In qualifying for the Formula 1 US Grand Prix, Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz secures pole position ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. But the death of Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz overshadows everything including questions about the brand’s continued existence in F1, prompting Verstappen to react.
Max Verstappen looked upset. The missed pole position in Austin became a minor matter on a difficult day for the Red Bull family. In qualifying for the US Grand Prix, the Formula 1 world champion lacked his usual dominance two weeks after his early title win and missed out on first place on the grid for Sunday’s race.
However, the death of Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz, which was announced shortly beforehand, clearly overshadowed the sporting events on the track. “It was terrible news”.
The company founder, who died at the age of 78, had “done a lot for me and my career”, said Verstappen, who managed only the third-best time in 1:34.448 minutes behind the Ferrari duo Carlos Sainz (1:34.356) and Charles Leclerc (1:34.421).
What kind of provisions Dietrich Mateschitz has made for the Red Bull F1 racing outfit’s future is uncertain though many F1 observers were shocked that the Milton Keynes squad was in negotiations with Porsche to sell half of their team. Observers feel that this was an action put in place to secure the future of the racing team with the knowledge that Mateschitz was seriously ill.
Nevertheless, the Dutchman will start the fourth-last race of the season in second place. Leclerc was demoted ten places due to a change of drive components on his Ferrari.
Sainz was happy about his third career pole: “It was great fun. I put in a good lap without any mistakes.”
Verstappen can set Schumacher record
“We tried to give everything in qualifying. It wasn’t enough by a very narrow margin. But we still have a race to go, so we’ll try to make him proud,” Verstappen said.
Verstappen has plenty of ambition for the race. With a triumph, he would equal the record for most wins in a season held by Michael Schumacher and Vettel (both 13). At the same time, victory would give Red Bull triumph in the Constructors’ World Championship – and also honour Mateschitz’s memory.
Sebastian Vettel will start from tenth on the grid in the Aston Martin, but will benefit from the penalties for Leclerc and Fernando Alonso.
Mick Schumacher, meanwhile, is in danger of missing out on the points he had hoped for once again and falling further behind in the battle for a regular place with the Haas team for the 2023 season. The 23-year-old spun in the first corner of a fast lap in Q1 and was unable to finish higher than 19th.