Verstappen siegt und baut WM-Führung aus

Asia's Tech News Daily

Verstappen siegt und baut WM-Führung aus
© KEYSTONE/AP/Nick Didlick

Max Verstappen gewinnt zum ersten Mal den Grand Prix der USA. Der Niederländer siegt im Red Bull vor Lewis Hamilton im Mercedes und baut seinen Vorsprung als WM-Leader aus.

Lange haben sie gegenseitigen Respekt versichert. Die Achtung vor den Leistungen des anderen heben Max Verstappen und Lewis Hamilton nach wie vor hervor, der Niederländer spricht von professionellem Umgang im Titelduell. So richtig grün sind sich der Fahrer im blauen Auto und sein Rivale im schwarzen Wagen allerdings nicht mehr. Die Kollisionen in den Grands Prix von Grossbritannien und Italien haben nicht nur an den Autos Spuren hinterlassen.

Die Protagonisten und mit ihnen die Crew-Mitglieder sind dünnhäutiger geworden. Die Mitglieder der beiden Lager beäugen und kontrollieren sich gegenseitig, Veränderungen beziehungsweise neue Komponenten an den Autos bringen Fragen nach der Legalität an die Adresse der zuständigen Kommission des Internationalen Automobilverbandes mit sich. Es ist nicht allein die Sorge um mögliche reglementswidrig geschaffene Wettbewerbsvorteile der Konkurrenz. Stetig lockt auch der Versuch der Destabilisierung des Gegners.

Der verbale Ausrutscher

Das Duell auf Augenhöhe fordert seinen Tribut. Mit Ruhe ist nicht mehr, ab und zu bleiben auch Besonnenheit und Verhaltenskodex auf der Strecke. Der Zweikampf ist nicht mehr ausschliesslich auf der Rennpiste Programm. Verstappens verbaler Ausrutscher am Freitag während der zweiten Trainingsstunde ist ein weiteres Beispiel dafür. Einen “dummen Idioten” hat er Hamilton nach einem unnötigen Rad-an-Rad-Duell genannt und ihm danach den Mittelfinger gezeigt.

Die Scharmützel wird es bis zu einer Entscheidung in diesem faszinierenden Titelkampf geben, womöglich also bis hin zum Saisonabschluss Mitte Dezember in Abu Dhabi. Die Prognose, dass der Weltmeister zum ersten Mal seit fünf Jahren erst im Finale gekürt wird, ist nicht allzu gewagt. Zu gross ist die Ausgeglichenheit bisher, zu zahlreich sind die (fünf) Wechsel an der Spitze der Gesamtwertung und zu gering der Punkteabstand.

Ein einziges Mal hatte das Pendel bisher einen starken Ausschlag gezeigt. Anfang Juli, nach dem Grand Prix von Österreich, lag Verstappen als WM-Leader 32 Punkte vor Hamilton. Es war schon von einer Trendwende die Rede, von einem möglichen Ende der seit sieben Jahren und dem Beginn des Hybrid-Zeitalters dauernden Dominanz des Teams Mercedes.

Die Stimmen verstummten umgehend wieder. Der Abstand von 32 Punkten war eine Momentaufnahme. Der auf 12 Punkte verdoppelte Vorsprung, mit dem der Niederländer seit Sonntag vor Hamilton liegt, stellen seither die grösste Differenz zwischen den beiden dar.

Die schrittweise Umkehr

In Austin steht Verstappen nach einem Grand-Prix-Wochenende als Sieger da, das für die Roten Bullen vorerst nichts Gutes versprochen hat, in dessen Verlauf er und sein Team aber die Vorteile schrittweise auf ihre Seite gezogen haben. Aus einer knappen Sekunde Rückstand im ersten Training hatte Verstappen im Qualifying einen Vorsprung von zwei Zehnteln gemacht.

Mit der Eroberung der Pole-Position hatte Verstappen die Basis zum ersten Sieg auf dem Circuit of the Americas gelegt – auf einem Terrain, das bisher Hoheitsgebiet der Equipe Mercedes war. Seit Beginn der Hybrid-Ära vor sieben Jahren hatten die Weltmeister mit Ausnahme von 2018, als Kimi Räikkönen im Ferrari dominierte, alle Rennen gewonnen.

Verstappen musste beim reibungslos verlaufenen Start zwar Hamilton passieren lassen, eroberte die Führung im Zuge der ersten Boxenstopps aber wieder zurück und blieb danach auf dem Weg zum achten Saisonsieg in jedem Moment souverän, auch wenn Hamilton in der Schlussphase noch aufzuschliessen vermochte.

Der Niederländer brach in Austin in die Phalanx von Mercedes auf eine Weise ein, die Respekt und Achtung verdient. Wohl auch von Rivale Hamilton.

Räikkönen mit Platz 10 vor Augen

Der Rennstall Alfa Romeo blieb auf ärgerliche Weise ohne Punkte. Kimi Räikkönen lag bis drei Runden vor Schluss an 10. Stelle, kam dann aber von der Strecke ab und fiel dadurch hinter seinen Teamkollegen Antonio Giovinazzi und den Kanadier Lance Stroll im Aston Martin auf den 13. Platz zurück. Räikkönen hatte vor drei Jahren, damals noch in Diensten der Scuderia Ferrari, in Austin seinen 21. und letzten Sieg in der Formel 1 errungen.

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