Max Verstappen schwitzt und siegt

Asia's Tech News Daily

Red Bull schmiedet einen Plan, der fast misslingt. Der WM-Leader muss alles geben, um in Austin zu gewinnen. Die Alfa-Romeo-Fahrer Räikkönen und Giovinazzi verpassen die Punkte.

Max Verstappen schwitzt und siegt
© Foto: Keystone Ein Kopf-an-Kopf-Rennen bis zur letzten Runde: Max Verstappen (l.) und Lewis Hamilton schenkten sich nichts.

Eigentlich wollten die Strategen von Red Bull doch nur, dass es ihrem Max Verstappen nicht gleich ergeht wie seinem Widersacher Lewis Hamilton ein paar Runden zuvor. Doch der Plan, geschmiedet bei diesem Grand Prix der USA, missrät beinahe noch. Plötzlich nämlich taucht der siebenfache Weltmeister in seinem Mercedes bedrohlich auf im Rückspiegel des Niederländers. Zwei Runden sind da noch zu fahren in Texas, der Rückstand des Briten ist kleiner als eine Sekunde, auch, weil Mick Schumacher in seinem lahmen Haas Verstappen aufhält, als dieser ihn überrunden will.

Es geht um den Sieg. Um wichtige Punkte im engen Kampf um den WM-Titel. Der Brite ist kurz davor rasant unterwegs gewesen auf dem Circuit, es gibt Runden, in denen er dem WM-Leader zwei Sekunden abnimmt. Es ist eine kleine Weltreise in der Formel 1. Doch Verstappen beweist in dieser Schlussphase, welch ausserordentlich talentierter Rennfahrer er ist, er wehrt sich mit vermeintlich unterlegenem Material und rettet den Sieg in extremis über die Ziellinie. So nimmt er die letzten fünf Rennen mit zwölf Punkten Vorsprung in Angriff.

Den Start gewinnt Hamilton

Der Plan, den sich Red Bull ausgedacht hatte, ging so: Als Führender soll Verstappen vor dem zweitplatzierten Hamilton neue Reifen holen. Das, damit dieser nicht früher in die Boxengasse kommt und dann mit frischen Pneus derart schnelle Zeiten fährt, dass er die Führung übernehmen kann, wenn der eigene Boxenstopp ansteht. Also kommt Verstappen schon in Runde 30 von 56 zum zweiten und letzten Halt – und bleibt Hamilton noch sieben Runden draussen. Entsprechend hat der Titelverteidiger in der Schlussphase die neueren Reifen und gelingt ihm das Kunststück fast noch, dieses Rennen zu gewinnen.

Dieses geht schon spektakulär los. Hamilton bestätigt, dass Startposition 2 beim GP der USA kein Nachteil sein muss – im Gegenteil, er fährt auf der Innenseite Richtung erste Kurve los und biegt dank hervorragender Reaktionszeit vor Verstappen ein, obwohl ihn der WM-Leader heftig nach aussen gedrängt hat. In der Folge ist Verstappen der Jäger, deutlich rasanter auch als Hamilton. «Er rutscht nur, ich bin viel schneller», funkt er.

Doch er kommt nicht vorbei, Red Bull entscheidet sich deshalb in Runde 10 für den ersten Reifenwechsel. Der 24-Jährige fährt mit den frischen Pneus schnellste Zeit um schnellste Zeit. Als auch Hamilton vier Runden später in die Boxengasse kommt, ist schon klar, dass er diese auf Rang 2 wieder verlassen wird. Vor einem solchen Szenario – mit umgekehrten Vorzeichen – fürchten sich die Strategen von Red Bull eben später. Und treffen fast die falsche Entscheidung.

Räikkönen vergibt Punkt

Weiter hinten erleben auch die Piloten des Schweizer Teams Alfa Romeo einen aufregenden Tag, an dem sie sich stets am Rande der oder in den Top 10 bewegen. Fernando Alonso in seinem Alpine sorgt dafür, dass es ihnen nicht langweilig wird. Erst gerät Kimi Räikkönen im Zweikampf der beiden Altmeister an den Spanier. Einige Karbonteile lösen sich von den Autos, und Alonso fordert aufgeregt Position 11 zurück, die ihm der Finne genommen hat. Doch die Rennleitung entscheidet sich dagegen.

Und als Räikkönen an seinem Teamkollegen Antonio Giovinazzi vorbeigezogen ist auf Platz 10, greift Alonso eben den Italiener an, verlässt dabei die Strecke, überholt ihn und denkt nicht daran, den Platz wieder herzugeben. Dazu wird Alonso aber von den Rennkommissären gezwungen. Das Duell geht noch viele Runden weiter und wird hart geführt.

Unter anderem muss auch Giovinazzi auf Geheiss der Kommissäre Alonso wieder vorbeilassen. Punkte gibts letztlich für beide nicht – Alonso muss das Rennen spät aufgeben. Für Räikkönen aber sieht es lange gut aus, Zehnter ist er, als er vier Runden vor Schluss ins Kiesbett fliegt und als Zwölfter noch einen Rang hinter Giovinazzi und ebenso punktelos ins Ziel kommt.

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