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Tuesday 6th December
Formula One

US GP: Seb reminds us why we’ll miss him

Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel produced a brilliant drive to P7 in a US GP packed with incident

Published: 24 Oct 2022
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Well that was a bit good, wasn’t it? The US Grand Prix delivered in style in Austin with a race stuffed full of action, not least Max Verstappen passing Lewis Hamilton for the win late on to hand Red Bull the constructors’ championship just hours after founder Dietrich Mateschitz had sadly passed away.

The Dutchman had swept into the lead at the first corner as polesitter Carlos Sainz was taken out by George Russell, and only one outcome looked likely until a slow pit stop blew the race wide open by dropping Verstappen behind Hamilton and Charles Leclerc.

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After an intense duel Verstappen eventually cleared Leclerc, and despite bringing upgrades to the US the reinvigorated Mercedes was still powerless to stop the world champion surging through for a record-equalling 13th win of the season.

Further back there was drama as Lance Stroll - who’d driven well all weekend and had run as high as third early in the grand prix - jinked left on the back straight and tagged Fernando Alonso, sending the Alpine quite literally flying into the barriers and forcing the safety car out for a second time.

Somehow - and we’re still not quite sure how he managed it - Alonso didn’t retire on the spot, and instead recovered from last to run in sixth place before being pipped by McLaren’s Lando Norris on the last lap. An incredible drive in every sense of the word; what a pity he got a 30-second penalty afterwards after Haas protested his damaged wing mirror on safety grounds.

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And then there was Vettel. Oh Seb, we’ll miss you next season. Starting 10th on the grid, a lightning start promoted the four-time champ to fifth just one corner into the race, and at one stage Vettel was leading as he stayed out longer than the front-runners on his second stint.

A comfortable sixth place looked within reach, but like Verstappen he too endured a nightmare pit stop, after which he rejoined in 13th and a promising weekend’s work looked to have gone *adopts Texan accent* down the can.

But wait! Vettel was having none of it, and with his Aston showing decent pace he began picking his way through the field, soon climbing back into the top 10 before finishing with a flourish as he found a way past Kevin Magnussen for P8 with a daring move on the penultimate corner. With Alonso’s penalty of course, that became P7.

“I really enjoyed the last few laps, especially the final-lap fight with Kevin,” he said afterwards. "When I crossed the finish line, the adrenaline was really pumping.” Ours too Seb, ours too.

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