Sebastian Vettel might not have secured the drivers’ championship in Austin, but Red Bull still had plenty to celebrate as the team won its third straight constructors’ title.
Vettel finished second after losing the lead to Lewis Hamilton on the 42nd lap, and no has a 13-point lead over Fernando Alonso.
“We’re half way there,” said team principal Christian Horner. “We’ve closed out one championship. To have won a third consecutive constructors’ is something we could only ever have dreamed about a few years ago. To have achieved what we have in 2010, 2011 and 2012 against the opponents that we have in only our eighth year in the sport is something that’s quite remarkable.
“I think that it’s testimony to the long hours, the determination, the dedication that there is in the team that we’ve managed to achieve this. It’s something that every member of the team is fiercely proud of.”
Regarding the showdown in Interlagos next week, he said: “To finish second, to have extended our lead by three points, is still a fantastic result. We now head to Brazil with a 13-point lead, and still everything to play for. I’ve said all season I think this championship will go to Brazil. Unfortunately I’ve been proved right today!
“We’ve just got to approach the next race as we have the previous 19. We’ve got to go there, attack the weekend, get the best out of ourselves, the car, the strategy, the drivers, reliability. Anything can happen as we’ve seen this season. It’s good to be going there with a lead, and we’ll just be going there determined to try and close the job off.”
Horner acknowledged that it was a close fight for the win in Austin, but said that backmarker Narain Karthikeyan had helped Hamilton get into Vettel’s DRS tow.
“It was nip and tuck between the two of them throughout the race, and obviously in the dirty air it’s tricky to get too close. Sebastian was doing a fantastic job in managing the gap to Lewis.
“Lewis was a little stronger than us in the first sector, but sectors two and three, we were able to eke out a bit of a gap. It was about not making any mistakes. Sebastian was driving immaculately well, and I’m quite convinced that without the backmarker, he could have hung on, but that’s motor racing.
“He’s a racer, and he didn’t want to give up on fighting Lewis. They were 35 seconds ahead of Fernando at that stage. He just wanted to keep the pressure on over the closing laps. Throughout the race there was rarely less than a second or so between the two of them.”