red Bull team owner Dietrich Mateschitz, whose death was announced on the eve of the United States Grand Prix.

Verstappen passed Lewis Hamilton late on in Austin to secure the constructors' title in style for a Red Bull team in mourning.

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The victory also means Verstappen now shares the record for most wins in a single F1 season alongside Michael Schumacher (2004) and Sebastian Vettel (2013).

Having already secured back-to-back F1 world championships, Verstappen dedicated his US GP success to Mateschitz, the team owner whose death at the age of 78 was announced before qualifying on Saturday.

Speaking moments after his triumph at the Circuit of the Americas, an emotional Verstappen said: "It was a tough one. It was all looking good, but then the pit stop was a bit longer than we would have liked so I had to fight myself forward again. But we gave it everything out there today.

"Of course, it's a very difficult weekend for us, so this one is dedicated to Dietrich himself, what he has done for everyone. The only thing we could do today was win and even though after the pit stop it was not looking great, I gave it everything out there, and I pushed to the limit to come back.

"We had a big chance to win the constructors' here, and of course you want to do that in style, and I think we did that today.

"It definitely means a lot to me and to the team because he was so important to the whole team, so instrumental, and of course it will all continue, but we really wanted to have a good result today and this is of course amazing."

The win continued 25-year-old Verstappen's run of dominance in 2022. He had already clinched the season championship in Japan two weeks earlier. Sunday's win tied him with Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel for most in a season with three races still to go.

"The only thing we could do today was win," Verstappen added, after appearing to brush away tears on the victory podium.

"This one is definitely dedicated to Dietrich. I pushed it to the limit to come back."

From left to right, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton stands on the podium with Red Bull's Max Verstappen at the US Grand Prix.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton (L) had to settle for second behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen (2nd L) at the US Grand Prix in Austin. Pic: Getty (PATRICK T. FALLON via Getty Images)

Verstappen's race was nearly undone by a rare slow pit stop by Red Bull midway through the race that dropped him well behind seven-time world champion Hamilton.

But Verstappen fought back to pass last season's rival for the championship on lap 50 of 56.

Hamilton finished second in his Mercedes and Charles Leclerc of Ferrari completed the podium in third.

There was cause for optimism for Hamilton - who had hoped to deliver a first win of the season for Mercedes - with the team again shaping as serious contenders for the remaining three races of the season.

Hamilton said: "I want to give a big shout-out to my team. We came here with upgrades, we closed the gap a little bit, we were so, so close. I did everything I could to stay ahead, but they were just a little bit too quick today.

"But great strategy, great race by Red Bull, and again my condolences to the [Red Bull] team.

"I'm shattered. The car was a handful today. It felt amazing, firstly, to be in the lead. That's something we've been working so hard on as a team through the year and I felt so much hope, but it's okay, we'll hold onto that, we'll keep pushing, we'll try to give it everything in these next three. It'll come to us at some stage."

Christian Horner, Adrian Newey, Sergio Perez, Max Verstappen and Helmut Marko, pictured here during a tribute to the late Dietrich Mateschitz.
Christian Horner, Adrian Newey, Sergio Perez, Max Verstappen and Helmut Marko stand in tribute to the late Dietrich Mateschitz. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) (Mark Thompson via Getty Images)

Red Bull dedicates win to Dietrich Mateschitz

For Verstappen and Red Bull, the win was a fitting way to honour a man that has dedicated so much to the team.

Since their founding, Red Bull have won six driver championships and five constructors' titles, cementing Mateschitz's legacy in the sport.

"We wanted to do that in style and I think we did that today," Verstappen said.

Mateschitz, the Austrian billionaire co-founder of the Red Bull energy drinks global empire, bought the Jaguar team in 2004 and rebranded it as Red Bull in 2005. He added a second team to the Red Bull stable when he bought the Minardi program and renamed it Toro Rosso in 2006 to be a program for training younger drivers. That team is now Alpha Tauri.

Daniel Ricciardo is seen here with Red Bull team owner Dietrich Mateschitz during his time with the F1 team. Pic: Getty
Daniel Ricciardo is seen here with Red Bull team owner Dietrich Mateschitz during his time with the F1 team. Pic: Getty

The team brought a teenage Verstappen into their racing program and promoted him to F1 in 2015 when he was just 17, with the hopes he could become the youngest champion in series history.

Only Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton's dominance across the 2014-2020 period prevented that.

But Mateschitz, who had been reportedly ailing for months and died at age 78, lived long enough to see Verstappen win two championships and start what could be another dominant era for the team he founded.

F1 held a brief tribute to honour Mateschitz before the race. Large signs of "Danke Didi" (Thank you, Didi) were posted on the video screens and Vettel, who won four championships with Red Bull and now races with Aston Martin, appeared to be fighting back tears.

The Scuderia AlphaTauri team, pictured here during a tribute to the late Dietrich Mateschitz at the US Grand Prix.
The Scuderia AlphaTauri team stand for a tribute to the late Dietrich Mateschitz at the US Grand Prix. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) (Chris Graythen via Getty Images)

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