Saturday GP USA 2022 | Red Bull mourns the death of founder Mateschitz

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Formula 1’s winter break has been underway for some time now, meaning fans of the sport won’t have to wait too long for the next Grand Prix. However, the premier class of motorsport has had another interesting season with great races, controversies and political games. During the long period without Formula 1 races, F1Maximum takes you along the most interesting Grand Prix weekends of 2022. This edition focuses on the Saturday of the United States Grand Prix.

The budget ceiling was also the subject of discussion on Saturday. For example, Red Bull Racing team boss Christian Horner lashed out at the competition. “It is very disappointing that a team like McLaren accuses you of foul play without the team knowing the facts. We also hear numbers in the media that are completely wrong. This only hurts us as a brand. Even children of our employees are bullied at school. The behavior of our competitors is really sickening.”

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was not exactly impressed by Horner’s words. “I almost shed a tear when I heard it. It’s a bit of reverse psychology, because now you wonder who the victim is. I think the other nine teams are the victims. It is a fact that nine out of ten teams have remained below the ceiling. There is now only one team that says they slipped on some things, but we are suffering from the same thing. We also thought about how many sandwiches we should give to our people.’

F1 world shocked by death of Mateschitz

Later in the day it was time for the third and final free practice. An important one, as the second free practice was used as a tire test for Pirelli. In that third practice, Max Verstappen clocked the fastest time. The Dutchman was three tenths of a second faster than Charles Leclerc, who in turn was one tenth faster than teammate Carlos Sainz.

Between the third free practice and qualifying, the Formula 1 world was then interrupted by sad news. For example, it came out that Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz has died at the age of 78 after a long illness. “This is very sad,” Horner said in a statement. However, he had still received the title win from Verstappen. ‘It’s great that he was able to experience that. He was always our biggest supporter and he really was the backbone of this team. We should celebrate that too. We owe everything to him.’

Sainz takes pole, death of Red Bull founder cuts into Verstappen

Still, it was just time to qualify. It was a qualification where it was known in advance that Leclerc and Sergio Pérez had to take grid penalties. So they wouldn’t be on pole anyway, but that didn’t matter given the result. Pole went to Sainz for the second time in his career, who managed to beat Verstappen in Q3. The Dutchman finished third, but started on P2 due to the grid penalty of second man Leclerc.

Sainz was logically a happy man after qualifying. “It was quite difficult out there. Namely a lot of wind, which means that in some corners you never know what to expect. You have to be confident that the car will stick to the ground and have a lot of speed without knowing what the wind will do. It was a bit of an adventure out there, but it was cool.”

The Ferrari driver was realistic about his chances. “We know what Red Bull is capable of on Sunday. That way they are favorites for Sunday because they always manage to put together a really good Sunday with tire management and with race execution. So it will be a good test to try that as well. I would really like to win on Sunday. This is my goal and I’m going to try.’

Verstappen, meanwhile, had his head elsewhere, namely the death of Mateschitz. “Of course the news came out just before qualifying. That cuts into it and makes it more difficult. In the end you try to make the best of it. Nevertheless, Verstappen looks back on qualifying with satisfaction. “Qualifying went pretty well. It was difficult to get the tires up to temperature and then you end up just third. I think we have a good race car. That is the most important thing for us.’

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