Vettel at US Grand Prix Red Bull Content Pool

“McLaren has won one constructors’ title in the last 20 years,” said Mark Webber. “That proves how hard they are to get, and yet we’ve won three of them in a row. That’s going some.”

Only three other teams in the history of Formula One have taken three consecutive constructors’ world titles, so the latest landmark in the short history of Red Bull Racing isn’t to be sniffed at. They’ve proved once again that they’re the best of the best; they are the benchmark in F1.

It was Sebastian Vettel’s second place in the United States Grand Prix on Sunday that gave Red Bull Racing an unassailable 73-point lead in the teams’ championship, with only next weekend’s season finale in Brazil remaining. Such was the magnitude of the feat that rival team bosses have been happy to praise their rivals.

“Red Bull has been very impressive,” said Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali. “The team has proved what can be done and it’s now up to us to close the gap over the winter.”

The victory celebrations went on late into the night in Austin, and why not? The Brazilian Grand Prix can wait, for now. The release of emotion was inevitable after a season-long battle for supremacy in the most challenging racing series in the world.

“The Constructors’ is what we use to measure ourselves against our competitors,” said RBR team principal Christian Horner. “For every member of the team, it’s how we gauge our performance. It’s a testimony to all the hard work, the long hours and dedication from every department. It’s a very proud moment for every single member of the team and Red Bull.”

The championship spoils came at the end of an epic weekend of racing in Austin, Texas. The Circuit of the Americas was F1’s 10th different venue in America and it was an immediate hit with the traveling circus. The drivers enjoyed the challenges provided by the fast and undulating racetrack – “It’s pretty awesome,” said Vettel after Friday’s opening practice session – and the teams had everything they needed in the garages in order to work effectively.

More than 117,000 fans turned out to watch the first race in America for five years, creating a fabulous atmosphere all day. When the drivers were driven around the track in American muscle cars on the drivers’ parade, they were given huge cheers, and it was the same on the parade lap prior to the start of the race.

Vettel lined up in pole position, having been fastest in every practice session on Friday and Saturday morning and dominating qualifying. The paddock sages predicted that he would take some stopping in the race, given that he was starting on the clean side of the grid, and they were right.

“The new asphalt is incredibly slippery,” said Red Bull technical chief Adrian Newey. “The drivers are comparing it to driving on ice, so the side of the grid where the cars have been running all weekend will hold a big advantage at the start.”

Predictably, Vettel got away well from pole, while Lewis Hamilton spun his wheels in P2. Webber, who’d started in third place, snuck in behind Seb under braking for Turn 1 and what followed was some of the most intense racing we’ve seen all year. Webber and Hamilton were at it hammer and tongs during the early laps, until Mark’s race ended after 16 laps with an alternator failure, thus ending his record run of 59 consecutive races without a mechanical failure.

That left a dramatic dice for the lead between Vettel and Hamilton. They were rarely separated by more than 1.5s, but Seb seemed to have everything under control up front – until he stumbled across the HRT of Narain Karthikeyan on lap 42. He could do nothing but sit on Karthikeyan’s gearbox while they passed through the fast ‘S’ bends at the start of the lap and that allowed Hamilton onto his gearbox going into the DRS zone on the back straight.

Bam – the McLaren driver dived to the outside and took the lead. He went on to beat Vettel by 0.6s.

“It was a very good race and I did everything I could,” said Seb afterwards. “Unfortunately I hit traffic at the wrong time and lost the gap to Lewis. He used his chance well; I tried to cover the inside but he had more speed. We showed we had the pace today, which is why we’ve won the constructors’ title.”

This latest world title success for Red Bull Racing takes its tally of world titles to five in its eight-year history. Sebastian now goes into next weekend’s season finale in Brazil with a 13-point lead over Fernando Alonso in the drivers’ championship; can he convert that into title success number six for the team and become the youngest triple world champion in history at the same time?

The stakes couldn’t be higher. We’re promised a fantastic end to an already hugely successful year for Red Bull Racing.


 


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