AUSTIN, Texas — Max Verstappen passed Lewis Hamilton late to earn a record-tying 13th win of the season at the United States Grand Prix on Sunday, and delivered a victory to honor the memory of Red Bull team founder and owner Dietrich Mateschitz.
Verstappen’s race was nearly undone by a rare slow pit stop by Red Bull midway through the race that dropped him well behind Hamilton. But Verstappen fought back to pass last season’s rival for the championship on lap 50 of 56.
Verstappen then had to hold off the pestering Hamilton through the final laps as his team warned him not to exceed track limits that would draw a penalty.
The win as a relief for Red Bull. The team had announced shortly before qualifying on Saturday that Mateschitz had died at age 78. Verstappen vowed he’d give everything to get the win to honor him.
The win continued 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.
Since its founding, Red Bull has won six driver championships and five constructors’ titles. Verstappen’s win clinched this season’s team championship
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 renamed it Toro Rosso in 2006 to be a program for training younger drivers. That team is now Alpha Tauri.
The team brought a teenage Verstappen into its 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. Mercedes‘ dominance over 2014-2020 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 honor 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.